Did you know that 70% of small business websites don’t include a Call to Action (CTA) on their homepage? Ooof… That’s a big deal.

Here’s why: (Hint: I’m talking about this in point #1.) As a small business owner, you can’t just throw some words and images up online and hope that they will land you more customers. To have a website that accomplishes your goals, you need some intentionality and strategy.

To that end, I’ve wrangled up five simple changes you can make today to make your website more effective in engaging your target customers.

1. Use your hero section to knock their socks off.

The first step in creating an effective website is crafting a killer hero section. Your hero section is the first thing your visitors will see when they land on your website, so it had better be good.

What will make it effective? Swipe my formula for an engaging and compelling hero section:

Clear brand statement +
Strong Call to Action =
Clarity and Memorability

Brand statement: A concise declaration of who you are and how you can solve your visitor’s problem. Don’t say “Welcome to my website!” or “I’m glad you’re here!” No one cares 😐 The words your visitor first sees need to pack a punch and answer the question, “Can you solve my problem?”

Here are some examples of great brand statements:

  • “Finally, a fitness routine you can stick to” (for a fitness app and community)
  • “Trusted childcare that’s more than just babysitting” (for an educational prep school)

Call to Action: Just like it implies, you are telling your visitor how you want them to take action. This is usually a command statement in the form of a button.

To use the above examples:

  • “Sign up now.” (Link to a sign-up page for the fitness community)
  • “See for yourself.” (Link to a page with testimonials from other moms who love that their kids are students in the prep school.)

2. Include testimonials and reviews on your homepage.

You already know that reviews are essential to a thriving business. Think back to the last time you bought something from Amazon. If you’re anything like me, after you read the product description, the next step in the buying process was to go down to reviews and make sure the product was as good as it sounded.

We place a lot of value on what other people have to say, and your customers are no different. They want to know that you are worthy of their investment and that you can deliver.

Your homepage isn’t the only place you should put testimonials, but an effective website will hit them with that compelling social proof right off the bat.

3. Tidy up your main navigation

All too often I see main navigation menus that are bloated and unclear. They contain links to almost every page on the website and don’t highlight the significant pages the visitor should visit.

Should you have all those links to your freebies and affiliate pages? Sure! But the best place for those catch-all links is in your footer navigation.

An effective website will utilize the main navigation like a map to guide your customer through your website. Here’s an example:

After you have gotten your visitor’s interest on your homepage, you want her to learn more about you and connect on a personal level. You also know that once she gleans some valuable information on your blog, she will see that you are a knowledgeable and trustworthy professional in your field. Ideally, she would then view your services and schedule a call with you to learn more about how you can solve her problem.

So what links should you include in your main navigation in this case? – About, Blog, Services, and Contact!

Of course, you may have more pages on your website that are part of your customer journey, so include those as well. The point is that you should be intentional and selective with the links you choose to place in your main navigation.

4. Make the words on your website easy to read

I’m sure you’ve heard the statistic that people only read 20–28% of the words on a website. We don’t like to read online so we want to find the information we’re looking for quickly and easily. To make your website more effective, make it easy on your visitor to read what you have to say.

Several things can make the words that you put on your website hard on the eyes and frustrate your visitor:

Not including enough headings.

Because your visitors are only skimming your website copy, they will use your headings as landmarks to navigate through your website. The more headings you include (that make sense), the easier it will be for them to find the information they’re looking for.

Choosing a font that is hard to read on screens and too small

Serif fonts are fine to use on your website but should be reserved for larger headings. To increase your website’s readability, opt for a sans-serif font for the main body of text and make sure that it is not too small.

Stick to at least 16px for your body font size. And if you know that your website visitors may have problems with their eyesight, increase your body font size to at least 20px.

Using too much white text on dark backgrounds.

If the goal is dramatic, using light text on a dark background can pack a punch. But while this technique might be a cool effect for large headings and graphics, it’s not a good idea for larger sections of copy. Stick with traditional dark text on a light background for the majority of your website to increase readability.

5. Use movement and interaction to draw attention

Movement catches the eye. So how can you use that to your advantage on your website? Here are a couple of examples:

Draw attention to a Call to Action button by making it slide in from the side.

Emphasize a crucial block of text by making it pop out on the screen.

Movement (called animation in web design) draws attention and adds emphasis, so don’t overdo it. Strategically add animation to the elements you want your visitor to notice.

In Summary

I hope this article has helped you look at your website from your customer’s point of view. Get behind their screen and take an objective look at how effective your website is in communicating to them.

And implement these easy changes to provide a better experience on your website for your visitors.

Is it time to Overhaul your Website?

You might be too busy running your business to put in the time to make your website more effective. Or maybe your website no longer reflects your business. If that’s the case, let’s chat! I’ll get your website working for you and converting your visitors into buyers.

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I’m Mary

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I’m the strategic designer and big picture visionary that will help you tell your story and stay true online with a true-to-you brand & website that attract your ideal customers.

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