Website Design Guide

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    Understand The Purpose of Your Website

    People build websites for many different reasons.  If you're like most business owners, you want your website to drive sales and help grow your business.

    Your website is one of the most important tools in your marketing toolbox.  Not only is it your little corner of the internet, it's the anchor for everything you do online. 

    That being said, you don't get points just because you have one.  Just like any other tool, it only works if you use it.

    If you want your website to generate leads, you need to include features that get visitors to take an action.  Just browsing doesn't help you very much.

    If brand awareness is your goal, your site should include features that introduce visitors to relevant information about your company, its mission and your product offerings.

    Whether you use your site for lead generation, brand awareness or some other objective, format it to match your objective.  If it doesn't, you'll find that all you have is just another business expense.

    The purpose of this guide is to give you the “why” behind the “what.”  That is, to help you understand how a website does what it does to align with your business goals. 

    We'll point out basic fundamentals that make the difference between an effective marketing tool and a website that simply looks pretty.

    Fundamental 1: Visibility

    This may seem a little counterintuitive but when you're building a website, your first concern is NOT what it looks like.  Your first concern is visibility. 

    If no one in your target audience ever sees your website, does it really matter how fabulous it looks?

    With a business website, the only people that matter are your prospects.  Nothing happens unless you can get your site in front of them.

    Everything about your website should focus on what's relevant for the prospects you are trying to reach.

    • Who are they?
    • What are they interested in?
    • What problems do they have that you can solve?
    • What terms or phrases do they use to search for those solutions?

    On-Page Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing the pages of your website so that the search engines rank them for the keywords and phrases your prospects use to search.

    SEO shouldn't be an afterthought. It should be incorporated into the coding of your website as you're building it.

    Details such as meta descriptions or image file names would be very cumbersome to go back and correct later.  Details like these have an enduring effect on your website's visibility.

    To discover an easy way to make your pages and posts SEO-friendly and enhance your site’s visibility, download our free SEO Training Guide. 

    Fundamental 2: Mobile Friendliness

    Until 2007, the average consumer used a computer to access the internet. That all changed with the introduction of smartphones with wide screen displays. 

    Suddenly, the internet was instantly accessible on a device that was sitting right in your pocket.  Each year since then, the percentage of people accessing the internet has shifted from computers to mobile.

    That shift toward mobile will only continue as progress and new technologies become available.  This makes the mobile view of your website the primary view you should focus on as you build your site. 

    The User Experience

    The user experience on a smartphone is completely different than on a laptop.  As we've mentioned elsewhere, people on the internet are very impatient. With so many alternatives just a click or two away, there's no reason for your visitors to put up with a poorly formatted website.

    Do not risk wasting an opportunity with web prospects by neglecting the mobile view of your website.  Begin your website build with the intention of the mobile view being the primary view of your site. 

    Affect on Search Rankings

    Google's entire business model is based on providing the best results for users of its search engine. 

    Beginning in 2016 Google began prioritizing the mobile experience of its users in its search results.  It realized that sending searchers to a website with a poor mobile experience is clearly not in Google's best interest.

    Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page's content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user's query. Since the majority of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent going forward.

    - Google Search Developer's Guide
    Mobile Friendliness Test

    With all  of this talk about the importance of mobile friendliness, you may be wondering how to determine if your site is mobile friendly. 

    Since Google dominates the search landscape, we are naturally most interested in how Google views our site's mobile friendliness.  As you build your site, refer to Google's Mobile Friendly Test to see exactly what Google thinks of your site and what issues if any need to be fixed. 

    Fundamental 3: Conversion

    Q: What's the difference between a $4000 website and one that costs $400.
    A: If they don't make the phone to ring, they're both useless.

    Unless you're Wikipedia, you need  your website visitors to do more than just browse around on your website.  You need them to move a little further down your sales funnel by taking an action that gets them closer to the sale of a product or service.

    What You Want Your Visitors To Do
    1. CLICK SOMETHING – This is a simple act, but it transitions your visitors from passive to active on your website. Whether it's a button, an image or a link, make it easy to see so your visitors click it to access more of your content, products and services.
    2. SUBSCRIBE OR OPT IN – Not everyone who lands on your website wants to buy right then and there.  Your goal is to convince visitors to give you their email addresses so you can reach out to them and provide helpful tips and guidance as they get closer to making a purchase.
    3. CALL  – How do you get website visitors to call you for a consultation? Convince them with a killer website and an offer they can't refuse.  Once a visitor sees that you're an expert in the industry, they'll want to contact you to find out more. Giving them a great offer usually seals the deal.
    4. BUY – Your ultimate goal is to turn website visitors into paying customers.  Your site must be able to convince them that your business is worth spending money on. If your visitors don't believe that, they will leave and do business somewhere else.

    You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.

    - Zig Ziglar
    Visitors to your website need your expertise. Your success in getting them to take one of the four actions above will depend mostly on how good you are at helping them.  What they will need depends on the stage they're at in the buying process when you meet. No matter what service you provide,  your customers go through the same basic decision making process. Commonly referred to as the Buyer's Journey, it involves three general stages.
    Three Stages of the Buyer's Journey
    1. They discover a need and research possible solutions.
      Primary Need: Broad information. “I don't know what I don't know. What are my options for solving this problem.”

       

    2. They've decided on a preferred solution and now they ‘re searching for the best provider of that solution.
      Primary Need: Industry based information. “What do I need to know to make an informed comparison?”

       

    3. Ready to buy. It's go time and they're ready to write a check.
      Primary Need: Easy access and a streamlined buying process.

    Place information on your website that  satisfies their primary need for each stage of the buying process. 

    Next Steps

    The first step to building an effective website is to to be clear on how you want visitors to interact with your site once it's complete.  How well you provide for their needs will drive the success of your site.

    1. If you'd like help selecting a lead magnet or coming up with attractive content for different phases of the buyers journey, feel free to contact us.

    2. If you're not sure you'll be able to create an effective website and are looking for the right partner, let's start a conversation.
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