October 6

Episode 108 : Websites: Key Elements You Need on Your Homepage and About Page


Ken Tucker: Hey everybody. Welcome to this episode of The Marketing Guide for Small Businesses Podcast. I am Ken Tucker and I’m your host today. And I’m joined by Jen by video, Ian and Paul live. Today we’re gonna be talking about your homepage and your about page, and why these two pages are so important and what key elements you need to have on them. These are the two pages that get most of the traffic from most websites, so they’re super important. These pages should serve more than just being a digital brochure, and it’s really your 24/7/365 salesperson.

It’s available all the time, and it’s that first level of sales. These two pages in particular are very important in the way they represent your company. So to get things started, I’ve got a video that I wanted to kinda launch that just talks about some of the key points you need on your homepage and on your about page.

But before we do that, I wanted to just cover a couple of other critical things that we need to address. So most websites. Have a tendency to put a premium on design, but they miss many key elements, and yet 92% of consumers are gonna visit a brand’s website for the first time for reasons other than making a purchase.

It’s clear that the most important resource that people are using when they’re trying to find a local business is doing search engine optimization, and so your website is absolutely critical for that. Websites don’t live in a vacuum. We need to think about not only the design, but also the structure, the elements, the content, all of that feeds the search engine optimization capabilities.

And so it’s really important to think about getting all of the right elements on your website. A lot of people say, Okay with Google my business or Google business profile as it’s now called, I don’t really need a website. If I can show up in the map results, that’s all great. First of all, it’s hard to show up in the map results if you don’t have a quality website, but second of all, local  businesses are gonna trust the details from a business website more than they’re gonna trust Google My Business or online directories. Again, they may find you because of that Google Map listing, but they’re gonna go to your website and check you out and make sure you’re legit. Only 8% of consumers never look at a website before they choose a local business, and 50% of consumers would be deterred from contacting a business if information about their website was out date.

So I just wanted set this conversation up. Your website and especially your homepage and your about page are really critical. And so now we’re going to move over to the point where I get to ask the great panel the questions. Thanks, and let’s get going here. Ian, I’m gonna start with you.

Way too many websites are not clear in what they really do. That’s obvious and crystal clear when a website visitor lands on the website. So let’s focus on the area that we commonly refer to as the hero section. First of all, explain what that is and then what are the critical elements that need to be at the very top of the page?

Ian Cantle: Sure. Just to reiterate the importance of this section. First impressions are super important to us in life in general, and of course, when somebody gets to your website, first impressions mean a lot, and your website is the face of your business and your hero section is the face of your business, right?

Like it’s what people see first and it gives them the first impress. The hero section is really important and it needs to be good. So a hero section is really the first section just below the navigation. Usually on most websites, it’s what the prospect sees first. It’s above the scroll or above the fold, as we say, using a traditional marketing or design term.

When newspapers where paper was folded over. So you wanna see the cover first. You wanna see the hero section. You don’t want information to bleed off of that section, but it really is a vital section. I’ll go into the details of what best practices to include in the hero section, but that’s essentially what it is.

It’s that first welcome to your website. So there are some best practices of what to include in a hero section and most hero sections that are successful have four key element. The first one is a headline, and that headline is really a promise and your core difference, so it’s usually a combination, and then you have supportive copy below that, then you have a key call to action.

That’s your core call to action that you want people to make your most important call to action. And then some sort of compelling photo or visual that supports your message. So let me go into a little bit more detail about those elements. The headline of your promise to the customer. Here’s what we’re going to do for you if you hire us.

It’s super important. You need to show them that first of all, you understand who they are. You’re speaking directly to them as a prospect. You understand their challenges and you’re able to solve them. So that’s usually what the promise or the core difference statement that’s in that headline really entails.

It’s setting you apart from the competition, and it’s very clearly showing how you are going to solve their problem and bring transformation into their life. That can mean enormous things in different industries. For some, it might just be we will beautify your house. I have some examples actually that I’ll share later on, but there’s so much you can do in that.

Then you usually have supportive copy, which could just be some bullet points. Key bullet points, because you made a bold claim above that. You made a promise, you spoke to a core difference. Now it’s about how do you support that claim, and it’s usually a couple sentences. Maybe four bullet points max.

It’s to convey in a powerful way you get what they’re going through and you can help. Again it’s designed to differentiate you from the competition. Your call to action is the next element. That’s the third element out of the four. And this is usually a button, right? It’s usually a button could take a different form if you so choose, but it’s exactly, you should be driving people.

To do exactly what you hope they will do, which is your highest valued action. For a lot of companies, that might be a click to call, a book an appointment, a get a quote, right? Those are usually the highest value calls to actions for a lot of businesses, but just remember to make it super clear.

Make it easy. And make sure it aligns with your ideal outcome. And then finally compelling photo or visual. Pictures speak louder than words. A lot of people are very visual, and so you need your visual to communicate the transformation that you offer in some way, and it sets the tone for your whole page.

So what your hero section imagery appears, will probably, or it should, set the tone for the visuals that follow the color choices. If you’re using stylized illustrations in your hero section, you’ll probably use stylized illustrations throughout your website. And it has to impact your visitor visually, convey what you do and just make sure it makes sense and aligns with your core message.

But if you get those four things right in your hero section, it seems silly to go on and on about the hero section like this. Once you get it, it’s pretty darn simple. But I’m amazed, Ken, and I’m sure you and Paul and Jen, who’s not with us today, So I think in discussion, I’ve heard that you guys are amazed as well at the number of times you go to competitor’s websites or customer’s website when you’re first starting working with them or doing an audit and you see how businesses are not doing stuff like this and how vanilla and lackluster it makes that first impression.

Ken Tucker: Yeah, I think about from a StoryBrand perspective, the transformation is critical, right? So the picture shouldn’t be about a leaky toilet and showing a toilet overflow if you’re a plumber or water restoration company and whatnot, it should show success. It should show happy customers after they’ve transformed, after they’ve experienced your services, and having a crystal clear message about what you do and the problem you solve. And Duct Tape has a phrase and StoryBrand has a phrase. The Duct Tape one you might have to help me with that one, Ian. The StoryBrand talks about the grant test within three to five seconds when you look at that homepage, you need to be able to grunt out what it is that business does and how they solve that problem.

And if you can’t do that, you may have lost people because there’s nothing that’s gonna hold them to stay on your website other than the way you design it and the content that you put on it. Basically, if you cover up all of the branded information and you looked at the web and you looked at the homepage, could you tell whether it was yours or another business if you just heard somebody read it back to you?

So keep those things in mind. The whole purpose of the hero section is to address those things. 

Ian Cantle: Yeah. And Ken, just to reinforce what you said about the visual, a great example or one thing I’d love to tell our listeners. When possible include people in your photos, because what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to get them to empathetically feel what it’s gonna be like to feel the solution you provide. A great StoryBrand example is a home organizer. A lot of home organizers would just show some really nice rooms that are organized, but the ones that get it and the example of StoryBrand is no you show a mother playing with her daughter in front of a totally organized playroom, smiling and laughing.

That’s what’s going to impact people because that’s what they want to feel. And if you can convey feelings and if you can help them feel that transformation of what they want, because after they click off your website, they’re gonna go play with their daughter and they’re gonna be in a messy playroom and they’re gonna be like, Man, I wanna be that person.

Ken Tucker: My first thought is a lot of home organizers might just have a really cluttered, disastrous looking room, a picture on the top of their homepage, and that’s a big mistake in our opinion. Ian talked a little bit about calls to action. There are actually a couple of things that you need to think about from in terms of calls to action.

What should you think about having at the top of your website? Also should you have a popup call to action on your website? 

Paul Barthel: You might have a couple different types of calls to action. I think at the very least, you should have the phone number in your main navigation, especially if you’re a service area business.

You want your phone number at the very top, cuz people tend to call them. But if you have a calendar where people can go to your calendar and book an appointment, and you would want that at the top of your webpage as well. Maybe in the main navigation, maybe in the hero section. That doesn’t mean that you don’t place them throughout the page.

A lot of people go to a website just for the contact information, so you want that up at the top, so it’s right there immediately. Some people are going there for information, so that doesn’t mean you don’t place call your CTAs throughout the website as well, or maybe in the sidebar if your website has a sidebar good place to put them. Different types of calls of action. You have what we call transitional calls to action, such as downloading an ebook or a checklist, and then there’s the direct calls to action. That’s the call now or the phone number or the book an appointment, scheduling estimate. Those are your direct calls to action.

A popup, they irritate me, but there’s a lot of data out there that says they work. I think the exit, as it’s called, exit intent popups, when you’re going to leave that page, then it pops up. I think those can be effective, but that depends on the person visiting the website. Some people, it’s not gonna bother. Some people it irritates, but like I said, there’s data that says it works, so I wouldn’t completely dismiss it.

Ken Tucker: And there are controls that you can put on that so that if a website visitor comes back several times within a particular period, you don’t always have to have that pop up come up. 

Paul Barthel: Yeah. You can have it said every week or every 10 days or whatever.

Ken Tucker: Yeah. Which can be come really annoying. I’m gonna ask Jen a question, and Jen has recorded a video answering this. Basically what I asked Jen is to just talk about how important it is to have pictures and or video of the people in the business on the homepage, and why are these better than having stock photos. So here we go. 

Jen Kelly: My question is, how important is it to have pictures and videos of the people in the business all on the website? And are these more effective than stock images and why? Yes, it is important. If you’re running a business, it’s very important to have the images, the photos, the videos of yourself, the business owner, your team, your support staff, partners, strategic alliances on your website.

It’s important because potential customers want to know who they are working with. In this day and age, it is very common to have businesses set up that use freelancers, that use contract workers, that use folks that are just in on certain projects, but they’re not full-time employees. Now, there’s nothing wrong with doing that.

So you can have those folks on your website. You can talk about them as they’re a freelancer on many different projects or their projects specific for this specific long term project. It’s quite common these days, so don’t worry about that at all. The toughest thing we have seen is whether you’re a freelancer or an employee.

Is people getting their picture taken? It’s a whole different ballgame from anything to do with your website. So what we would recommend is the full-time employees. You as the business owner, you spring for headshots for your team. It is an investment in your team. People are gonna look good. If it’s done with a professional photographer, you’re all gonna get the same continuity.

You’re really gonna look like a team. It is an investment, but it is worth making. We know folks that have gotten a really good headshot and they use it for years, and they’re really happy to show it off and have a professional headshot that someone is very happy to have shown around and is a great thing.

Having said that, on the headshot thing, I do wanna talk a little bit about stock photography. Stock photography to replace images of your staff, I would recommend against a hundred percent. If you’re not gonna choose to show your staff, you could do something with the caricature. You could do something with avatars but don’t use stock photography images of people to make it seem like that’s your team. There’s no way I would recommend doing that if your team is too shy or does not wanna be photographed. There’s other ways like avatars and whatnot to put it up. There’s other write ups you could do if it really comes to that.

Where I was going with stock photography as well is it is possible and it is okay to use stock photo. On your website for other pages, not all of us can afford to have professional photographer come in every month doing a photo shoot of what’s going on in the office, or a photo shoot specific for every blog and whatnot.

So you can use stock photography oftentimes. If you choose the stock photography, please make sure you’re buying it from a reputable source. Please make sure you’re buying it, purchasing the right license. Your graph design team is able to manipulate stock photography. So what that could mean is zooming in and cropping a stock photograph.

So it looks a little bit different using certain filters and transparency, so it looks a little bit different, putting some branding on the photograph. So it’s branded to you. Your company. So there are some possible ways to use stock photography in other places of your website, but never ever to replace your team. 

Ken Tucker: Just about a live appearance right there.

Thanks, Jen. Based on the nature of your business, I think it’s really important. If you’re gonna be a business that goes into people’s homes, you really should have pictures of your team and your crew, ideally in loggoed attire on your homepage and on your about page. I just think that’s absolutely critical.

And, Ian what are your thoughts? 

Ian Cantle: I agree a hundred percent. Where it’s challenging. I’ve worked with say a carpet cleaning company. They had some photos of their team, not very professional. The lighting was horrible. You certainly don’t want the lighting, like you don’t want their trucks to be dirty. You don’t want the light to be dim when they’re photographing their team cleaning a carpet because you wanna see the dramatic difference it can make.

So in circumstances like that, the business should invest in good photography for themselves, and it can be used in multiple places, but especially on their website, but where it can’t be used or where they don’t have it. I would almost never halt the development of a website because it’s too important.

You need to get your online presence built and generating equity as quickly as possible. And so in those circumstances, for sure, I would sparingly and wisely use stock photography. That’s licensed appropriately, as Jen said, so you don’t get lawsuits or legal fees associated with them. Again, they have to be chosen very wisely in order to convey the message you’re trying to get across and yeah, be careful about what the people look like cuz one of the things I find, maybe you find this Ken, is when you’re looking for stock photography for a window installer, a roofer, a carpet cleaner.

These stock catalogs come from all around the world, so you’ll see people wearing uniforms that you’ve never seen worn in North America because it’s not a common attire. They might be wearing suspenders. That doesn’t really convey who we are, so you need to be careful about what you choose. 

Ken Tucker: That’s a great point. Sometimes even some of these stock photos are racy, which seriously, who paints a house looking like that? You don’t want the guy’s flexing as he paints. You don’t want your pictures and images to be a distraction. You want them to be an enhancement and to help people visualize their experience.

Bad photographs and bad photography can be a real negative. Ian, let’s move to the credibility and trust section. At least that’s what I call ’em. You may call ’em something different. Why are these important and can you give us some examples of what might go in these sections? 

Ian Cantle: These are pretty simple in concept, but you do need to think about what elements have the greatest impact in the eyes of your customers and prospects.

Again, it’s everything you do on your website should be for them. Not for you as a business. Even if you’re  focused on hiring people, because I think that’s worthy of comment these days because a lot of people are focused on hiring people. That should be a separate section, first of all. But also it shouldn’t be about your business, it should be about the person you’re trying to attract.

It’s always about the prospect and the customer. So these sections are designed to reduce barriers, prove you do what you say you’ll do, and that you have happy, satisfied customers. Yeah, I split these into two sections when we’re building websites. One I call the authority and credibility trust section.

That’s a combination of a whole bunch of different terms that different people use for that section. And then the second one is testimonials and social proof trust section. So the authority and credibility trust section. Think of these as the elements that support indeed what you say you can do and that you’re really good at.

It might be your accreditations, might be those the associations you’re involved in, it might be the awards you’ve won as a business. You can include local Chamber of commerce logos. If you’ve been an expert on local TV or on radio stations, you can include those local logos. It’s all about building credibility as visually and quickly as possible with your viewer and it’s almost about brand elevation. You’re using the credibility of those associations, those groups, those media channels to raise the view of your credibility just by association. So that’s the first section and the Better Business Bureau I didn’t mention, but for sure those kind of things are very powerful.

The second section is the testimonials and social proof trust section, and this is where you leverage the power of other people. Past customers, current customers saying amazing things about your business because it’s always more powerful to have other people say amazing things about you than you saying amazing things about yourself.

It’s just more authentic. Hand pick your best, most impactful testimonials and share them. You see a lot of websites where it’s got a scrolling banner of testimonials, or you might just highlight the top three that you want to focus on. And then if you have generated video testimonials, this is a fantastic place to include one of those or two of those, because video is very powerful.

Pretty simple concept. You’re trying to convey something very quickly to the viewer. They might not even consume the information by digesting it in one logo at a time, but having it there really supports that you do a great job and you’re credible. 

Ken Tucker: What are your thoughts about if you’re a B to B type business, putting logos of customers that you’ve done work for?

Ian Cantle: Yeah, absolutely. Again, I think that’s brand elevation. A lot of business to business businesses are lesser known than their customers. They might be behind the scenes supporting a larger business that’s more well known. If I was the agency, the advertising agency for Apple, I’d be ridiculously stupid not to show that on my website.

Because again, you’re elevating your brand through association. So yeah, I think it’s a great idea and you just gotta be smart about it. I have seen some websites, especially in marketing, where they have 30 logos of clients they’ve done work for and after the first row, I’m not interested and I don’t think their customers would be either. 

Ken Tucker: Unless you’re like a software company or something like that.

Then maybe it’s a little bit different.

Ian Cantle: Yeah. Someone put it like in a prominent spot, I’d probably put it more, or on the page is almost right above the footer. Which most people tend to. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah. Do you run into any. Pushback from any of your clients in terms of putting any of that kind of stuff on their website because they’re afraid that it’s gonna divulge a competitive advantage they have? Or it’s I don’t wanna list my customers cuz somebody might come along and try to poach ’em? 

Ian Cantle: Yeah. I think that’s more of an internal fear that we all have as business people. So when we’re sharing logos of satisfied customers, potentially you are opening yourself up. I can say as an agency, when I see other agencies in my area who are really bad at certain things like SEO and they’re posting their customers online and they’re a particular niche that I’m focused in. I’ll check out their client’s websites and go, Oh my goodness, maybe I should contact these guys. They need help. I think overall it’s, you’re pretty safe, and if you are doing a good job, you don’t have to worry about it. If you’ve built a strong relationship with your client, then it’s very hard to pull away an entrenched partner.

Ken Tucker: I think it’s gonna help you land maybe two or three other types of businesses like that. It’s an irrational fear, I think too many times. Paul, we haven’t really talked about the nature of a modern homepage, really. But I think most homepages are now long scrolling homepages, and I think we’re all pretty accustomed to that.

We use social media. We swipe down and swipe around on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or whatever to read these feeds of information. One of the things that I think a lot of people really short change, and I’d love your opinion on this too, are their services. How do you describe the services? Do you just kinda list them all out? Do you highlight the core ones? How do you talk about how those services solve problems for your customer, client, or patient? 

Paul Barthel: They should absolutely be on your homepage. That’s what you do. That’s how you make money. I wouldn’t just list them out. This, and this goes back to images are powerful and you should use images, but you should definitely not use stock images because one of those stock images may show people, okay, maybe they’re painting a house and they, whatever they’re wearing is not what your crew is gonna be wearing when they show up. That’s just not good. So you can have videos about what you do on your homepage, but yes, you should list out your services, do it with images. As far as if you offer a bunch of different services. But some of them, it’s yeah you do but they’re not high profit margin.

We have a couple clients if there’s things they do, but that they’re not gonna go out and do it for a new customer. They’ll do it for an existing customer, you probably don’t wanna put those on your homepage and make those prominent. Your core services is really what you wanna highlight. And yeah, like you said, people are used to scrolling and you don’t have to have a full write up of every service you do on your homepage.

You can have a picture, summarize what you do, and then have that link to a service page that goes in depth about what’s all involved, what the process is. Maybe if it’s water restoration. What’s the process? What can I expect to happen during this? The problems you solve? Yes, you definitely want to have those on your homepage, and we talked about this a little bit, is social proof.

Definitely want that in there. We talked about the transformation and how this is gonna make your life better or solve your problem. You definitely want that up there and you want that up at the top, above the fold as we’ve talked about. So yeah, that’s a long answer to should you have your services on there, but yes, absolutely.

Ken Tucker: You talked about that and it may, it brings me back something I forgot to follow up with you on when you were talking about the transitional call to action. And I think we need to talk about this. Not everybody is ready to contact your businesses when they first land on your website. I would say statistics show like only 4%.

We talked about this a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about why you need to do remarketing because most people don’t take action the first time they visit your website. Especially where it requires engagement and commitment from them to interact with somebody from your business. And, so a transitional call to action is really a way to get somebody to say, Hey, I’m curious, I wanna learn more, but I’m not ready to talk to anybody. Just give me something that’s gonna help me see if I can solve my problem myself or understand how you might be able to help me solve my problem before I wanna sit down and use my valuable time to meet with you or have you come out, provide an estimate or whatever.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is it relates to what you were just talking about, Paul, in terms of services is I think the power of three is really important. I think a lot of people need to try to challenge themselves to operate under the power of three from a psychological perspective.

If you add that fourth thing in any section that we’re talking about, if you had that fourth thing, now you’ve complicated it and you’ve decreased the likelihood somebody may make a decision. Whether you’re describing all of those products or solutions you have to the extent that you can try to package those ideally in threes because you’re gonna get your, typically your best performance. Now, that’s not always the case. I think it, but it’s a really good, solid rule of thumb. All right, we have another question.

Ian Cantle: I just had a quick question for Paul, and this is a lob ball to you I think if you wanna use a baseball term, Paul , one of the reasons why we also include services is yes, indeed for the people, but also for the robots.

Because you want to create that SEO connection between your subpages, which obviously is in your header, it’s in your footer, which we’ll talk about later, but it helps that linkages within your homepage to those services, does it not? 

Paul Barthel: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. 

That’s why, like I said, if you have an image and a little short description of a service, that should link to a page about that service that goes more in depth.

It’s not just important that link. Internal linking it. It’s not just important for the web bots, the Google Bot, we call it Google Bot. Microsoft has the same kind of thing, but it’s also important for the users. It helps them navigate your website. You should do this anyway, but if you have more than three or four core services that really do make you money that really are a high profit, then you should really create a services page that kind of acts as a pillar page that links out to all of your services. And all your services should have their own page. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re gonna put ’em on the homepage, but they should still have their own page.

Ian Cantle: Awesome. Thank you. 

Ken Tucker: All right, so here we go. I’m gonna turn it back over to Jen. 

Jen Kelly: My question here is, how important is it to bring new content to the website? It’s very important. It’s very important to bring new content to your website regularly, particularly your homepage, because that is typically the first page folks are gonna land on.

Certainly if you have your blogs or other information out there around the internet, they can land on that blog page, for example, and then peruse through your website that way. But your homepage typically is the first window into your business. And to update that regularly with news, with information, with the latest blog post, it’s very important to be doing that.

Get yourself on a schedule. If you’re going to do that, first of all, commit to it. Understand that whether you, ugh, I know it can lead a little bit much. You can just, Oh my goodness, you gotta do all this website stuff when am I gonna have time to run my business? But like it or not, Google will favor fresh content.

So get yourself and your team on a schedule. Commit to, can you do once a week if that’s too much, can you do every two weeks? Can you do every three weeks? The consistency and sticking to the consistency and being able to update the website consistently with new content far outweighs the ability to do it three weeks in a row and then let it go for a whole entire year.

So pick some consistency that works for you. We have a lot of our clients on the every two week type of plan. And that seems to be working for them very well. It can feel a little daunting, especially when we all get into our busy periods around work. And the last thing you feel like is a priority is your new content to your website.

But if you view your website like we do on this panel, which is essentially it’s your 24 hour a day seven days a week salesperson that never sleeps, never rests, is always there for you. Always out there promoting your business. I think about that with that kind of priority and you could make it happen. Some of the things that you could do, you could pull in your future blog post whatever cadence is that you’re doing a blog.

You could find some news around your company if you have launches, if there’s things that are, we’re celebrating internally. There is a promotion, if there is a new deal. Those are the kind of things that could be considered new information. And just think about promoting them. Think about what are we gonna have on the website this cycle, and whether that cycle is every week, every month, every two weeks.

And we’d probably recommend, if you had to pick one of those, we’d recommend the every two. 

Ken Tucker: All right. So Ian, I’d love your thoughts on, do you pull in blog posts or other content onto your homepage? If so, why? Why do you do that? And do you pull all your, is it just the latest blog post? Is it category of blog posts? What are your thoughts on that? 

Ian Cantle: For our own websites, cuz we have a couple, we pull in the three or four latest blog posts cuz we’re consistently pumping out new content. For our clients, depending on where they are in their business, right? Because some clients, when we build out their website, they have no blog posts.

Even though we’re recommending building out blog posts, they might not be there yet, or their blog post might be from seven years ago. So in those cases, we generally don’t promote those on their homepage until they get to the point of either hiring us to do consistent blog posting, or they’re bought into it.

But it’s tremendously powerful and it’s very easy to set up that way if you’re just pulling in your latest blog post and you can filter them any way you want. So it can be by date, the latest ones, You can do it by category. We tend to do it by date, just so it’s the freshest, most recent stuff for our businesses, and that generally is the way we do it for our clients as well.

Yeah. What about. 

Ken Tucker: It’s generally gonna be the most recent content. We may periodically filter it based on category. Paul mentioned if a business has a bunch of different services, we may really dial that in a little bit. You know the other thing too, and this takes more work because once you set up your blog post structure properly on your homepage, it just runs and all you have to do is publish the post, which is not trivial by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not anything you have to go in and update and change directly on your website.

If you win an award. If you launch a new product, I think having an announcement section, you could be a banner across the top of the website or call out section on your homepage as people are scrolling down. I think those are important things to do. Even if you bring on a new staff member, if that person is playing a critical role, that stuff is good to put on the home page.

Don’t expect just because you write press release. Or even put it as people are gonna find it, they’re gonna have to make it easy.

Ian Cantle: For some clients. I need to remind them that no one is going to promote your business more than you are and there’s some very humble business owners out there.

And I understand that cuz I used to be quite sheepish about tooting my horn or in the corporate world, tooting my team’s horn to the rest of the business. But you do learn over time that you are the advocate for your business and nobody else will be a better advocate, as good as your referral partners are and your family.

You need to be putting out that information that if you won an award, if you achieve something, if you produce a new case study, whatever it is, you need to tell the world because probably nobody else will. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah. And put it on your homepage. It’s okay. Ian, let’s talk about a section that I think is missing way, way too many websites, and that’s how you make it easy for people to understand what you want them to do next.

And StoryBrand would call it the process section. Talk about what this section is, and what do you put on there? 

Ian Cantle: I think there needs to be a call to action throughout your website about your process. What I mean by that is you need to have a section that walks people through how they will be transformed by you.

I’ll go into a little bit more detail because for some businesses this can become very complex in their minds, but you need to show your process. We recommend, I think this is true with StoryBrand as well, like never to go over four steps, and if possible, bring it down to three, like your rule of threes, even though that’s very hard for a lot of businesses.

What you want is for the visitor to understand what a clear process of being your customer, your patient, your client, is going to look like. Essentially you’re trying to give them the vehicle to try on what it’s like to work with you. And that can be boiled down very simply to get them from point A to point B, from their pain to their solution, your solution for.

So for many clients, the process we show on the homepage is highly distilled, it’s down to the basics, but then it links to a detailed process page for the visitor that can then click through, so high level on the homepage, more detail if they want to dig deeper into it. And of course, including a video, whether that’s on your homepage or on that process page, can be very powerful. It’s more authentic. You’re walking people through it. 

But here’s an example so people understand what we’re talking about here. This is actually from a real remodeling company that we worked on their website for. That’s step one, step two, step three, step four. So step one is we listen to your vision for your space. So that’s what they do. That step one is we will listen to you. Step two is we prepare a project estimate and a timeline. So we will give you pricing and timing. Step three. We will start your remodeling project and step four, project completion happiness and joy . You get them to that point of transfer transformation and then they can click through to the real deeper process, which then fills in all the blanks, which in this case it’s a residential home remodeling business.

Most homeowners understand that the process is far more detailed than that, and it’s good to have the detail available. Another example is for an orthodontist. Step one is schedule free consultation. Step two is meet the orthodontist and get a custom treatment plan. Step three is start your pain-free teeth straightening plan, and step four is reveal your perfect smile to the world.

Again, you’re trying to get them from where they are today to where they need to go. So show them clearly what it’s like to work together and it will reduce barriers and move them along their buyer’s journey. . So that’s how we approach it. Ken, is that similar to how you guys approach it? It’s very StoryBrandish and Duck Tapeish. 

Yeah. Ours, our approach is very StoryBrand and a lot of people are like, there aren’t three equal steps. It’s like they don’t have to make them. 

Ken Tucker: What you’re trying to do is you’re trying to get people, and the reason I really like I almost always try to stay with three is because if you add that fourth component, you start to add, you decreased decision making back to 5% statistics show you add a fifth, that’s another 5%. So you wanna keep at the highest level. You wanna make it easy for people to understand, okay, all I gotta do is this, then see this, then I’m gonna experience this. And when you can, you know when you can boil it down and simplify it, and you paint that picture, which is what way too many businesses don’t do. A matter of fact, the overwhelming majority of businesses do not do this. Where, okay, how do I get started with these? And if they don’t see that, understand that on your page. It’s critical, I think. 

Ian Cantle: If I can comment. This is a little bit of a contradictory statement , but we like to have those every once in a while cuz we all have different points of view. I would actually say that the rule of three does not apply to this. We use the rule of three for pricing because that is the decision making.

We do not use the rule of three for bullets, for content, for process. Again, because data shows seven bullet points is easily digestible by people, not three. I just wanted to make that clear cuz I wouldn’t want people to misapply the rule of three cuz it really is based on pricing data and how people react to that, that they will more often choose the middle price right over all the other pricing.

Ken Tucker: That’s a good point. 

I do see the process as a decision because what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to get people to take that call to action. And so for me process, I always try to keep it three, no more than four, but I work hard to try to keep it at three just because because it is it truly is getting somebody to take that call to action.

Ian Cantle: I just find it doesn’t give you enough space for transformation. So that’s why we tend to go forward. 

Ken Tucker: But yeah. But but again, not every stage has to be, not every step, not your process has to be the same level or size. 

Ian Cantle: And the point we agree on is that having the process on your homepage is vital. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah, and I also agree three to seven is the ideal thing.

That’s what our human brains can get around. If you’re gonna have points on your, on any of your pages, three to seven is really at that sweet spot. Human beings can process that amount of information when it’s processing information. When you’re expecting decision making, I think you need to try to get it down closer to three if possible.

That’s just my opinion. Paul, let’s talk about what should go in the footer and maybe even what your thoughts are in terms of what should go in the top navigation. We really haven’t talked about that. How should it be laid out on the homepage, and what do you do in addition to just the menu and the footer? To help people be able to navigate through the pages. What are your thoughts on that? 

Paul Barthel: As far as the top navigation, we’ve talked about the scrolling pages, and people are very comfortable scrolling. It used to be that you wanted to put everything you could in the top nav because people didn’t scroll down webpages, and that’s just not the case anymore.

You really want to keep your top navigation as simple as possible. We’ve talked about this a little bit as you  scroll down. Okay. You have your services and those link out to a service page. You have your calls to action spaced down your pages as people scroll. And then in the footer there was, I think it was HubSpot did a study a while back that people actually do look at the footer, because they’re used to scrolling now. So you know some of the things that should go in the footer, definitely your copyright notice should be in there. And your privacy policy, you can put a site map in your footer. You probably want your logo in the footer. Your contact information should definitely be in the footer.

Your social media icons should be in your footer. And that’s something else when we talked about call to action social share icons. That’s a call to action of sort. If you have an email, your email sign up form should be in that footer. Anything that’s not in your top nav or on the pages, you scroll down you want that to be your important stuff. But if there’s other things you want people to know about, put that in the footer navigation. But keep your top navigation simple. 

Ken Tucker: A couple of things there. One is you said the email sign up form, you don’t mean the form, you mean a link to a navigational link in your footer to take people there? Is that what you’re talking about? 

Paul Barthel: If it’s a small form, you can put the form in there, cuz a lot of emails sign up form, it’s just name and email and if that’s all it is, yeah, you can put that in the footer.

Ian Cantle: For newsletter you mean. 

Ken Tucker: Paul, what are you thinking in terms of what the critical elements to go in the top navigation are?

Paul Barthel: Call, book an appointment. Your core services. Your about page, because that’s the thing. The about page is one of the most looked at pages on your website, your phone number, your other call to action, whether it’s book an appointment, or get a free estimate, contact us. Because I really believe in the self booking calendars, but a lot of times when people go to a website, they’re not ready yet.

They just want inform. And maybe they don’t want to talk to anybody yet and they don’t want book an appointment. They just want to get some more information. So that link to the contact form is good. And obviously you want your logo up there in the header. That’s a no brainer to me. But keep it simple cuz like we talked about, people are used to scrolling and if they know how to navigate websites and the most important stuff goes in your header, keep it clean and people can generally find what they need.

Ken Tucker: I don’t know about you, Ian, but I’m a really big fan of a simple top navigation. The best way to get people to take action on your website is to not clutter your top navigation and keep your one or two primary calls to action phone number, and maybe schedule an appointment or estimate or whatever you might call it up there, and then just have the highest level pages that they might go to, but don’t flood your top nav. I think that’s a distraction that hurts conversion and my experience is that people are very accustomed to going to the footer and using it as the resource tool to be like a quick navigational link to go find the content that they’re looking for.

Ian Cantle: Yeah, and just two things. Make sure you’re updating your copyright date, cause everybody can see that. And if it says 2016, everybody thinks your website’s out of date. The second thing is, and this isn’t specific about an area on the homepage, I know we won’t go into detail about this, but you should also consider if you have a way of people acting immediately to chats.

I’m less of a fan of chat bots these days and more of a fan about live chat, chat bots would be my second tier approach. But if you have a way of immediately responding to people, then put a chat bot on your website or a chat function on your website. Because if people are not ready to buy and they’re more comfortable communicating through virtual rather than on the phone. You might get some of your prospects to act in that manner. 

Ken Tucker: Anything you can do to speed the response back from your website, whether it’s a text enabled phone number when they call and you missed the call, send ’em a text message back, whether it’s some kind of a chat widget or a text widget that you put on there that again initiates a conversation and takes it off to that channel. I think that’s a good thing.

I’ve got one more question that Jen has got. So let’s go for that. 

Jen Kelly: This question is what makes a good about page? The about page on your website is about you. It’s about you, the company owner, your team, your business, how you started. It’s a chance for you to tell your story, and that’s what people expect when they come to that about us page.

Who is this company? Who’s running the company? What’s their story? Why did they start? What makes them different? What keeps them going? That kind of thing. So it’s a chance to get a little bit personal. It’s a chance to speak in your own words, a chance to really tell your humble beginnings. Where you came from and how you grew the company and where you’re headed next, the more personal and authentic you can be in the about page and really let folks know what your business is about why you started. Why you keep going. If there was any kind of switches, you started out at a certain kind of business, and now you’ve morphed into what you are today, why you made those transitions, this is the page that you can do it. And when folks click into the about page, they really are trying to find out like, what’s this company about?

Who’s running it? Why do they keep going? Who do they compete with? What’s your story? And so if you can answer that in a compelling way, nine times outta ten, your origin story of your company is gonna be very compelling because most small businesses have a great little story of how they got started and why they’re keeping going.

And so use that about page to really get your voice and share your story. So don’t be shy there and let people know how you started, why you keep going, and why they should do businesses with you. 

Ken Tucker: All right, Paul, Ian, you guys have any thoughts on about pages? 

Ian Cantle: The one thing I would say and I think she covered it in other words, but I would just say share your passion with people.

When I’m interviewing our clients about who they are as a business. When you can draw out the passion of the business owner or the, if it’s a larger business, the personnel, why they do what they do every day, what gets them outta bed, why they love doing it, that can resonate so well with the visitor and create an empathetic reaction, right?

Where you want to create empathy, you want to create a connection and resonate that resonates with your visitors. 

Ken Tucker: This is a huge. Homepage is so critical. We could keep going on and on, but I know we’re at our time limit here, so Paul and Ian any last thoughts or I ideas that you wanna share with folks?

I’ll start. I’ve got one. I don’t think we really talked about this specifically, and that is, having video on your homepage is a really great strategy because it keeps people on your homepage because they watch and consume that video. That’s a strong signal that there’s something meaningful when people are going to your page in the eyes of Google.

So video content is really important if you can get a quality video on your homepage, I think it’s a really smart investment. 

Ian Cantle: This isn’t the topic of today, but I would just add, obviously we as agencies put an awful lot of thought into how and best practices in how we build websites, and I think that differs from a lot of different web designers out there.

Not that they don’t do a great job, but there’s, because we’re coming at it from a strategic marketing stance, I think. It’s really important for the business owner when they’re considering a website redesign or build to thoughtfully approach this and try to find people that will help them achieve that rather than just create a great [00:49:00] looking website that may not perform well. 

Ken Tucker: And that doesn’t really say anything.

Ian Cantle: Yeah, doesn’t differentiate you. Yeah. 

Ken Tucker: Absolutely. All right. Paul, anything? 

Paul Barthel: All I would say, you, and you mentioned this at the beginning, that yes, design is important. Don’t get so hung up on design to the point that you confuse the visitor and they don’t convert. 

Ken Tucker: Absolutely. So with that, we’re gonna wrap this up.

I would encourage everybody, if you like what we’re talking about and the information we’re sharing here. Please go subscribe and write a review for us on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, whatever your podcast platform of choice is. We appreciate your time and investment that you make to listen to this content.

And with that, We’ll talk to you next week. Thanks everybody. 



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