Well if you don’t, you really should! Now bear with me on this train of thought…

There’s a small independent retail toy shop near my home that I regularly walk past. I am always really impressed by just how well the staff ‘dress’ the windows each season or tie in with key events and dates. I particularly loved their recent 6 Nations window and their current Spring theme (it was sleeting yesterday – they might be a bit premature with Spring!).

Retail shop window - 6 NationsYour prime online real estate!

This shop is rightly aware that their window is prime real estate for the business. Dress it once and make minor changes once in a while – or maybe none at all – and you can guarantee that people will walk past without noticing. Make a statement and a splash with a fresh display and heads will turn. Rugby may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the important thing is that change will attract attention, it will register in the brain and create greater awareness generally. And one day someone who noticed a Welsh flag one week will also notice the push-along horse on display a few weeks later – and that would make a perfect gift for their nephew’s birthday.

Now why am I banging on about retailers and shop window displays? Have I finally lost the ‘marketing’ plot?! No, because the Home page of your website is your online shop window. And because this particular business is working hard to engage with customers, thinking about what customers might be looking for or what might kickstart a compulsion to browse and buy.

Retail shop window - Spring

Apply that thinking to your own website…

Did you pat yourself on the back for a job well done and breathe a sigh of relief when your website first launched? How much work have you done on it since? Has the home page changed at all – ever? I meet so many small business owners who treat their websites as a one-off exercise (take a look at a previous article I have built a website and customers will cometh for more on that particular point) and believe that an online ‘presence’ is all that is required. It’s really not. Your website is like a living creature that needs to be constantly fed and cared for, if it is to do everything you want it to do. And that means regular updates – critical in particular if yours is an ecommerce business.

What can you do to make your Home page work harder for you?

  • Sit down and plan for the next 3-6 months – Think of suitable promotions and content and then create a series of messages that will reflect this on your home page.
  • Tap into key seasonal buying dates and events – from Christmas to Summer, from Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day, not to mention big sporting events such as Wimbledon fortnight or the forthcoming Commonwealth Games. With a little imagination, you can link promotions to all sorts of dates.
  • Create eye-catching visuals and establish a consistent identity that will become recognisably yours over time. You don’t have to be a design guru to do this (nor do you necessarily have to pay for the services of someone who is!), sites like PicMonkey are free to use and a great tool for creating imagery and graphics.
  • Don’t forget to tie in your promotions with your social media activity to drive traffic back to your website. Create versions of your Home page graphics to a size suitable for social media and to create synergy between all your marketing channels.

If you’ve got any other tips do please share them. I’d love to hear them.

PS And remember that not only will your website visitors love fresh, engaging content – so does Google!