With more than a million registered South African websites, it is hardly surprising that grabbing the attention of visitors looking for local content is a challenge. Here are a few tips to help keep your audience engaged with your site once they access it.
1. First impressions count
When someone gets to your website, you have a split second to grab their attention. It is essential to have a core message that brings across what your value proposition is instantly. This proposition should be specific and unique. An example of this could be “We restore and sell old VW Kombis”.
2. What’s the call to action?
Unlike a traditional store front, people can access your site either from the home page or through your secondary pages like products and services. It is therefore important to have a clear call to action that invites the visitor to engage irrespective of where they first enter your site. Your home page can have something similar to “shop online now”, “view our catalogue”, or “enquire about our solutions”. The product pages can be even more direct with ‘buy now’ or ‘enquire now’ buttons.
3. It’s all about the contacts
One of the most fundamental pages on any site is the ‘contact us’ page as a lot of web traffic is generated by people searching for a telephone number or email address. Be sure to put your contact details where people can instantly see it, like in the header of the webpage. And while you’re at it you could add the directions and a map to your business on the page too – this lends to the trust of your brand and website.
4. Trust goes a long way
If you want to have people interact with your brand and use your product you need to gain their trust in you and what you have to offer.
You can accomplish this by making sure your website looks well designed and as professional as possible, that it works effectively and doesn’t have any broken links. Humanise your brand with a comprehensive “about us” section, adding images of the team or leadership, and by sharing client testimonials and endorsements.
5. Someone to talk to
Live chat buttons have proven to be quite a popular addition to a site. With trust being a precious commodity, people want to see that they are dealing with a real person.
Something like live chat works great to help accomplish this as it provides human engagement on the site. However, be sure to manage it properly or otherwise it could cause more reputational damage than what it is worth.
Further aiding this is to ensure that there is fresh content published with dates. Having regular announcements that are relevant to the audience not only helps with search rankings, but also shows visitors that the company is serious about its online presence.
Of course, this does not mean sacrificing the user experience for dense copy. Instead, the site design needs to create a pleasant reading experience. Choose a clean background that allows content “to breathe” with photographs and video elements that make a significant impact.
6. Last but not least
Always be mindful of getting the content balance right – something that is a challenge for many site owners. Go too short and people lose interest. Similarly, offer them too much to read and they could become bored and go elsewhere. Always remember to use catchy headlines that provide a glimpse of what the visitor will experience when he/she does business with you.
Websites should always be evolving. It’s important to continuously review how your site is structured, the content you post, and use your analytics to see what works and what does not work and then make changes accordingly. You’d be surprised how a small change can make the world of difference.