20 keys to a killer website
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
You don't have to be a techno-wizard, and it doesn't take rocket science to create a killer website for your lawn and landscape company, garden center or nursery.
All it takes is 20 steps.
1. Keep it simple. The average website visit is four seconds and two clicks. Get your message across fast.
2. Make it easy to use. If visitors get lost, you are the big loser. Make it easy for visitors to search your site for specific products or services.
3. Speak to your specialness. What's your unique selling proposition (USP)? Your brand?
4. Sell yourself. You are the one thing prospects can't get elsewhere. Promote your credentials, certifications and affiliations, and those of your staff.
5. Describe all your services and products. Undereducated prospects don't buy.
6. Solve problems on each page. Visitors have questions — on topics ranging from irrigation to insects, from firepits to flagstone, from landscaping techniques to xeriscaping trends. Does your site have the answers?
7. Get them to return. Don't stagnate, update. Provide fresh articles, tipsheets, links, client profiles, etc. By offering email signup, you can develop a database of names to whom you can send updates and followups directly, without having to wait for them to come to you.
8. Make it interactive. Adding a search bar to your site makes it 10 times more user-friendly, especially if you regularly expand the list of horticulture products and services that you offer. Q&A columns and surveys also get visitors involved.
9. Choose and use killer keywords. Track down the words others type in to find you. Then put the right words in the right places: the title bars, atop pages, at the front of paragraphs, etc.
10. Think links. They increase your visibility, credibility and search engine rankings.
11. Call for action. Give visitors a "next step": call, buy this, download that, like us, join our email list, etc.
12. Make it easy on the eyes. Steer clear of busy backgrounds, fancy fonts, animation and flash.
13. Use photos work for — not against — you. Small photos of big landscapes don't work. Large photos of small details do. And remember: little captions can say a lot.
14. Make your home page rock.It's all 50 percent of your site's visitors ever view. It's gotta be great.
15. Include terrific testimonials. Solicit written or video comments from your raving fans, offering gift cards or movie passes in return. Adding those testimonials and your physical address to your site will help communicate your credibility.
16. Make it measurable. Monitor numbers of visitors, page views, when people visit and for how long, what sites send you traffic, etc.
17. Make it mobile. Is your site a help or a hindrance to the growing number of users who rely on mobile devices to search for sites of local lawn and landscape companies, garden centers, nurseries, etc.?
18. Keep it current. What's new? What's now? Update us on your services, staff, awards, clients, community involvement, etc. Offer timely information on water restrictions and freeze warnings. Include "Plant Pictures of the Week," or the latest and greatest mulching tips.
19. Let 'em view the video. An introductory video is an up-close and personal way to introduce yourself — and an appealing one at that. A recent study by emarketer.com showed that nearly 60 percent of respondents said they would watch a video before reading text on the same webpage
20. Spread the word. Promote your site via email, blogs, ezines, voicemail, news releases and channels like Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram and Facebook.. And make it easy for visitors to share your site's content with their networks.
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