What’s the recipe for a truly tasty website? These 10 ingredients will have your business cookin’ in no time.
Back in my vegan days, I baked a *mean* vegan chocolate chip cookie, and my recipe was exact. Each ingredient was measured to a T each and every time (because that’s how I roll).
One day, a dear friend whom I had plans with later that evening asked for the recipe, saying she wanted to bake them while I was over that night, and I gladly sent it to her. Later on at her house, I observed jaw-dropped as she proceeded to shake ingredients directly into a mixing bowl without measuring them at all, let alone measuring them to a T. How can she do this? I thought to myself. But I held my tongue (and it was not easy).
And when the cookies came out? Well, let’s just say they weren’t *exactly* how my cookies would have turned out.
When you follow a great recipe to a T, you’ll get great results.
And so, in the spirit of baking, I offer to you the following recipe for a great website. It has all the best ingredients that, when put together, will create something truly magical.
2 Cups of Your “Why”
Why do you do what you do? What’s your brand story? Your target audience is dying to know. Your “why” is the foundation for everything else in your business, and once you’ve reached clarity on it, everything else will fall much more easily into place.
1 Cup of Each Core Value
What values define who you will do business with and who you will not do business with? How can you attract the right customers for you, and deflect the wrong ones? Your core values help you to do this. They are what you stand for as a business. To give you a sense, check out my core values on the Ellanyze homepage.
1.5 Cups of a Well Defined Target Audience
You know what they say: if you try to reach everyone, you’ll end up reaching no one. The more clear you can get on your specific target audience (i.e. who are they? what do they do? what do they love? what are they afraid of?) the more you can speak their language on your website and in all of your marketing materials.
2 Tablespoons of a Strong Call-to-Action (don’t use mild)
If you don’t know what you want your website visitor to do, chances are they won’t know either. Do you want them to make a purchase? Reach out for a consultation? Subscribe to your mailing list? Sign-up for an opt-in? Get clear on what you want them to do, and then make it as easy as possible for them to do it.
1/4 Cup EASY Contact Info
Always remember, getting in touch with you should be easy as pie (or cookies in this case). Look at your website from the point of view of a visitor. How many clicks does it take them to reach out? Making it obvious and giving them options (i.e. a contact form, email, phone, etc) will make their day.
1 Teaspoon Consistent Navigation
There is nothing more disorienting than a website where the navigation menu changes location depending on what page you’re on. Make sure your navigation menu is in the exact same place on every page, has clear and descriptive page links, and uses dropdown menus only it makes good sense to do so. In other words, try not to make people *think*.
1 Tablespoon Active Blog
Blogging regularly on your website defines you as an expert in your field, builds a following of readers who align with your core values, and drives traffic to your site. What’s not to like about that? Aim to blog two to four times per month, and shoot for blog posts that are at least 500 words. If you make blogging a practice, it will absolutely pay off over time in ways you can’t now predict.
1 Cup of High-Quality Photographs
If you hire the world’s greatest web designer to make your website, but you haven’t invested in good photos, you’re doing yourself an injustice. Great photos will make a website every time. Ask for recommendations from those you trust, find a photographer whose aesthetic fits your brand, and invest in photos that will truly communicate the heart and soul of your business.
10 Customer Testimonials, pruned and chopped
Quotes from past customers are quite literally your website visitors’ evidence that you’re great at what you do. Pair down your testimonials to just the hidden gems and feature those gems all over your website. Testimonials light up a website!
An Offer/Incentive, to taste
Most people need a really good reason to give you their email address – so give it to them! 🙂 Brainstorm a digital freebie (eBook, mini-course via email, jump-start guide, etc.) that will be undeniably enticing to your target audience. It’s a win-win: they get to learn something new that they value greatly, and you get the opportunity to build trust with them over time.
Bake your website up with the above ten ingredients, and you’ll have some tasty cookies – er, a website – indeed.
So, how did you do? How many of the above does your website already have?