You've just spent good money on your first business website. You have invested in search engine optimization, researched your keywords, bought paid inclusions. You have read every article promising unlimited success carried to your front door on the back of mouse clicks. You are confident that you've used every website traffic technique there is.
And you're getting traffic, but it's not boosting business. So what's wrong?
Especially as a professional service provider, it is not enough to simply direct traffic - web surfers are extremely unlikely to purchase your services based on a single visit to your website. They will research, they will compare. They will only approach you once they have reason to trust you, and trust themselves for choosing you.
Your true website prospects are the return visitors; for marketing purposes, everything else is background noise. Use these techniques to cut through that noise, by providing an online resource worthy of repeat traffic - a website that your clients will love:
Don't sell. Provide. It is important to understand that on the Internet, the user is in complete control of the transaction: hard selling will not work, and will probably antagonize your prospects. Skip the pitch, and instead build a website that serves as a true information resource.
Write and post articles that directly relate to your expertise - if you are a CPA, consider writing articles about financial planning or the importance of tax records; a dentist might write articles about the myths of gum care or the differences between common filling types. Provide a public place where you answer the questions of website users. Keep your website content rich and timely.
Write short and lean. Website users don't casually ease themselves into online reading: they want the facts now and they don't want to spend a lot of time finding them. This means that your content must be written in a lean and compact style that can be quickly scanned by the eye.
Keep your text pieces under 500 words, and preferably in the 250-350 word range. Use simple and direct sentences, in the clearest language possible. Don't make your readers wade through a sea of worthless prose, just to arrive at a small island of information: get right to the point and deliver the goods.
Think navigation. The best content on Earth means nothing if it can't be found quickly. Carefully organize your website in hierarchical format, with plenty of internal links - make all of your important pages only a mouse click or two from the top page. Deliver your content with as much convenience as possible to your visitors.
Appreciate context. Strong navigation design helps the left-brain surfers who know what they want, but many of your visitors will browse your site more creatively: they surf by context rather than placement.
Provide links within the content itself, pointing to other related information on your website. Develop clusters of associations in your content that allow readers to find information intuitively as well as logically.
Build community. Savvy Internet marketers are now learning what technologists have known for years: that the Internet is primarily a social medium. The most popular and profitable websites are those that foster community among their visitors. Provide facilities - forums, newsletters, mailing lists - for your clients to communicate with each other.
Be creative - help your clients turn your website into a favorite meeting place, a place to return to, time and again. Develop a website that your clients will love.
About the Author:
Robert Warren (www.rswarren.com) is a freelance copywriter in the Orlando, Florida area, specializing in providing for the marketing and communications needs of the independent professional private practice.