There are two types of business websites.
1. Credibility Websites
2. Lead Generation Websites
Which Type of Business Website Do You Need?
Determining what type of website design you need and what elements your web designer will use to accomplish these two site goals is crucial.
A credibility website serves to credential a business as legitimate and trustworthy.
Credibility business websites are used by business owners who are sure most of their business is generated by word-of-mouth, by referral, or by a salesperson.
They believe a visit to their website occurs during the TRUST phase of the sales funnel/hour-glass process.
People are not DISCOVERING the business online.
Viewers of these sites have already heard about a business’s product or service. These visitors are looking for an online reinforcement of the good things they have already heard about this business.
They are answering the question: Is this business or person credible? Do they have authority and experience?
Typical of providers using a credibility website are doctors, lawyers, and real estate agents.
Any business which drives business from others talking about them OR has a first point of contact with a salesperson (ex. a roofing company after a storm) needs a credibility site.
A solid credibility site:
1. Has a professional appearance.
Your small business website is your virtual storefront. No one wants to do business with a story whose physical facility is dirty or unkempt.
The same is true of your webpage.
I had once heard of two great bed and breakfasts near Olympia, Washington. I looked at both sites. One was gorgeously assembled and the other had a site that was a dated mess.
A close friend had told me both were great. But guess which bed and breakfast I booked?
Both bed and breakfasts offered a similar quality of service and amenities.
Only one got my MONEY!
2. Is Up to Date
Are you still running a promotion on your site that ended on Mother’s Day in the middle of June?
This lack of attention to detail can kill you, as customers think, “They aren’t on top of things on their website, perhaps they won’t be on point with me either.”
3. Has Accreditation Logos
Are you a member of a professional association, a network, a quality assurance program the BBB or earned specific licenses?
These logos should be on the front page of your website.
Even if people don’t know exactly what each organization does, these logos offer a sense of psychological security to your viewer that you are legitimate.
Of course, be honest and make sure you are truly a member of each organization you place on your site.
4.Is Rich in Testimonials
Nothing builds credibility more than real testimonials and endorsements from real customers.
The more recognized the entity the testimony is associated, the better. See the Four Seasons in the picture? Everyone knows the Four Seasons. This provides strong legitimacy.
Make sure to get a waiver signed to gain their permission to use their statement and photo.
A credibility site is for those potential customers who are already well down the sales funnel and are looking for an additional means of feeling comfortable with you on there way to saying yes.
It appeals to people who are already thinking of doing business with you. Your website needs to encourage them to take the next step, not discourage them.
(We’ll be happy to do an assessment of your current site.)
But there is a second type of small business website…
Lead Generation Site
The second type of business website is a lead generation site.
This type of website contains many of the same attributes as a credibility site.
However, it must take things farther.
A lead site is designed to be an initial point of contact with your business’s service or product.
It is designed to help people discover you online when they have little or no previous knowledge of your existence.
Its job is to get you leads!
Here is what is needed additionally on a lead site:
1. Search Engine Optimization (On-page and External)
Nothing is more important to a lead generation site than where it ranks on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.
When people search looking for a product or service you offer, you must show up on page one!
You must have your website and each page on your site optimized to be found on search engines. This is called on-page SEO.
An on-page SEO expert, like Moon & Owl Marketing, can ensure all the code on the site tells Google exactly what your business offers.
You must also work on external SEO.
External search engine optimization efforts are an ongoing process where an expert garners quality links created on other high authority sites that point back to your website.
Unless you have tons of time—doubtful—and enjoy a steep learning curve, don’t try this on your own because if you get it wrong, Google will bury you.
Here is your goal…#1 ranking.
2. Paid Digital, Online Advertising
While organic ranking is ideal. You MUST get in front of your potential customer.
People need to find your business organically (that is, they search a product or service you offer and you rank high on Google naturally takes time).
In the meantime, a paid advertisement on a search engine can get you in front of your audience quickly.
3. Landing pages
These paid ads should point to SPECIFIC pages on your site that relate directly to the ad content.
Here is an example landing page template:
A landing page helps convert visitors because it is tailored as the solution to an exact problem or need that the person just searched for. The visitor doesn’t tend to drift around aimlessly. They make a concrete decision – yes this meets what I am seeking or no, it isn’t a match.
4. Strong Call To Actions and Capture Mechanisms
You need your audience to move down the sales funnel to some degree or another.
Bright buttons and phone numbers are important to gain contact. They should stand out sharply from other elements on your page.
An email capture field should be present.
Consider providing visitors free tips or content they will value in exchange for an email.
Once their email address is captured you can send them an email drip—a series of automated emails that continue to build trust and call for action.
4. Ongoing Content
In order to target existing keywords that people search, you’ll need fresh posts, blogs, and articles written.
Maybe you sell pickles and need an article written that targets the keyword pickles in Austin, because you are trying to grow sales in that city.
Which Type of Site Do You Need?
If your business is primarily word of mouth drive, consider a credibility site. A credibility site can beautifully designed and placed on the web. Since most people will visit this site AFTER they have been told about you by a friend or salesperson, the site doesn’t need as much tweaking or ongoing content.
Visitors are primarily looking to see you are legitimate and an expert.
In contrast, a lead site needs ongoing work and effort.
Before you decide…
ASK, “What would happen if my credibility site could become a LEAD GENERATION site to gain even more business? Can I handle additional business and revenue?”
If so, you should consider expanding your credibility site to a LEAD site.
Why wouldn’t you want to be found by a potential customer, client or patient who had never heard of you before and have the reach out?
The long-term play is always to move a credibility site towards a lead generation site.
Either way, your business website needs to WORK for you! Let us help you.