The Best Websites Do This for Customers

Hal Gatewood photo of a watercolor mockup for website design

Sure, you have a business website. But is it doing what the best websites do to attract customers?

First, some perspective. As of January 2019, there are now over 1.94 billion websites on the Internet.

That’s a pretty mind-boggling number.

With so many sites competing for attention, businesses have to look sharp to stand out.

Do Websites Matter Anymore?

Increasingly, some businesses wonder if they really need a website, or if their social media pages are enough.

Here’s our take.

Clearly, social media is important. But you shouldn’t use social channels as a base camp for your business.

A website simply looks more professional and pulled together:

CareATC home page, best websites

Image Source: CareATC

Think of it this way. You’d never set up a physical presence without signing a rental agreement—right? It’s the same for your business website.

Quite literally, it’s your domain.

It’s About Trust

While social media pages can expand your reach and showcase your human side, your website builds trust.

“The Internet can be a worrisome place. Whether you are just browsing the web or you go online to make purchases, (it’s easy to be) leery about everything people do on the web.” – James George, web designer

Fortunately, you can build trust with payment logos, security badges, employee photos—and of course, useful information on your business site.

Section of OptimizePress's homepage, testimonials section

Image Source: OptimizePress

Here’s how great business websites build trust and engagement.

What the Best Websites Have in Common

Think of Apple’s iconic minimalism—or ZocDoc’s friendly, helpful vibe.

Different personalities? Sure. An effective website always appeals to its target audience in a unique way.

Apple's home page, minimalism in website design

Image Source: Apple

Zocdoc home page, friendly and helpful medical website

Image Source: Zocdoc

Thankfully, business sites don’t all look the same—at least, the best ones don’t.

But here’s what all great websites have in common:

  • They’re not shy about their unique selling proposition.
  • They are clear and easy to use.
  • They compel visitors to take action.

For the best results, you need to use all three strategies more effectively on your website.

A Unique Differentiator

Tiago Fioreze's photo of a bowl of green tomatoes with one red tomato on top (metaphor for a unique selling point on best websites)

Image Source: Tiago Fioreze

How many times have you visited a business website and found it nearly identical to a competing site?

Sad, but true. In their desire to keep up with the Joneses, too many companies end up looking like the Joneses.

Take plumbing. Unfortunately, plumbing is a tough industry with lots of competitors.

But instead of really focusing on a unique selling proposition, many plumbing sites try to be all things to all people:

Anta Plumbing website

Image Source: Anta Plumbing

As you can see, Anta Plumbing employs fully licensed professionals.

However, most plumbers are fully licensed, which makes this USP not all that … unique.

Now, check out a competing site:

Public Plumbing website, Toronto

Image Source: Public Plumbing

No doubt, both of these plumbing companies have a lot going for them.

But we’d argue that the second example shows a more unique selling proposition (e.g., environmental responsibility).

The website is also easier to read, with the phone number front and center.

And yes, clarity matters.

A Clear Message

Ben Kolde, Unsplash photo of a laptop screen on a wooden table

Image Source: Ben Kolde

Too many businesses think that if a little information is good, a lot is better.

Long lists of services? Check. Products tab, pop-up chat box, company description? Check and double check.

Don’t get us wrong; you need helpful information on your website.

That said, your website has to capture—and hold—a viewer’s attention in about eight seconds (the average attention span).

To capture attention, you must be clear. Here’s an example:

Massih Ortho website, simple websites

Image Source: Massih Ortho

On this website, the most important information is easy to see: phone, address, and engaging photo.

And what about the diamond-shaped call-to-action button? Simple. Easy. Clear.

A Compelling CTA

Matthew Kwong photo of Google pay screen on smart phone, by laptop computer

As mentioned above, your website’s main purpose is to compel action from visitors.

You might want visitors to shop now. Or watch a video. Or see a demo.

Regardless of your CTA, you want visitors to spot it immediately. Which means it needs to be visually interesting and in the right place.

Of course, even a well-placed CTA won’t be effective unless it’s also compelling.

Take a look at this laundry company’s homepage:

Home page for The Laundry Company in the UK

Image Source: The Laundry Company

Now, glance at another laundry company’s site:

Web page for Laundry Room, with CTA examples

Image Source: Laundry Room

Both sites show a primary CTA early on. So far, so good.

In the first example (The Laundry Company), visitors are asked to call. However, the phone number doesn’t immediately stand out against a gray background.

By contrast, visitors can spot the primary CTA (“Register Now”) immediately on Laundry Room’s site.

There’s also a logical hierarchy on the Laundry Room site (bolded subheadings as secondary CTAs).

A compelling message in the right place? That’s gold.

The Best Websites Focus on Customers

Brandi Redd, Unsplash photo closeup of smiling woman with blonde hair

Image Source: Brandi Redd

Bottom line: The best websites are about customers.

What can you do for customers that your competitors can’t do? What hassles can only you solve? Make this obvious on your website.

Some final reminders:

  • Create a site that’s user-friendly and mobile friendly.
  • Ensure that your site loads quickly (try one of these tools).
  • Use customer-centric language (‘you’ and ‘your’ instead of ‘we’ and ‘us’).
  • Make it easy to act right from your website.
  • Create a CTA that’s clear, compelling, and easy to find.
  • Make scheduling appointments easy (e.g., LocalMed for a dental website).
  • Put your most important information “above the fold” (near the top of the page).

 

Need more ideas for being visible online? Let Banyan help.

 

 

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