How does your staffing firm see its website? Have you ever really put much thought into it?
Each business looks at their website differently. Some see their website like an online brochure. These sites are typically not very interesting and lack any interactive value. Other businesses see their website as a place to show off their development and design chops, often times going overboard on cool features that produce very little value. And sadly, some businesses see their website as a dumping ground for every piece of information they have about their business (and on the home page above the fold no less). The sites simply cause confusion and turn users away.
I’d like to make a suggestion on how your staffing company should view its website. I suggest you look at your website as if it were a person. A very important person you’ve hired to do a job. Start by asking yourself, what job do you want your website to do?
- Bring in more leads?
- Attract more candidates?
- Address customer service issues?
- Educate your clients?
You might have a few jobs you want the website to perform. That’s fine, just don’t give these jobs equal weight. Prioritize each jobs and focus on the single most important job first. This will help you start to see your website as a functioning member of your team that is expected to produce results.
Keep in mind that no matter what job you hire your website to do it will always have one very important role it cannot escape – the role of being the most customer facing representation of your business and your brand there is. YIKES! Sounds like an important job right? That’s because it is.
In most cases, when a potential customer or candidate sees your website for the first time they will summarize their overall impression with your company and services in less than 8 seconds. When customers sum you up, what do you want their initial summary of your company to be?
- That you’re creative?
The key here is to first identify the job you’ve hired your website to do and how you want it to best represent your brand, and the services you deliver. Once you know how your website should represent your company, it’s time to develop your new site.
Here are three tips for creating a website that will do the job you hired it for.
Keep it simple. Simple isn’t boring. Simple is beautiful and simple is useful. Avoid adding things to your website simply because you think they should be there or because you like them, and don’t over design features just because you have the skill to make something snazzy. The most important thing to do is make something simple that is clear to your customers and drives results. First be clear, then be clever.
A good way to keep things simple to limit the number of pages on your website. No staffing company in business today needs a website that is more than 5 – 10 pages, yet most have at least 10x that number of pages. The truth is you’re building these additional pages for you, not your customers. Why? Because your customers are not reading these pages. People are busy and they simply don’t have the time it would require of them to wade through the 1000’s of words you have written across numerous pages. Customers want to understand what you do, get a sense of trust that you will do what you say you will do, and then know how to get a hold of you. That’s it. Everything else is filler.
If you do need additional pages then design to have those pages be discovered through a secondary means. This means through a blog, separate landing pages or secondary site menus. But keep them out of the way from distracting new, fist time potential customers.
It has to be useful. Everything you add to your website should be useful or else it doesn’t belong. One way to ensure your website is useful is to not overwhelm your visitors with options and information. You know that feeling you get when you head to the cereal isle to find Cheerios but when you get there you can’t find the Cheerios because you’re so overwhelmed with other options? Avoid that.
For example, I recently signed up for a blogging service website that was so full of ‘helpful features’ that I couldn’t figure out how to get started. After several attempts I eventually gave up and cancelled the service. Upon doing so I received an email from them that said “Sometimes people tell us they don’t know where to start with our website. That’s because it has so many unique features!” Perhaps, but all their ‘unique features’ lost me. Further, if they’re sending out an email with this message I’m guessing I’m not the only one having this experience.
Make it creative. Start with simple and useful. However, if you really want to stand out from your competition and really WOW your customers then you have to get creative. What’s it mean to be creative? Well, that’s a bit more of a subjective answer. Creativity takes time and iteration to develop. But it’s well worth the effort and investment.
Creative websites come in many forms. For example, come up with a completely original layout. Or, take what you’re building for your next social media campaign and make it your website instead. The point is to break away from safe, break away from tradition and really try something new.
In summary, don’t set your website up for failure. Just like any employee, make sure your website understands the job it’s supposed to do and is given the tools it needs to succeed. If you do this, your website just might earn a well deserved raise or promotion!