Your website is your opportunity to communicate directly with customers, clients, suppliers and partners. The visual appearance of the site and the content that it contains are the most direct way that you can speak to anyone interested in working with your company. It is also the foundation for your marketing and your brand presence online.
If your website doesn’t show off your business in a positive light, it is not only going to make it challenging for you to gain new customers, it can also leave your team feeling underappreciated.
Focusing on a more personal element to your website is the right way to move forward, and moving away from that more impersonal ‘corporate’ style site can do wonders for your business. But how exactly do you implement this practically? Here we take a look at some of the best strategies that your company can use to humanize your website.
Avoid stock photos at all costs
One of the major issues causing company websites to look cold and corporate is the overuse of stock images. Stock photos might look more professional than those you can take on your camera phone and they can lend credence to a small business that is just starting out. But, having these images lingering on sites can leave it feeling corporate, less personal and unrealistic.
It’s a much better idea to take your own images. This is clearly a good option for companies producing products, but it can also be effective for service-based businesses too.
There are still many businesses that are put off providing their own product or incidental photography because of the perceived high cost of camera equipment. Yet this isn’t the right way to think about it. Of course there are some initial outlays to investing in high quality in-house images, but they have so many advantages compared to stock photos it is really worth doing.
It should be pointed out that equipment costs don’t have to be as expensive as they used to be. It is now possible to spread out payments from more costly equipment by using services which utilize so-called ‘buy now, pay later’ companies, such as Klarna and Affirm. For businesses keen to follow the sustainability route, another option is trading in used equipment to get money off a new purchase – many camera specialists offer this.
Speak like a human
It is still extremely common for small businesses to have websites that use a very corporate writing style. Being formal and professional can be appropriate in some settings, but it is no longer the case that all companies need to present themselves in this manner, especially if it does not necessarily suit the target market and industry.
Of course, it won’t suit every business to be extremely conversational and loaded up with jargon and many professional writers prefer to think in terms of ‘business casual’ as the standard preferred style. However, again this will depend on the specifics of the business and what works with your audience.
Focus on community
One of the most fundamental ways to humanize your website is to install a sense of community with your customers. The benefits of building a community amongst your customers are well established.
“As a part of your community, members feel more emotionally connected to your brand,” says Rachel Burns, writing for Podia “and when people feel connected, they’re more likely to recommend your brand and products to others.”
Companies are still regularly using social media platforms for their community building, but actually it can be beneficial to do a lot of that work yourself to optimize the business success of a site. This can be done by making use of user-generated content.