However, many websites stick to a sort of cookie-cutter design that’s perfectly functional but not very interesting or personal. When was the last time you really looked at your website, as though you were a first-time visitor and potential client? How does yours look and feel compared to others? In a sea of websites, what makes consumers feel connected to yours?
WHY IS HUMANIZING YOUR WEBSITE IMPORTANT?The Internet has changed our world quickly and dramatically. It’s also changed the way we conduct business. We rely less on face-to-face introductions, and instead look to search engines to tell us where we should spend our money and efforts. While this saves us time, it lacks a certain human component.
Consumers still want a peek at the person behind the business being advertised. Do they really exist? Is it a legitimate business? What do they have in common with us?
Humanizing your website reassures consumers that you’re indeed real, trustworthy and someone with whom they’d like to do business. Good websites (those that provide necessary information as well as some humanization aspect) typically provide the following:
A virtual workplace tour or invitation to “stop by.”
An “About Us/Me” page with history and owner bio(s).
Consumer testimonials.These are all steps in the right direction. But we want to take your website from good to great, creating not just an online identity but a real personality that resonates with your client, making them feel connected to you both individually and on-screen.
BUILDING AN ONLINE PERSONALITYOnce you have the basics of your website down, it’s time to add human elements. Here are some tips to get you started:
1 APPEAL TO EMOTIONS.An “About Us” page is a good starting point. Sharing a video or personal stories allows you to connect further with audience members through common interests (they already have an interest in what your business represents if they’re visiting your website). Expand on that interest by talking about how you started your business, how it’s grown or how you want it to grow, how you interact with clients and why you’re passionate about your business.
2 RESPOND TO YOUR READERS.Take the time to see what’s being said on social media and respond in a professional, thoughtful way, keeping track of which pages or articles are getting the most views and what your audience might be saying to you directly. If someone asks a question, go the extra mile to reach out to that person directly. If they email you or fill out a “Contact Us” form, respond to them within 24 hours. Or, if resources are available, consider a live chat format.
3 OFFER A NO-EXCUSES GUARANTEE.Starbucks is famous for their version of this guarantee: “Your drink should be perfect, every time. If not, let us know and we’ll make it right.” It tells the client in advance that they’ll be happy with their purchase, no matter what.
4 BLOG REGULARLY AND CONSISTENTLY.Blogs can show your fun (or serious) side, and they allow you to express your thoughts and feelings about industry happenings. However, there are a lot of mediocre blogs that are slapped together for the sake of getting something—anything—“out there” in the hopes of improving search engine results.
While Google and other search engines might appreciate your efforts, you probably won’t attract a regular or loyal reader (a.k.a. potential client), and isn’t that the point? A blog doesn’t have to be lengthy or complicated but it should be interesting, relevant, edited and spell-checked. It should be 300 to 600 words. If you have permission, let your reader know when your latest blog is available by email, Twitter or text.