A brochure website is a showcase of what you do, how people can get in touch with you, and some method for visitors to interact. A printing business might want to show some samples of their work, some pricing guidelines, their phone number/address/map, and a simple email contact form to get more information. Nothing seems terribly complicated, but so many people get their brochure websites wrong.
You know you business through and through, but your website visitors do not know you at all. Within the first few seconds of landing on your website, they need to have a clear idea of what your business is all about. Sounds too simple, but we see it all the time.
I've landed on your website, now what? Tell visitors what you want them to do very clearly. Your call to action should be emphasized, clear, and easy to accomplish.
You need to define your goals. What do you consider a successful web visit? Possibilities include,
Rank these items based on their importance to you, and then make the first item the most prominent on your homepage and inside pages. Other calls to action can be interspersed throughout your website as well, but try not to over-emphasize everything, otherwise your main calls to action will be lost in the clutter.
It's a brochure website, intended to increase brand awareness, but more importantly, to generate leads for your company. Outside of the call to action mentioned above, you need to include your contact information on every single page of your website. At the very least, include your phone number.
The footer is an obvious choice for many brochure websites. People are used to seeing contact info down there at the bottom of the page. A more aggressive approach is to put this info right in the header, up by the logo. People will unquestionably find your contact info, and from there they can get in touch with you the old fashioned way.
An even more aggressive solution is available as well. Why not include an actual contact form on every page? We are having great success with the contact form on the footer of all of our pages, as is BR Johnson with the contact forms on the sidebar. As long as this approach does not take away from the aesthetics or user experience of the website, it can be a very effective lead generation tool.
If photos of your work exist, then they better be an integral part of your website. For many of our clients, we use large, scrolling photo-bars that can display high quality, eye grabbing photos of their products, work, or services. Of course, we include links to the full portfolio right alongside those scrolling photos - call to action. Again, if people cannot figure out what you do within 3 seconds, then your website is too difficult to understand.
Being a brochure website, you probably don't have 3,500 pages of content. It's more likely 20 pages or less. To make sure your visitors aren't missing anything, you need to present your navigation in a drop-dead simple way. If it takes any brain power at all to find your portfolio or contact page, you've failed.
Also, it's not a bad idea to include a "Back to Home" button in the header for those folks who can't handle being away for so long.
If you're not on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the like, you should be. It's a no brainer, and once you are established in social media, make sure you add links to your various profiles on every page of your website.
If you choose not to implement social media (why!?), then there is still hope for you. Website visitors still want to share your content with their friends, despite your lack of reciprocity. Make sure to add sharing buttons to your website to allow your visitors to promote your content for you.
Bringing people back to your website is the key to building brand recognition online. One visit might not lock in the sale, but if people come back every so often, they are much more likely to become one of your clients.
The best way to get people back to your site is to have great content. Content that is useful, insightful, relevant, and fresh. It's no easy task, but when you can provide web visitors this kind of content, you're sure to be bookmarked and revisited.
This content can come in several forms. One of the most popular is a regularly updated blog. A news or press release section is a great source of recurring traffic as well. A third option relates to the social media mentioned earlier: if you regularly post links on your Facebook page to relevant content on your website, the traffic will increase. Regular coupons, recurring product giveaways, and regular product updates all make people want to come back and consume your content. The possibilities are endless, but the goal is always to keep them coming back for more.
The problem with brochure websites is that they are only useful if people visit them. Visitors will not appear out of thin air. Promotion can come from online and offline sources.
The easiest thing to do is to just get the word out with people already affiliated with your company: customers, staff, friends, etc. Make sure to put your web address on all company documents, fliers, email signatures, and your signage. Promoting your web address will let people know you have an online presence, and that your are a savvy, forward-thinking company.
SEO, on the other hand, is all about bringing new people to your website via search engines. Read our introductory blog post for some background information on SEO. SEO needs to be developed simultaneously along with the website, as well as well after the website is launched. SEO is a process, and constantly bringing new people to your website can be difficult, as other brands are competing for the same keywords. You need to start thinking about your SEO strategy, and who you'll have manage it, right from the beginning of the website development process.
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