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What's so great about your website? If you don't have an answer to that question, we'd better get to work. Your prospects have a huge array of websites to choose to visit—and buy or learn from. You have to give them good reasons to choose yours. You need to create a website that your target audience will love to visit.

So how do you turn your website into your prospect's favorite online business destination? Here are five options you can implement right away.

1. Start a Blog

Blogging is a powerful tool for business owners. It allows you to communicate with your audience in a very collaborative way, and it allows your business to establish a thought-leader position in your industry. Blogging has many technical benefits as well, such as increased traffic and better search engine rankings. Producing fresh content on your website regularly will have a powerful impact on your business's online reputation.

But how exactly is it going to turn your website into your prospects' first pick? Because you are giving away valuable, helpful information! Make your blog a hub of insightful, engaging content, and your prospects and customers will want to come back again and again. They will probably want to tell their friends and business associates about it, too.

A blog is also the perfect place to listen in on the opinions of your customers and prospects. If you have an active following for your blog, take the time to read through every comment. Listen to what your readers are saying. You can use this information to make your website—and your business—even better.

2. Encourage contact

Don't make your visitors hunt for the contact page; create an integrated approach to communication throughout your entire website. Make your customers and prospects feel welcomed and appreciated. Let them know you're excited to talk with them about how your products or services can help. Assure them you're happy to answer all their questions. Encourage them to share their comments and, if they have any, complaints.

Knowing that a friendly, helpful business owner or associate is just a click or call away always makes people feel better about doing business with you. And by creating an easy forum for customers to share their concerns or complaints, you're making your business seem more genuine and interested in creating a great customer experience.

Very important! Make sure you have a responsive system set up for fielding phone calls or getting back with customers. Having a website that encourages communication and then not following through is a bad idea.

3. Show some personality

What do you offer consumers that your competitors don't? What makes your business unique? Don't be afraid to show some personality on your website—it makes things a lot more interesting. I would argue that the most appealing, loyalty-inducing businesses are the ones that develop, and consistently display, a unique personality.

People like to do business with companies that they know, like, and trust. If your website is just a boilerplate representation of your business, just like everyone else's website, how are visitors supposed to feel like they are getting to know you?

Include a picture, use language that fits your personal business style (i.e., not the same old business jargon), and don't be afraid to infuse your site with a little color. You can take this approach even further if you chose to implement a blog on your website. Blogging is the perfect medium for showing some personality and sharing opinions. Be unique, but stay focused on your customers.

4. Make your website a resource

Do you want to really make your visitors fall in love with your website? Become a source of free stuff. Now, obviously, your website exists to showcase your business and sell your products or services, so I'm not suggesting that you start focusing all your efforts on giving stuff away. But you have plenty of simple ways to add valuable resources to your website that will automatically increase your likeability.

Why not create a list of quality, related service providers to help your clients get their projects done? For instance, as a copywriter, I could provide a list of excellent Web designers or social media experts. Or you could create a few free reports that delve into a topic of great importance to your target market. You have tons of options for offering content your audience will find useful—get creative.

5. Keep things user-friendly

The most frustrating websites are the ones that are difficult to use. Poor navigation, graphics that don't load, links that won't work, missing information... the list goes on. Those are the things that make your visitors leave your website—and probably never come back.

If you want to create a website that your prospects will love, make their experience easy. Ensure that all the information they need is there, and easy and fast to find. Use a simple navigation system and plenty of (working!) links throughout your pages to help visitors jump from one place to the next. Don't overload your site with graphics that slow things down or create pages that are crowded and hard to read.

The goal of each page on your website should be clear and focused, and your main objective should be to allow your visitors to progress effortlessly through your website.

* * *

Now that you have some inspiration, get to work on creating a website that will impress your visitors and make them want to return. With an effective website in your marketing arsenal, you can expand your business reach, keep current customers happy and loyal, generate new leads, and increase your sales.

With so many great benefits, who wouldn't want to invest time into creating their prospects’ favorite website?

(Image courtesy of Bigstock: Website Building)

Continue reading "Five Ways to Create Your Prospects' Favorite Website" ... Read the full article

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Sonja Jobson

Sonja Jobson is the founder of Fresh Coast Creative, specializing in lead-generating websites for small businesses.

LinkedIn: Sonja Jobson

Twitter: @SonjaJobson