When a decision maker is thinking of hiring a new MSP, what's the first thing they do?
The same as you would do - they fire up the Google machine.
It's why your website and your traffic strategy are the two most important tools in your marketing toolbox.
And your website in particular demands 10x the amount of care and attention you currently give it.
See, once a decision maker lands on your website, you've got just three seconds to catch their attention. Yes, it really is that delicate. Watch how your friends behave next time they're Googling.
But it's not just catching their attention. Then you need to develop their interest in your business, grow their desire to be a client, and get them to take action and actually contact you.
That's a lot for one website to achieve.
Getting it right can be the difference between a moderately profitable, and wildly profitable business. If you can add new clients without having to add service capacity, those new clients will make a greater impact on the bottom line.
There's a problem of course - you never have enough time to work ON the business, because you're always so busy working IN the business
Let me help with some focus. Here are six website fixes you should attack before anything else.
Make sure you instantly stand out
It's crucial that instantly - literally within a few seconds of landing on your home page - people know who you are, what you do and, most importantly, what you can do for them.
Your logo, tagline and imagery should all complement each other to say the same thing: you are a trusted MSP who will care for the wellbeing of their business and staff, just as you have cared for hundreds of their peers in your town for X years.
You'll be surprised how many websites don't make that obvious. You can't afford to be covert online. You have to give people what they need and want quickly. Otherwise, they'll just hit the back button, and move on to someone else.
Don't focus too much on a swish, glossy design. You don't want the look of your site to outweigh your content or marketing message. Get your balance right - you're an MSP, not a high-end web design studio or advertising agency.
Make the site easy to read
When most people are online they rarely have the patience or willpower to read anything of great length. Especially on their phone.
They'll scan the text and maybe scroll down a screen length or two if they're really interested, but most will just run their eyes over a page looking for things that stand out.
So no big blocks of text; it puts people off and intimidates them. You need to make it easy for them. Present copy in short paragraphs, insert plenty of headlines and sub-headings wherever possible as well as hyperlinks that can easily send people onto further relevant info.
Other ways to break up text include using photos and short videos. Videos rock. They engage visitors. The greater the engagement, the more likely they are to hire you.
Don't let your home page be too cluttered
You'd be amazed by the number of MSPs that fall into this trap. When it comes to the home page in particular, focus your attention on one big thing, not dozens of small items.
Use one big picture that best represents your business. Perhaps a team shot with you front and centre (make sure your team are shaved, showered and smiling. And use a professional photographer, not an iPhone).
Have just one logo, one tagline, one main story. Many businesses make the mistake of using several elements on their home page to say the same thing.
And there's nothing wrong with leaving white space - an uncluttered feel is the way to go. Like with many things, less is more.
Make it easy to find critical information on your site
Your website makes it easy to put hundreds of pages of information in front of people who want it.
Navigation is key to making this easy. What many business owners (and some web designers) don't get is that a small business website needs to be as simple to navigate as possible.
This isn't the thing you mess around with by experimenting with something fancy, dynamic or different.
Not all of your visitors will be tech-savvy, and you don't want to lose them by making things unnecessarily difficult for them. Most people have a low tolerance for anything difficult online.
Put things in obvious places - your logo in the top-left corner where people can always click to land back on your home page; your contact details (email, phone number, business address) displayed clearly in the top-right corner; and a simple and informative ‘about us' page.
Make sure your site looks great on a mobile device
Use of mobile devices has surged dramatically over the last five years. It's likely that more of your traffic will be coming from mobile devices than desktops/laptops.
So not only do you have to make sure your site looks as good on a mobile, you should also ensure mobile visitors have access to all your information. A streamlined, cut down version of your full website is no longer good enough.
The 2017 solution is a responsive website - a single website that rearranges itself to look great on whatever screen size it's being displayed on. WordPress is the most cost effective way to achieve this.
Don't waste your time and money on gimmicks
It's best to avoid gimmicks like pop-ups on your site. That's so 2010! A good web designer will know more effective ways to catch someone's attention and direct them to the thing you want them to do.
Slow-loading widgets are also things that bog down too many websites and compromise the visitor experience. Some sidebar widgets can be useful such as social media share buttons. But only put widgets on to your site that actually take the user somewhere useful - there's no point having a Facebook button on there if you never update your Facebook account, for example.
Paul Green is the founder of IT Support Marketing, a business growth and marketing organisation. He is the author of "Updating Servers Doesn't Grow Your Business", a free paperback book to help business owners improve marketing and profitability. You can get a free copy posted to you by visiting www.itsupportbook.co.uk
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