All first-year journalism students have this fact drilled into their heads: Every story you write must answer the following questions within the first paragraph, if not the first sentence:
Who? What? Where? When? Why?
We’re trained to answer all the major questions readers will have in the shortest amount of space possible. Why? Because readers skim.
People also skim on the web. Does your website answer all the major questions they’ll have? Take a page out of the journalist’s book, and make sure you answer these questions on your home page:
Who are you? And more importantly, who do you do business with? If you create education products for K-12 instructors, then you don’t want copy that targets doctors and lawyers. Make it clear up-front who you are and who your audience is. You want your copy to target potential buyers, not “everybody.”
What do you do? If people aren’t clear about what service or product it is that you provide, then how are they to know if they even need it? What’s in it for them?
This is one of the most important things for a website to answer, and it should be on the very front page, where it’s easiest for people to see.
Where are you located? Where do you do business? If you’re an exclusively local company based in Georgia, it’s not going to do you any good to attract clients in Timbuktu. Make sure people know where you operate.
When are you open (if you have a brick-and-mortar store in addition to your website)? When can people contact you? Do you have special discounts, seasonal products, events, or training sessions coming up? All this information should be on your home page.
This question is the granddaddy of them all, because every person is going to ask it at least once. Why should they go with you? Why are you the perfect match for them?
Why are you so special?
Online, you’ve got a lot of competition. Make sure people know what it is that has you standing head and shoulders above everybody else, whether it’s your eco-consciousness, your obsessive attention to detail, your timeliness, or your sheer amount of experience in the industry.
Bonus Question: How?
How do you do what you do? Give people a little insight into your work process, and you’d be surprised at how that bit of transparency can make them feel more connected to you.
If you can answer these major questions effectively on your website, you’ll make a much greater impact on potential customers. They’ll know immediately if you’re the company for them.
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Picture by Marco Bellucci