How to convey what you do quickly and effectively
With millions of other websites competing for attention, telling people what you do in a timely manner is essential for good business.
It is surprising how many times we are asked to look at a website for someone, and the important text of WHAT YOU DO is hidden away somewhere half way down the page.
But it’s not just about WHAT YOU DO. It’s about what you will deliver for your potential client. What value will they get?
‘It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it’. What makes you different?
For example, ‘We do websites’. Not very compelling. How about ‘We produce websites that help your business grow’. Maybe a little better. How about, ‘We produce websites that give you best chance of being found on Google’. Ok, now we have some value!
Turn this around to your own website. Does your website say what you do and how your service will benefit a potential visitor? Is this, singular, most important message clear and prominent? (Or do they have to find it!!)
The benefits of good communication
There are lots of obvious reasons why clear communication is key. Below are a few that relate to your online presence.
People understand the purpose of your website
You only have around 4 seconds grab a users attention and assure them they have landed in the right place.
There’s nothing more annoying than going to a website and having to work out what purpose it serves. Or worse – not being able to figure it out at all.It wastes people’s precious time and frustrates them.
With good communication, you convey the purpose of your website quickly and clearly. This means people know what you do and whether they have come to the right place for them.
A reduction in bounce rates
When a website is unclear, people leave almost straight away, quickly going back to where they were in the first place – they bounce back like a ball, hence ‘bounce rates’.
When people understand your website, they are more likely to stay on it and your bounce rate is reduced. As more people stay on your website, the amount of sales, leads, and subscribers you’re receiving will tend to rise. All because of good communication.
Clear communication means people know what your website is for, ensures they can find what they want, and creates a smooth user experience for them. All this means they won’t be frustrated, they’ll be happy!
Happy customers that understand your website and don’t bounce away, buy things from your website. Needless to say that good communication increases sales.
You know the benefits of good communication. But what should you communicate?
What should you communicate?
The are three main purposes to every web page. Clear messaging of what you do or sell, the value or benefit of the product or service, and most importantly, how they can get it.
People need to know what it is that you do and in turn what it is that your website does. Do you provide online investment advice? Your website should communicate this. Do you cut people’s hair during their lunch break? Your website should communicate this!
Don’t be tempted to use clever marketing messages like ‘Changing the world for the better’ unless you are a well known brand like Coca-Cola. You need to be clear and concise in what you do.
A clear purpose lets people know where they stand and if they can have come to the right place.
Tell people the benefits of using your company. Don’t just list what you do, tell them how they will gain something from it. This plants the idea of what people can get from using you company and aids communication.
What actions can people take?
People like being told what to do online. If your homepage tells people what you do and how it benefits them, it also needs to tell them how they can get this benefit.
By including call to actions you keep communication clear and are signifying to your visitors that you want them to do something.
How to successfully communicate
There are different ways you can communicate online. Depending on your market, brand identity, and various other factors, what works best for you will be a process of trial and error. But there are some standard practices for good communication.
Text is the foundation of any website, yet so many often get it completely wrong. People read differently on the web: they scan for key points of interest to them, more often than not skipping big blocks of text completely.
To successfully use text you should:
- Use short sentences – this keeps people’s attention
- Use Paragraphs – break up your text in shortly than usual paragraph. This aids reading on the web.
- Short width paragraphs – Keep the width of paragraphs short, like a magazine article. This is so people do not loose their place.
- Simple language – this depends somewhat on your audience but plain, simple language will always beat complicated and longwinded stuff on the internet
- Complex language – If you must use complex language, ensure you use the ‘which means’ rule.
- Use headings – this lets people scan webpages for relevant information to them and it makes it more likely that they’ll read the rest of your text
- Use bullet points – these are great for writing on the web: they are short, easy to see, stand out in a block of text, and let you convey information in an organised and concise way
- Style – Of course, the style of writing will depend on the purpose. Sales copy is going to be very different to text that aims to give information.
Images can convey meaning faster than text. They are also more eye-catching than text.
By choosing good pictures, you can let people know what it is you do without having to type a single word.
On the other hand, you can also utterly confuse people with poor picture choice so make sure the pictures you use are relevant to your company.
Like images, icons convey meaning quickly without having to use text. They’re also familiar and universal – a picture of a little house means “Home page” on every website.
When to use icons:
- Navigation – it makes it clear what each link does and how your website is organised
- Products/services you offer – again, this helps to add clarity to what you offer.
Colours can be a tremendously powerful way of communicating. Just by using a particular colour you can give your website a particular feel.
While you won’t be able to convey what it is you do just by using a colour, when combined with other aspects it adds to the overall communication of a website.
Colours are also a great way adding contrast into a design and attracting the eye and saying to the brain, “I’m different, look at me!”. Just be careful not use too many contrast areas as too many ‘sign posts’ in the viewing area can create confusion.
Oh, and just be careful not to pick the wrong colours! Does your brand have an international audience? Different colours mean different things in various parts of the world.
Sometimes, you just need to show people what you mean. If you’re words are failing you, a picture just doesn’t do it, and you’re stumped by the choice of colours then perhaps a video could benefit your visitors.
You do need to make sure that it’s relevant to your audience’s interests, though.
These five methods are standard ways of ensuring your website is good at communicating its purpose. It’s possible you might run into some challenges on the way to good communication.
Challenges of good communication
It’s always good practise to periodically check you website content. Is it still relevant and serving a purpose?
Too much content
Wanting to share everything about your business is understandable. But do people really need to know it all? The biggest indication of poor communication is having too much content on your website.
It can overwhelm visitors and lead to confusion and bouncing off somewhere else.
Be clear, straight to the point and valuable.
Clarity – how to convey your purpose
It is easy to communicate. But it is harder to communicate with clarity. For your website to have clarity there must be a clear purpose that is understandable to the visitor.
There can’t be too much noise or clutter, this will just mess up the communication.
Keeping it short and complete
There is the danger that by keeping it short you will give an incomplete message. Communication on your website cannot be incomplete! Things should be as short as they can be while still telling the whole story.
However, it’s not always easy to put these in to practice so we’ve got some tips to help you out.
Tips for developing good communication
Decide what people should know about your business before you start trying to communicate on your website
Keep it simple, don’t try and make things too complicated as this will often create confusion
Remember your audience at all times – don’t include things that aren’t important to them or won’t benefit them in any way
Make your message impossible to miss, be it through sheer size on the page or convey in different forms a few times to hammer the message home nice and clear.
Conveying what you do quickly and effectively is important for success online. These are the first steps to ensuring your website has good communication and will satisfy your customers.