Companies sometimes get so caught up in the design of their websites that they forget to include good content to inform and compel the site’s visitors. The goal of any company website is to promote the company and make people want to interact with it, but so often designers and business executives forget this purpose.
I write for companies every day, and many of them have the wrong ideas about what should be on their home pages — and elsewhere on the site too. Here are the five things that companies most often forget to include on their home pages:
1. What they actually do. If your company is called Exeter Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, you may think it’s obvious what you do. But do you repair heating systems? Do you install through-the-wall AC units? Can I depend on you for scheduled maintenance? What about repairs to my walk-in cooler? If your company is called Innovate or Synergy or something equally vague, how’s a reader to know if you’re a sales consulting company, a graphic design business or a provider of office machines?
2. The area they serve. If you sell products online, maybe you don’t need to identify your geographical target — although visitors might wonder if you ship internationally or have a retail store. But readers and search engines need to know how to classify local businesses. Are you in South Texas or Western Canada? Do you serve Dallas or Ontario? Do you deliver lunch within 30 miles or offer electrical work within 100 miles?
3. A good navigation system. Content is useless if no one can find it. A good navigation system makes it easy to find the About Us page and the Contact Us page plus all your products and services. When your navigation system is hard to use or doesn’t work well on mobile devices, you lose potential customers who take their business to a competitor with a better website.
4. Enough text to satisfy search engines. Search engines can sometimes read text buried in graphics, but don’t depend on it. And don’t skimp on text. You need a block of several hundred words of text on your home page and on every page of your site so that search engines can understand your site and offer it to the right users. Even if you plan to promote your site another way and not depend on organic searches, why not make your site friendly to search engines anyway?
5. A call to action. No web page should be without a call to action — even if it’s simply a call to contact you or to read another page. Site visitors are more likely to take the action you desire if you tell them what you want. Rather than leaving visitors lost and wondering what to do next, suggest a course of action that will meet their needs and encourage them to become your customers too.
If you’re in charge of a company website, do yourself a favor and make sure your site’s home page includes these five vital components. If you don’t have the time or skills to make sure your site is designed well and always at its best, put your website’s content and design in the hands of experts.