DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR WEBSITE REALLY NEEDS?
Many artisans have begun to invest into a website. While such an investment is not essential, a webpage can be an asset to the maker business. You don’t have to build the website yourself. Small and large consulting businesses abound that can do the technical work for you.
It is however important to know what you want. Don’t assume that a web-consultancy knows how to build the right site for your business. As with all hired help, you must make sure that such help understands what the expected outcomes are.
After all you expect to get a good return for investing your hard-earned dollars. Even good consultancies are not mind readers. Best results come from collaboration and good communication. Here are some pointers of the basics that a maker website needs.
The 3 most common reasons what artisans have a website are:
· Lead generation
· Branding – creating a business image
Ideally, your website can provide all three of these functions, but combining lead generation and branding with e-commerce adds a significant level of complexity.
Most makers initially build their sites as a branding and information tool, with a secondary purpose of lead generation. For starters, keep the purpose of your website focused and simple. Less is definitely more. A simple site with a clearly defined purpose will provide more value to you and your customer than a multi-layered monster with clunky designs and information overload.
A Sensible Web Address
Your web address should be easy to remember and easy to type. It could be, for example, the name of your business, or a shorter version of the name. Think about adding a distinguishing element, for example your general location, or your first name. Definitely avoid forcing words into a specific template.
Krstnswudwrkng might have all the right words in there, if people actually can deduce that your name is Kristin and that you are a woodworker. It’s almost guaranteed that no one will be able to remember your web-address.
A Clear Description of Who You Are
“Someone who stumbles upon your website shouldn't have to do investigative work to figure out what, exactly, it is that you do. That means clearly stating your name and summing up your products or services right on the homepage”, says John Zhuang, of Web-design and SEO-optimization firm Winning Interactive.
An Image Of What You Make
A picture speaks a thousand words. Therefore 1-3 high quality photos of your best work should be the first thing your visitors see when they arrive at your site. Include compelling text, which describes why or how your products are different and special. The words should be in synch with the value statement you have developed for your business.
Visitors to your site will NOT go on a wild goose chase to find what they are looking for. Two clicks used to be acceptable. The trend today is towards 1 click only. All essential information that you wish to communicate must not be more than one click away. For less relevant details two clicks might be tolerated. Drop menus are probably the best way to go. Try for 5 or less and really question the need for sub-menus.
Apparently our attention span has shortened from 12 seconds several years ago to an even more anemic 8 seconds. Your main points should be written in clear language, without jargon and acronyms. It makes them easier to absorb.
Telling your story is about connecting with the visitor. Everybody likes to listen to an interesting narrative. Most visitors will enjoy reading how you started as a maker, or the thought process and philosophy behind your work. This is also a good place to speak about your business mission and goals.
A happy customer is one of the most credible and therefore impactful influencer to persuade others to purchase your creations. Hearing from an unbiased person about the value of your product is much more convincing to shoppers than your own words. In addition, buyer testimonials are an abbreviated form of story-telling.
The main character is the happy shopper. She shares that she had a need or want and explains how your product and its value provided her with just the right solution. People like stories, it makes them more likely to buy or make the next click.
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.”
(Richard Branson, founder Virgin Group)