Your goal is to earn a second date. Four steps to make sure they come back for more.

If on a first date you tried to reveal your entire history and how you became the person you are today, your date would bolt. Same goes for your website.

You should approach your website the same way you approach that initial dinner conversation. Don’t think of the site as a place to give your entire spiel. This is the place people are coming to get to know you, see what you are about and determine if they would like to get to know your brand better.

Creating the right website can be one of the hardest things a company has to do.There are so many internal audiences to please, so many products and services to feature and so much to say about the brand. So how do you get all of this across without overwhelming your audience?Like any first date, apply a few simple rules that will hopefully turn this date into many more.

Make a great first impression.

We all know how important this is in life, and it is equally important on the web. Your visitors are going to judge you more on what they see in the first few seconds than on the actual content on your site as a whole. In fact, without a good first impression they are unlikely to actually experience your content at all. If you see high bounce rates, view your site through the eyes of your target. Are you targeting a younger audience with a site filled with text, or a high-tech consumer with a site that looks like it was built in the 80’s? Then you’ve got a problem that no amount of content can overcome.

Believe it or not, even a slick site design can send the wrong signal, if your customers are less tech savvy and just looking for a good deal. They will see dollars signs and think this date is a bad match.

Make the most of the time you have.

We’ve all been on that date from hell. After your date spends two hours talking non-stop about themselves, you think that a night at home with reality TV would have been better. It’s not fun at dinner, and it’s not fun on your site, either. People want to learn about your company, but most important they want to know what your company can do for them. Use consultative tools to ask questions and provide solutions based on customer needs. Engage them in a dialog rather than an information dump. They should feel that there was value in the time they spent with you.

Earn a second date.

No matter how interesting you may be, nobody wants to hear your entire life story the first time they meet you. But they do want to feel like it’s worth investing additional time. Make sure your site provides easy, seamless access to the important information about you. At the same time, make it very clear that there is far more depth to your story and your site that is worth returning to.

Everyone digests information differently, so have something for everyone: case studies and interviews for those who love video, whitepapers for people who love to read, and interactive demonstrations for those who love to play with gadgets. The goal is less about driving them to use all of this the first time they visit but to give them reasons to return once they feel they want to get to know you better.

Turn the date into a relationship. 

So you’ve had a great dinner, the chemistry seems right and then as the date ends they ask you to call them–over and over. Pushiness leaves a bad taste. So make sure your site sells without overselling. Make it easy for your visitors to engage you on their terms with many ways to reach out–click-to-chat, 800 numbers and a range of social media. These should be very prominent and easy to find, but not forced down their throat. Many sites have started to incorporate the proactive pop-up chat offer, but make sure you’re offering to help, not just to close the deal.

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