websiteWorking on the lead generation team at Intronis, I look at dozens of MSP websites every day, and I have seen some of the best MSP websites—and some of the worst. Whether they’re too dense with text or so vague you can’t tell what the company is offering, I’ve seen it all.

That’s why when I read The Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior by Shlomo Benartzi recently, it made me think how beneficial the book could be for MSPs. Using numerous studies, Benartzi illustrates how companies can use technology to their advantage.

Here are five tips from The Smarter Screen that can help IT service providers take their website from good to great.

1. Relevance is key

The average viewer spends less than 15 seconds reading an article, so when you’re creating your website or writing a blog post, you need to have a clear message or goal in mind. Shlomo suggests that because viewers are spending such a short amount of time assessing the website they’re simply reacting to their first impression of what they see. So making a good first impression is key.

For IT service providers, this means you should focus on explaining your IT services in a straightforward way instead of fluffing up your home page with unnecessary text. Keep your content clear and relevant. For example, I have come across multiple websites for IT service providers that prominently feature their furry best friends instead of highlighting their services. You don’t want to be remembered as the IT service provider that loves their pet. You want to be remembered for the services you offer and the helpful information you provide.

2. Say more with less

When designing a website, it’s easy to go into great detail about what your company does and what you hope to achieve. However, because the average viewer spends such a short amount of time reading an article, you want to make sure you can hold their attention. A simple homepage with links and pictures is sometimes more effective than a dense homepage full of text.

In the book, Benartzi highlights a study done by Kathrina Reinecke. She discovered that the sites that resonated most with users had a unique balance of simplicity and complexity. The website needs to be complex enough to convey the message fully but simple enough that readers quickly understand what the company is selling. Bottom line, keep it simple. If your website is easier to navigate, your customers will have a better experience.

3. Know your target audience

Understanding your target audience is extremely important because different sites appeal to different crowds. One of the studies Benartzi cites in the book demonstrates how different genders and age groups are drawn to different web designs. Participants older than 40 were drawn to more complex sites that tended to be descriptive and have a subdued color scheme. Women preferred pastels or homogenous color schemes, and men were drawn to primary colors on a white background.

When you are developing the website for your IT services business, keep your target market in mind. Just because you love neon green doesn’t mean your customers will enjoy reading it on a white background. Color matters, but you don’t need to go overboard and use a bunch of different colors. Create a cohesive look and color scheme for your site and carry it throughout.

4. Highlight your main services

Websites have blind spots, so every inch is not created equal. Our eyes are drawn toward the center of a web page, and we tend to miss what’s on the edges. In The Smarter Screen, Benartzi shows that when you place things in the center of the page, your audience is more likely to click on it. As an IT service provider, knowing where your audience will look and where they won’t can help you to promote your most popular services or highlight a new offering.

Blind spots influence menu options as well. Although it may be easier to put a menu listing all your services down the side of your home page, according to the book, icons can be a better way to go. Placing clickable icons in the middle of the screen showing what services you offer will attract more attention, whereas lists are more likely to be skimmed—and forgotten.

Overall, The Smarter Screen shows how little improvements to your website can make a big difference, and as an MSP, you can use these ideas to make your website go from good to great.

The Smarter Screen

Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior

By Shlomo Benartzi with Jonah Lehrer

248 pages. Penguin Random House LLC. $18.19

Have suggestions for what we should read next? Tell us which book we should read next on our MSP bookshelf.

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Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is an Editorial Associate at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda. In this position, she creates and develops content that helps managed service providers grow their business. She also regularly writes The MSP’s Bookshelf and our Ask an MSP Expert column.

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