Most businesses will have a website but it's not as simple as writing something about you then making it live. Crafting a website which sends out the right message and helps your potential customers understand what you do is crucial. We chat to Aisha from Scarlet Roo about her top tips on consistent content, website design and structure and being credible online.
Q: A business' website is one of their most important assets, how can business owners ensure they keep content consistent?
Establishing clear guidelines around your brand's tone of voice and key messaging is a really essential starting point. Your brand voice should stem from your company's values - and you can use tone to accentuate different key qualities of your brand across different mediums and in different contexts.
Similarly, your key messages should stem from an understanding of your audiences and how you can help them with their emotional goals. Develop a set of key messages for each of your target groups that communicates the benefit of your product or service. This will mean that copywriters (and also designers and web developers!) have a clear understanding of what they need to communicate, and then the tone of voice guidelines help them understand how they need to communicate it.
Establishing these guidelines and messages from the beginning will really help your content stay consistent not just across your site, but across all of your marketing materials.
One of my favourite examples of brand voice and clear messaging is from Who Gives A Crap, an amazing social enterprise whose content always brings a smile to my face; whether it's on their website, in their emails, on their delivery packaging or even on the individual loo rolls themselves (if you've not heard of them, check them out!).
Q: What is the most common mistake you see business owners make with the way they design and structure their website?
The most common mistake is businesses often forget to look at their website from their customers' perspective.
When you're so deeply entrenched in your own business (and website) it's easy to forget what it's like for someone coming across it for the first time. Steps in the user journey which seem obvious to us aren't always that clear cut to our target audience.
I often say you need to speak your customers' language, and that goes for design and user journey mapping just as much as it does for content.
Don't think that different, flashy or more is always better — sometimes it's just confusing! Ensure the user journey is intuitive and test test test!
User Testing sites (like Usertesting.com) are great resources to get in-depth insights on how new users understand and interact with your site through video recordings and user narration, and user engagement software like HotJar and MouseFlow provide really helpful quantitative analytics on how current users engage with your site with heatmapping, click and scroll visuals. I help clients set up tests and interpret the insights that are provided into practical recommendations, but the most important thing is to actually implement changes and keep making your site as easy to understand and use as possible.
Q: What are some of the most crucial messages to make sure you include on your website?
The first crucial message is your "why". Spend time understanding your company's values and really nailing your own "why" down.
Some prompts I use to help clients reflect on their "why" include:
If all you communicate is "what" you do, then you'll constantly be compared to competitors on service offering and price. If, however, your customers buy into your "why" — then you're on your way to establishing some solid brand loyalty and building a community.
Who Gives A Crap is an amazing example of this as well.
At the end of the day, they sell toilet paper.
I mean, it's nice toilet paper and it comes laden with lots of toilet-related jokes, but it's still just toilet paper. And it's toilet paper that costs more than what you'd probably pay at the supermarket.
So why do I keep banging on about them, tell all my friends about them, and continue to bulk order 48 rolls from them?
It's because of their "why".
This is directly from Who Gives A Crap's website:
"2.3 billion people across the world don't have access to a toilet. That's roughly 40% of the global population and means that around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children per day, or one child every two minutes."
Who Gives A Crap donates 50% of its products to build toilets and improve sanitation throughout the world. THAT'S a why I'm happy to bulk order loo roll for (and the jokes are an added bonus).
The second message I think is absolutely crucial for your website is "You can trust us".
DISCLAIMER: Please continue reading the rest of this answer and please do NOT think I endorse writing this as is on your website 😂 Communicating trust and credibility is very different from telling someone to trust you.
Credibility is a major focus of mine (you can read a blog post all about it here) and it's something a lot of companies overlook. There are lots of very simple ways to communicate credibility and ensure your customers feel at ease on your site, especially when submitting data or purchasing from you.
Some easy wins that help boost credibility and communicate trust include:
Q: If there was one thing business owners could take away and action today on their websites, what would it be?
Get out of your head and into your customers'.
Look at the language your customers use in their feedback/reviews if you have them and adopt some of this language in how you speak about your business. Also, make sure you're communicating trust and credibility because not doing so will be an absolute deal breaker.
Aisha helps independent businesses improve their digital presence by bringing the pieces of their brand together and translating their business into their customers' language. Passionate about working with the Davids, not the Goliaths, her services include brand discovery workshops, communications planning, website content for new sites & redesigns, user testing and website reviews. Find out more on her website.