If your business is growing and evolving, so should your website. A website directly reflects your brand, products, services and offerings. It’s often how new customers find you and how current customers stay connected, engaged and updated.
Many business owners shy away from improving their website because they fear technology. Thankfully, refreshing a website is easier and less involved than a website redesign, so almost anyone can do it with a little time and patience. Plus, it’s inexpensive compared with a website redesign or overhaul. As long as your current website is reliable and fully functional, you can keep its original structure and update the site’s elements and appearance to better connect with customers and increase conversion rates.
A little TLC can go a long way. Use these five tips to make subtle yet effective improvements.
First and foremost, websites must be easy to use and navigate. People visit websites to find information, so finding that information must be intuitive. Slight changes to your menu, layout and buttons can improve usability by helping website visitors quickly access information. Your website links should also work throughout by taking customers to relevant information, not outdated error pages. Broken links and information dead ends make your website look outdated and sloppy. Comb through your site page by page to ensure links work, images appear correctly and the flow of information makes sense. Also consider asking an outsider to comb through your website and share their feedback. Your closeness and familiarity with your website might blind you to simple edits that could be made to improve navigation and function.
Make sure your images showcase your store, your range, your classes and your clientele. Photo Credit: Music City Archery
Make your website more modern by sprucing up the look and tone. Update images so they’re original, engaging and crystal clear. Use photos of real customers and your staff interacting with them. Collectively, all the images on your website should work as a virtual still-image tour of your business and what customers can expect when they walk through the doors. Make sure your images represent people of different ages, genders and ethnicities. By representing various types of people on your website, you make archery and bowhunting more inclusive.
At the same time, make sure the text on your website, including service explanations and product features, is free of jargon and easy to understand. Remember, less is more. Try not to write long, wordy sentences. Stick to the basics and encourage folks to reach out for more information or if they have questions.
Research shows that what you say matters. Individual words and phrases can affect how people perceive archery and bowhunting. Most longtime archers will likely understand archery terms and nuances, but newcomers won’t. Provide definitions and use words and phrases that resonate with customers without confusing them. In other words, use proper keywords. “Keywords” are the words and phrases in your website’s content that help people find your site using search engines. Keywords also improve your search engine optimization, or SEO, ranking. The more keywords your website has that match the search terms used by people looking for information, the higher your webpage or website will appear in the search results. Click here to learn a few SEO best practices. Then, read ATA’s article “Keywords That Hook and Resonate with Newcomers” to see what terms to use.
Consider adding a blog to your site and update it with new and engaging topics. Photo Credit: Lancaster Archery Supply
Old content is like old bread; it’s stale and unappetizing. Don’t give your website visitors croutons; give them fresh content. Add articles and information that provide entertainment or education. Make sure the information is timely and relevant for the time of year or issues your customers might face. Posting content regularly can also improve your SEO ranking, which helps attract newcomers looking for archery information.
The ATA has you covered if you don’t have time to create new content. The ATA’s Archery 360 and Bowhunters United widgets help members populate their websites with fresh, unique archery and bowhunting content that attracts and engages new customers. Add the HTML code to your website to install the widget. Then, you’ll automatically post two or three articles weekly to your website without lifting a finger! Click here for the Archery 360 widget installation instructions. The Bowhunters United widget is under construction, but it should be available next month. Stay tuned.
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Have your costs increased in the last year or two? If so, double-check that your website reflects those changes. If your prices haven’t increased, you might want to evaluate profit margins to make sure you’re still in the green. While you’re at it, confirm your hours, address and phone number are accurate to make sure customers can easily find you.
It’s best to refresh your “About Us” page, too. Most business owners share how and when the business was founded but neglect to share current details and happenings. For example, if someone on staff received an award or earned a certification, it’s good to include those accomplishments in the section. An up-to-date business story shows you’re moving forward and staying active in your line of work. If you don’t have your business story posted anywhere, now’s a good time to add it. People love stories and want to know the motivation and history behind your brand’s creation. You can also weave customer stories and testimonials throughout your website to inspire and encourage others.
Understand that different customers want different things from your website. To better connect to and relate with your customers, ask them how you can improve. They might have simple ideas you can incorporate immediately. You can ask customers for their thoughts and feedback during the checkout process, in an online survey or through an email campaign. Don’t pass up an opportunity to gather intel. Always ask customers about their online user experience and what information they’d like to see on your website. Then, incorporate their ideas the best you can to show you’re listening and care about their requests.
It’s best practice to refresh your website annually. However, if you consistently run into issues and it becomes overwhelming to patch, repair and update your website, it’s probably time to redesign it. Work with a MyATA service provider for additional help and support.