When it comes to choosing a business, consumers want to know that the business they work with has expertise in their field. Think about it: You’re not going to work with a plumber that may or may not know what they’re doing. You’re looking for a solution, not an additional problem (not to mention wasted time and money).
But, how do consumers determine whether or not a business knows what they’re talking about? Word of mouth and reviews are two ways – but what if the consumer just discovered you online?
Your website provides a crucial place for you to showcase your authority and expertise – which, coincidentally – are two components Google looks at when determining which sites to show in search results. So, by increasing your authority and expertise on your website, you can also increase your chances of appearing for relevant search results. (We’d call that a win-win!)
Let’s talk about how you can use your website to boost your authority and what you need to do to get started.
1. Start with a Great Website
Your mom probably told you not to judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest – we’re all guilty of doing just that. And, we bet you’ve been guilty of judging a business by its website, too.
If you visit a website that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2002, is hard to navigate, or doesn’t fit the screen of the device you’re viewing it on, you’re probably going to leave that site pretty quickly, right?
The Space Jam website is still rocking its 1996 design and navigation.
Your website is one of the only places online where you can control every aspect of what consumers see, so you want to make sure they find your website appealing, user-friendly, and can easily find the information they’re looking for.
What Your Website Needs
In order to create a website that consumers (and search engines) love, you need a few things:
- A professional and mobile-friendly or responsive design. Your website should look nice – no matter which device consumers view it on.
- Site security. Consumers and search engines don’t like an unsecured site, which means your site needs to have an SSL certificate to make it an HTTPS site.
- Your contact information. One of the primary goals of your website is probably to encourage consumers to contact you or visit you. So, you need to make sure your phone number and address are displayed prominently and on most (if not all) of your pages.
- Easy site navigation. You want consumers and search engines to easily find the information they’re looking for on your site. This means a clean navigation bar and well-labeled pages.
- A website that supports SEO. SEO and website design are two different things, but they go hand-in-hand. Make sure your web developer designs your website to adhere to SEO best practices.
2. Create an FAQ Page
Now that your website is up to snuff, it’s time to talk content. Content is the foundation of how you can showcase your expertise and authority. But there are many types of content, so let’s start with an easy one: FAQs.
An FAQ page is a great asset for your website because consumers know to look for it, it creates a positive experience for a prospective customer, and it can help you show up in search results for relevant questions.
How to Create an FAQ Page
You might be thinking, “I’d love to create an FAQ page, but how do I get started?”
Great question! And questions are actually how you’re going to get started.
- Think about what your customers typically ask you or your employees. If you don’t know or can’t think of any off the top of your head – ask your employees what questions they usually answer.
- Ask your employees to add questions they’re receiving on products to some sort of database so you can go back over time and easily update your FAQ page.
- Consider asking some of your trusted customers what questions they’ve had about your business, your products, or your services.
- You can also include answers to questions that you want consumers to know about your business.
When our events team created FAQs for our Growth Lab live events (pre-pandemic, of course), they referenced previous email responses they received as well as questions they heard at the live events. They also included information they thought attendees might be interested in asking but probably wouldn’t – like if we were going to try to sell them something (spoiler: we don’t!).
Once you have a list of questions compiled, it’s time to create the answers. Keep them concise and to the point, but make sure they include enough details to show you know what you’re talking about.
Think about other content you might already have that can answer these questions in-depth, too. For example, keeping with the plumbing example, you might have some videos on how to tighten a valve that you could link to in an answer to the question “What do I do if my sink is dripping?”
Your FAQ should be created in service of your customers, but it’s also a great place to showcase your experience, willingness to serve as a resource, and general information you want consumers to know about your business.
3. Determine Whether or Not a Blog Will Work for You
While an FAQ page is great, it’s not a place for you to continually create relevant content for your industry. That’s where a blog comes in. A blog is a place where you or your team members can create content that really shows your expertise and authority. You can provide blog content in the form of tips, how-to’s, general information, and more. But a blog isn’t right for everyone.
How to Tell if a Blog is Right for My Business
A blog might be a good fit for your business if:
- You or your employees have writing skills and can create regular and relevant content for your industry.
- You have enough content or ideas to publish on your blog at least once a week.
- Your website has blog capabilities.
- You have a basic knowledge of SEO.
- You’re working with a marketing partner who can handle the blog for you, and you want a way to create content that connects with consumers and shows your expertise.
This plumbing site has a blog that provides helpful and educational content for customers and prospects.
If you do create a blog, make sure you include author information with your content so readers know it’s written by a trustworthy expert.
4. Tie in Your Social Media Pages
If you have an active social media presence where you’re sharing relevant information, you can use that to your advantage on your website by adding a social media feed. This is also a great option if a blog isn’t a fit for your business right now, but you still want to show consumers that you know what’s going on in your industry.
What Type of Content to Share on Social
If you haven’t kicked off a robust social media strategy yet or if you aren’t sure what type of content to post on your social media pages, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
Make sure the content you share is:
- Relevant to your industry, your location, or your brand. You want to share content that aligns with your business that your customers and prospective customers would find useful. It probably doesn’t make sense for your business to share the latest meme unless it somehow relates to your industry. (Or if you make one that fits with your brand and tone.)
- Trustworthy. If you’re sharing content from an outside source, make sure it’s accurate and trustworthy. If you’re a plumber, you might share content from Home Depot or a well-known association. You don’t want to share content that’s misleading or misguided.
- Interesting. Not all your content has to be serious – unless your brand tone is more subdued. You can find fun or entertaining content to share to engage consumers on your social pages. Think Buzzfeed lists about home renovations gone wrong, videos from YouTube of how not to fix a sink, or even user-generated content from people who have had a plumbing mishap they’re laughing about. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Once your social media profiles are a resource for your consumers, you can feature them on your website as another source for web visitors to find valuable information about and from your business.
5. Include Testimonials or Reviews
Like we talked about earlier, reviews and testimonials are two ways consumers can determine whether or not you know what you’re doing – so why not include them on your website? A good testimonial from a current customer that you’re able to feature on your site can go a long way in showing consumers how great you are.
This gym includes testimonials from members on its website.
How to Create Testimonials for Your Site
There are many different ways to create customer testimonials or case studies for your business. You can use videos, quotes, or short write-ups. Determine the best approach for your business, and then find a few happy customers you think would be willing to participate. Make sure they know where their testimonial is going and get a signed consent form if needed.
Here’s the easiest way to include testimonials on your site:
- Email or call your top five customers and ask them if they’d be willing to provide a quote for your website about their experience with you.
- Ask them to send a photo you can include.
- Add the quote, photo, and their name to your website, and then share it out on social media.
Boom! You just got five testimonials for your site. If you do that every month or every other month, you can easily build up a great source of reviews for consumers to check out on your website.
Bonus: Show Yourself
It’s easier for consumers to connect with your business when they know about the person behind the mask. An About Us page on your website that includes pictures and bios of you and your employees provides an extra way to show consumers your credentials and establish you as an industry leader.
If they’re searching for a plumber and see that you and your team have a combined 100 years of experience with multiple certifications and awards, they might decide to do business with you rather than the no-name plumber down the road.
This plumbing business boosts their authority and credibility by noting they’ve been in business for over 25 years.
Start Building Authority with Your Website
Your website is your place to showcase your business and why consumers should choose you over the competition. By creating content that builds trust, educates your audience, and is optimized for local SEO, you can increase your chances of ranking on Google and getting new customers in the door.