BY KEREN LERNER
Don’t let your website join the ranks of cookie-cutter websites. Instead, follow this guide and inject some personality into your next website upgrade.
Ramping up engagement in your online marketing activities, including your website, can lead to increased sales. When people click through your website, blog, and content and they see something that reveals insight, shows personality, and tells a story, they are more likely to feel connected to both you and your business. And this, in turn, makes it more likely they want to know you and your business better.
Sadly, websites are often thrown together, ending up as a standard, dry, box-ticking, fact-filled, credentials-reporting, compliance-ready combinations of pages, words and stock images.
Don’t let your website join these same old, same old, ranks. Instead, follow this guide and inject some personality into your next website upgrade.
For your About Us page, feature professionally taken pictures of your team. Not only is it good for people’s morale, but it adds a polished look to your website.
What about the rest of the site? Stock images are an option and sometimes there are good reasons to use these. Luckily, there are distinctly non-cheesy choices out there.
Another option is to hire a talented photographer to come in for a day and take pictures of your office and daily activities. Or if you are a talented photographer and you know about light, shutter speed, aperture, the rule of thirds, and how to break that rule, plus other photography basics, you can take the shots yourself.
If your resulting pictures have the right composition and lighting, they can make a huge difference in the impression your website has on visitors.
Bios that showcase your team’s personalities
After the home page, the Team page typically garners the most visits. Yet it’s often a big headache to pull together, because it needs the collective cooperation of several people to meet a preset word count. So it tends to be skipped or rushed, and that’s a big mistake.
Just like any other part of your website and online marketing, take care with your Team page. Visitors to your website will be nosy – they like to read about the people in a company they may interact with.
A typical problem with team bios is that someone is tasked with gathering this information from everyone, and people send a mix of long and short bios, in all different writing styles. Think about the overall culture of your business and the impression you want to make. Ask the same type of information from each employee and hire a good copywriter to ensure the tone is consistent across all of the bios.
- You can start with basic information; for example, like when the employee started working at the business and what their role is.
- Add something you or others on the team like or admire about that employee and their working style. Vary the wording so there isn’t a lot of repetition between the different bios.
- Insert personality into each profile, e.g., something no one knows, best memory at work, favorite quote, top productivity tip, etc. Choose from these 36 questions, which are actually fun for your team to answer.
- Reread all of the bios together and make sure they are consistent, both in terms of length and style.
Every website should have a Contact page. It should be a link that is clearly visible from the top navigation bar. It is not a good idea to put it in the About section of your website or in a More Info link – it makes no sense, plus it makes it difficult for visitors to find your contact details.
In addition, add a friendly intro above the contact details, contact form or map you may have on this page. Phrase this sentence in a friendly, conversational tone.
Below are some suggested phrases:
- We’d love to hear from you! Please fill in your details and we will reply within 10 hours.
- Want to talk, meet, get to know us? We feel the same! Leave your details below and we can begin this wonderful relationship!
- Let’s talk! Just fill out the form below or call or email us. We don’t mind how, as long as we make contact!
- Form-filling time! We challenge you to do this in less than one minute!
Case studies that tell a story
Case studies are an important way to show potential clients, customers and collaborators how you’ve helped others like them in the past.
How are your case studies written? Many people follow a standard format of “The Problem,” “The Solution” and “The Methodologies,” which can be boring.
Think about writing in the first person. Tell the story of how you and your client or customer met. What they came to you with. How people felt. The frustrations they had. How had it been before? Asking the right questions to draw out the story, with a structure that is written to attract clients, and interspersing the case study with the client’s logo, stock images, or, if possible, images of those involved with the project will make your case study so much more interesting, engaging and believable. You want people to read your case studies and think “I feel like that” or “That’s just like me.”
Some people are suspicious of testimonials. They think they’re made up and stuck on websites. Aside from the fact that some people prefer to be grumpy, there are ways to make your testimonials far more powerful and useful to you – supercharge them!
Asking your clients questions like “What did you learn from working with us?” brings to the forefront the reasons that made them choose you over your competitors. It’s these words that will have a bigger impact on your potential clients who may read them in the future.
Blog with personality
There are so many advantages to having a blog. If you write educational, insightful posts that offer unique insights that people learn something from, this will help potential clients/collaborators overcome any doubts or objections about working with your business. It takes practice to write amazing blog posts, but there are plenty of online guides, such as this checklist for writing the perfect blog post!
The biggest issue with blogs is that they lie dormant. Further, many businesses publish blog posts without any personality. They feel like a chore to read because they don’t capture people’s imaginations or stir up feelings.
How do you add personality? It’s actually easier if your writing mirrors how you talk.
Write in the first person, relate how events unfolded, share how things felt for you and others. Include quality, relevant pictures. To keep things useful, group information and points into sections under subheadings. Then read and re-read and ask yourself: How does this make the reader feel? And, of course, correct all spelling and grammatical mistakes.
While the idea of putting yourself out there in these ways may feel strange at first, once you’ve implemented these changes and you read your new-and-improved website, you will see how it feels much more real and engaging. When you speak straight to readers and display quality bespoke images of your people and your business, you’re connecting visitors to your business on a more human and emotional level. Once business owners see the difference their new site has with visitors, it’s rare that many may want to “dial it back.”