11 Tips for Building Enchanting Startup Websites
Traditional marketing says you have to “push” your message out to customers, over and over again, to get it remembered. A more effective approach in today’s Internet and interactive culture is to use “pull” technology to bring customers and clients to your story. You pull people in by providing new content with real value on your website at least every few days.
Guy Kawasaki, in his new book “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions” provides some in-depth recommendations on the “how to” of pull technology. Here are some of his recommendations for web sites and blogs that I particularly recommend to entrepreneurs and startups:
- Provide good content. This may seem obvious, but how many websites have you reviewed that are static and just plain dull? A website or blog without appealing or entertaining content for your market segment is not enchanting.
- Refresh it often. Ideally, you should update content at least every two or three days. Good content that doesn’t change isn’t good for long, and customers or clients will not return to your website or blog if you don’t regularly provide something new.
- Skip the flash (and Flash). You may think it’s cool that a sixty-second video plays when people enter your site, or pop-ups occur with every interaction. Most people come with a purpose, and if you won’t let them get to it immediately they won’t come back.
- Make it fast. It’s a shame when anyone can get right to your home page, but then has to wait for it to load. With today’s technology, there’s no excuse for a website that takes more than a few seconds to load.
- Sprinkle graphics and pictures. Graphics, pictures, and videos make a website or blog more interesting and enchanting. If you’re going to err, use them too much rather than too little, except for a Flash front-end and popups.
- Provide a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. People love FAQs because these cut to the chase. Figure out what the most common questions might be and answer them in one place to minimize hassle.
- Craft an About page. Visitors should never have to wonder what your organization does and why you do what you do. Provide all this information in an About page. Confusion and ignorance are the enemies of enchantment.
- Help visitors navigate. Enable people to search your website or blog to find what they are looking for. Also, a site map helps people understand the topology of your website. Forcing paging to complete a single message (to expose more ads) is not enchanting.
- Introduce the team. Few people these days wants to deal with a nameless, faceless, and location-less organization. A good “Who Are We?” page solves this problem, and is necessary to establish trust and expertise.
- Optimize visits for various devices. No matter what device people are using, your website and blog should look good. These days, 20% or more of your audience will be using smart phones or iPads, and they’re probably the most relevant customers.
- Provide multiple methods of access. Some folks like websites and blogs, and others prefer RSS feeds, email lists, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds. Provide multiple methods to engage people and make these options easy to find.
Let’s face it, static websites are dead. You need a blog and social media interaction to keep your content fresh and responsive to the market. Interaction and repeated visits due to the pull of enchanting content will transform a potential customer transaction into a relationship. Everyone remembers a relationship.