Many professionals treat their websites as nothing more than a modern day version of a calling card. But they shouldn’t. These days a good website can, and should, be so much more.
Put simply, a good website has two essential components. It still retains the old calling card information (what we call the ‘static’ content) – the who, what, where of your business. But, just as importantly, it also has ‘dynamic’ content in the form of regularly updated blogs or articles that attract people to your website and build your brand.
So let’s take a look at how this works….
The foundations of a good website
To build a good website, start with your audience.
Never allow a single word to be written or a single design produced until you know exactly who your target audience is, what they want from you, what you can offer them and how you’re different to your competitors.
You also need to think about how people are going to find your website.
If you’re current website is simply a calling card, there is some good news: many people ‘ be visiting your website just to find out how to contact you.
So make sure your phone number and your email address are prominent.
The much harder part
You need to put more thought and research into how and why people are coming to your website.
It may be that these people were referred to you by a contact and they want to work out exactly how you can help before making a buying decision.
It may be that searched for ‘Family Law Specialist Sydney” or “Accountant Specialising In Complex Family Trusts” and they’ve arrived at one of your pages.
It may be that they have a specific problem and searched “What Do I Need To Think Off When Selling A Business”.
Or it may be that you piqued their interest with an article on LinkedIn or via your regular eNewsletter and now they’ve come to you to find out more.
What’s that? You don’t think anyone is coming to your website via any of these ways?
Well they should be.
What good websites do
Many people now make their entire purchasing decision online – even for something as important as a lawyer.
So good websites have a design that’s crisp and mobile responsive. They have copy that cuts straight to the point and demonstrates any points of difference using as few words as possible. And they ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ prospective clients the value of engaging them by making full use of reviews, testimonials and case studies.
Most importantly, they understand that potential clients will judge you on your skill and expertise.
And because that skill and expertise is reasonably hard to judge unless you’re a qualified lawyer or accountant yourself, a good professional services website provides the audience with regular articles – or blogs – that, instead of selling, connect directly with them and their pain points.
But being an effective blogger is much more than just summarising the latest case or legislative change. It means ditching the jargon or legalese and speaking to your audience in their language. It also means thinking of how everything you say relates to them. After all, the average person is simply not interested in the finer points of the most recent case or the technicalities of some piece of tax legislation.
All they want to know is how it affects them.
Google will love you
When you use your website to publish articles about issues and trigger points that actually impact on your clients, chances are more people will start finding you.
That’s because, when you start doing this, you’ll also start getting rewarded by Google. Its algorithm loves nothing more than websites that are freshly updated, full of simple language and posting information that’s directly relevant to what people search for.
Regular blogging also gives you powerful ammunition to send out via your social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter (a good website always integrates with social media), as well as material for your eNewsletter to keep drawing people back to your site so that you stay front of mind and show off the range of what you can do.
If you’ve heard the term ‘content marketing’ bandied around but have no idea what it means, that’s pretty much what we’ve just outlined: the process of using your website to bring in new clients by publishing quality information.
Because a good website isn’t just a calling card; it’s a content marketing platform.
To start working its magic all it needs is a bit of ongoing attention.
10 things every good website does…
- Makes it easy for people to contact you.
- Makes your points of difference clear.
- Shows’ rather than ‘tells’ people about your expertise.
- Scales to mobile devices through ‘responsive’ design.
- Integrates with social media accounts.
- Takes account of what people are searching for.
- Contains lots of rich content that shows off your expertise.
- Arranges information logically while still giving users an interesting journey.
- Gets updated regularly.
- Speaks the language of clients, not industry peers.
Ralph Grayden runs Antelope Media, a content marketing, copywriting and communications agency that specialises in professional services.