Website design is a key part of your online presence. You don’t get second chances at first impressions, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. Looks aside, why is your website so important? What makes one website better than another? How can you improve your current website? We’re here to answer these questions and give you some insights regarding the importance of your website as it relates to digital marketing.

Marketing Tool: First and foremost, your website is a marketing tool. When a user visits website, it’s usually because they are interested in your products or services. How you engage with first-time visitors, capture their attention and begin to develop a relationship is critical. Everyone knows that marketing is about delivering the right message to the right person at the right time; and there is no place more important to practice this than your website. Make sure that your website has an attractive and correctly branded design, uses clear and engaging language, and navigation that allows visitors to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Make your unique selling proposition known early, above the fold on your home page and landing pages so that visitors know how you are unique and better than competing companies.

 

Website design: Good web design goes far beyond aesthetics. Yes, a great looking website helps glue visitors to your site but what else do you need to think about? Website load speed is very important for SEO and for a positive user experience, especially if you’re sending traffic from a paid search campaign. Even a slight delay will cause many visitors to turn tail. We all know mobile friendly is important but considering that around 60-70% of all traffic is now mobile, it should now be your primary focus with desktop design being secondary. Fast mobile is critical for SEO and an attractive, easily navigated site will reduce bounce rates. Remember, the [back] button is just a finger’s flick away. What about content? Again, good content with appropriate keyword density improves natural rank and interesting content with compelling calls to action encourage visitor engagement and lead generation.

 

Engagement and Lead Generation Tools: When a customer arrives on your site, what are some ways your can improve their experience? How are you going to cater to their needs, and make their online interaction with your brand memorable? Some examples of great engagement tools include live appointment scheduling, live chat, free e-book downloads, and pop-up forms/leadflows. If unfamiliar with these tools or how they work, don’t worry, we’re about to dive in! Live appointment scheduling is a great tool that allows visitors to book appointments with you without having to call. The “appointments” can be calls, visits, webinars, tours, etc. You set the times you are available and prospects can book time with you at their own convenience. Appointment scheduling can integrate with your Outlook or Google Calendar or you can create a new calendar. Live chat is an amazing tool that can either be manual (live) or automated via chatbots. Chat is especially effective in competitive industries where prospects to bounce in and out of websites, looking for the best solution. It also works in industries involving more complex products or services, or those involving long sales cycles so that customers may ask questions or get assistance from an expert. Offering free e-books or downloads is another way to provide value to website visitors. They also build you up as a trustworthy authority in your field. Website pop-up forms and leadflows are another great tool you can use to capture leads at a higher rate then your competitors. During the time you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve probably seen the pop-up form on our website inviting you to join our monthly newsletter. Give it a try and let us know what you think! Pop-up forms are also useful for presenting an offer in front of prospects or customers while they’re browsing your website. Sales, special offers and notifications about upcoming events all work well. The beauty of pop-up forms/leadflows is that they are completely customize-able.

 

Landing Page Testing: Even if you’ve done a great job on your website, it’s still important to test what’s working best to convert customers. Your home page or landing pages are the first thing visitors see when they arrive on your website. Landing pages are especially important for paid traffic both because 1) paid search visitors are more fickle or flaky than those who arrive organically and 2) you are paying for those visits. Testing landing page performance can be difficult without the right tools …which is why Google Analytics is so valuable. Google Analytics allows you to evaluate what happens after the click from all sources of website visits. It tells you where your website visitors are coming from, what pages they view, how long they spend on your site, whether or not they become a lead and, where they leave your site. More advanced tools like heat maps show where the visitors tend to place their cursors on the screen so you can see what they are interested in, and what they tend to avoid. These analytical tools will help you test various landing pages and elements of landing pages such as design, graphics, copy, titles, calls to action and more. Testing landing pages side by side gives you insights into what is connecting with your prospective clients and what is driving lead and sales conversions.

 

Site-Map: One crucial element of a website is a site-map. Think of it as a tree that shows the organization and flow of your site. The homepage is the trunk that holds it all together, with branches containing the major navigation to services, about us, contact us, etc, followed by the leaves which you can think of as content on each page. It’s up to you to create a site-map that guides the user to where they want to go, even if they may be unaware of it. Without knowing it, website visitors are controlled by the website’s site-map. Something as simple as a well organized site-map can direct visitors to visit pages you’d like them to see and take actions that lead them to engage and convert. When building or redoing your website, create a site-map that illustrates the top-level pages, sub-pages and what the ideal user experience or path should be.

 

Conclusion: Your website should be simple, attractive and to the point. Too many links or images can be confusing and too much copy, boring. Make sure your site leads visitors to goals. If you’re an established business, you probably have a website …but is it great? Use these tips to help you improve your website design, usability, and most importantly, it’s effectiveness as a marketing tool that converts visitors into leads and leads into customers. If you would like a free evaluation of your website and some quick and simple tips and ideas to improve it’s impact on your digital marketing performance, give us a call at 203-682-4585 and speak with one of our experts (not a hard-hitting salesperson). If you’d like to get monthly tips on the latest and greatest tactics in digital marketing to help grow your business, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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