Home base is not just for baseball fields or playing tag. Whether or not your business has a brick and mortar location, your website is your face to the world — the first stop for people to discover you or drop by. Unfortunately, even today, too many businesses believe that a static placeholder page or a website that hasn’t been touched in years is fine. These people are wrong. They’re hurting their business and they’re making the Internet suck.
Why is it important to have a functional and well-designed home base?
* You’d like people to know who you are and what you do
That’s kind of the point of being in business, right? I mean, if no one knows who you are or what you do, your business isn’t exactly going to be a screaming success. Your home page is like the receptionist of your business. If you found an intriguing business, walked into the office and asked the receptionist, “What is this business? What do you do here?” And he or she said, “Back in 1992, Bob and Shelley realized that people were living without help in their small businesses so they decided to start this business to help small business owners with administrative and bookkeeping…” You already turned around and walked out the door when the words, “Back in 1992…” were spoken. Blah, blah, blah, too much information, didn’t answer the question and I have no idea what’s in it for me.
On the other hand, if you’d asked the receptionist and he or she said, “ABC Office provides affordable, professional administrative and bookkeeping to small business owners. We’re good at organization and numbers, so you can be good at your business.” You’d know right away if ABC Office was something that solved a problem for you and you’d want to know more.
* You’d like people to *care* who you are and what you do
It’s not enough that people know who you are and what you do. Yes, that information is vital, but you need to let potential customers know what’s in it for them. A clear presentation of your value proposition will let them know you understand their problem and you can make that problem go away with your product or service. Absolutely make your “About Us” page an amazing, compelling story, but if you can’t clearly tell people how you’ll help them, they won’t really care about who you are.
* You’d like people to try or buy or contact you (or take some other action that helps you make money)
Home base is action-oriented. When you’re playing baseball, your goal is to cross home base. When you’re in a game of tag, you run to home base to be safe from “it.” You need your website to provide clear calls to action using the tone and wording that will resonate with your audience. If you have a nonprofit organization and your goal is to get people to donate, you should give them every opportunity to donate without being too salesy or too emotionally manipulative. If that organization’s website just presents a long story about the inspiration behind the organization, no one is going to make it to the “donate now” button at the bottom of the page.
* You’d like people to find you in the first place
If you’ve hidden home base, no one is ever going to get that home run. And if home base hasn’t been touched in 15 years and is covered with branches and spiders, no one wants to touch the thing. Same deal with your website. If your site hasn’t been updated in years, people will think you’re out of business. When you’ve got quality website content, you can organically incorporate keywords that will help search engines find you (which, in turn, will help humans find you). Keeping a blog is an easy way to keep your website updated, share your stories and expertise and make your site keyword-rich to help get you a higher search rank.
Take care of your website. Make sure your home base is functional, useful for your current and future customers and helps your business. Not sure how your site stacks up? Need suggestions to improve your home base? Contact me at Lynne (at) SocialVisibilityConsulting.com. I’m here to help.