When a potential customer discovers your brand online, it’s important that they get the right impression from the start. That’s why having a high quality, professional website design and a clear, effective marketing strategy that targets and converts the appropriate audience is so important.
If you’re creating a new website design from scratch or re-designing an existing site, there are several key points to keep in the front of your mind throughout the course of the project:
- What is the primary goal of the website? What are the secondary goals, if any?
- Who is the target user?
- What sources will my traffic come from?
- What will the website design look like?
- How often will the website design need to be updated?
Once you’ve established your priorities, you can start creating your website design. If you want to create an effective website design, however, there are some other important factors to consider during the process. Below, we’ve outlined ten of the most common website design and digital marketing mistakes to avoid and offer up a few ways to remedy them.
Not utilizing a responsive website design
As we enter 2019, it’s easy to see that mobile-first website design has overtaken the web; in fact, back in March, Google actively started penalizing sites in the search results that are not optimized for mobile browsers. Since 60-70% of web users today are on mobile devices, having a website that is easy to navigate on a smartphone is of vital importance.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of responsive website design, it’s when a website design changes its appearance to fit the size of whatever device your visitor is using. For example, the website will look different on a Macbook then it will on an iPhone, changing the layout and design elements to optimize the user experience, no matter what device they’re using to visit your site.
This doesn’t just mean the site needs to adjust in size, mind you – the content should be readable on a smaller device as well, so exercise brevity in your copy whenever possible, and utilize plenty of whitespace and clean, legible typefaces for longer blocks of text. Make sure images scale to the appropriate size and don’t become blurry or pixelated, and ensure font colors contrast the background to ensure proper readability.
Poor (or no) Calls to Action
Think about the main goal of your site – when a visitor arrives, what is it that you’re hoping they do? Most users won’t do what you’re hoping for unless you tell them specifically what to do. To accomplish this, savvy digital marketers utilize a call to action (or CTAs) in their web design. Typically these consist of buttons that encourage the user to take the next step in the process – think “Get started” or “Sign up” buttons.
Your website design should prioritize getting visitors to take the next step in the process, whether that’s signing up for your email list or moving them towards making a purchase. If it doesn’t, users may get confused and end up leaving your site, costing you valuable leads and conversions.
Not properly optimized for search engine performance
If you aren’t capturing organic traffic from search engines, you’re missing out on opportunities to reach a ton of potential customers. As more and more businesses realize the value of top notch search engine optimization strategies, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to rank for competitive search terms. However, by utilizing strong keyword research, implementing long-tail keywords and key phrases, and optimizing your website’s pages to ensure proper search indexing, you can get your business to the top of Google search results as well.
It’s important to note here that there are many companies or “experts” with advertisements on the internet that will claim to boost your website to the top of Google – typically for a large fee. Most of these do not work, and while some of them might work in the extremely short term, they will ultimately be doing your website more harm than good. These companies take advantage of what Google calls “black hat tactics” to get your website to rank in search results; this means that they are manipulating the system to achieve brief success so customers (like you) will part with their money, assuming they’ve hit the SEO jackpot. Unfortunately, when your rankings drop and you reach out to these “experts” to figure out what happened, your customer support calls will most likely go unanswered.
Furthermore, if Google discovers that your website has been using black hat strategies to rank higher on their platform, they will issue some serious penalties to your website, making it extremely difficult for users to find you in search results. That being said, it’s best to work with reputable search engine optimization agencies that perform white hat strategies and obtain your website organic rankings – it will take more time, but your results will be much more stable and reliable.
Not targeting the right audience
One of the most obvious reasons that your website isn’t raking in traffic or converting customers is that you may not be targeting the appropriate audience with your current marketing strategy. If the people that visit your site genuinely have zero interest in the products you’re selling, no marketing gurus or optimization wizards on earth will be able to help boost your conversions.
This is where analytics tools (like Google Analytics) can come in handy – by utilizing the data they provide to us, we can examine the traffic we’re currently receiving and the number of conversions we’re getting, then re-structure our marketing strategy to align with the audience we’re trying to attract to our site.
Not utilizing analytics tools
Utilizing analytics tools like Google Analytics will help you determine the weak spots in your website design or marketing strategy by showing you in-depth visitor information. Unfortunately, surveys have shown that over 70% of small businesses don’t use analytics tools on their websites. The appealing part of digital marketing is the ability to quickly test, modify, and re-test different strategies, but if you can’t see the results you’re getting, how do you know what to fix?
Analytics tools like Google Analytics give you insights on how customers interact with your website design, what keywords they entered in their search query, and conversion tracking, as well as many other features. By having access to this level of insight, we can test and optimize our website design to strategically maximize conversions. We can also determine which sources are bringing us the most traffic (such as email marketing or social media platforms), allowing us to focus more of our efforts on those platforms to boost lead generation.
Your page loads too slowly
Since user attention spans are decreasing at an incredible rate, making sure your website loads in the blink of an eye is more important than ever; in fact, Google has even begun penalizing sites in search rankings if they load too slowly for this very reason. If your site takes too long to load, potential visitors are likely to return to the search and choose another (faster loading) result.
So how do you make sure your site loads quickly?
Not retargeting your website’s visitors
When visitors come to your site, in what ways are you retargeting them when they leave?
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of retargeting, consider this scenario: you’re browsing for a product online but don’t end up buying it. You move onto another website, which then displays an advertisement for the product you were searching for a moment prior. If this has happened to you, congratulations – you’re familiar with the power of retargeting.
The other important part of retargeting is simply asking the visitor for their email address; since many people guard access to their email inbox like a prized possession these days, we often recommend offering the customer something in exchange for their information. This could be something like a discounted product, free e-book or PDF download, or whatever else your audience may have an interest in to entice them to part with their beloved email address.
Once you’ve gotten their email address, it’s important to be courteous and thoughtful about the emails you send. Don’t overload their inbox with promotions, and don’t send out email blasts without having a specific intent. Growing your email list can become one of the most lucrative parts of your digital marketing strategy, so it’s important to get this right.
Lack of high-quality content on your website
Likely one of the easiest ways to attract loads of traffic to your site is to publish high-quality content that solves your reader’s problem. Content marketing has exploded in recent years and has helped many brands grow their audience awareness and boost their conversion rates.
Google has noticed this, too; they now consider having high-quality content on your site a ranking factor and issue penalties to sites that use low-grade, spun, or keyword stuffed articles. It’s crucial to your marketing strategy to get high-quality content published on your site that is optimized for search engines, reads well and encourages the user to take action. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hire someone full time to create the content in-house though; many companies have had tremendous success in outsourcing their content creation to freelancer writers or even content mills.
Difficult to find contact information or address
One of the most vital aspects of any business website is allowing customers to easily get in touch with you. Keeping your phone number, email address, or other ways to contact you in a highly visible part of your website ensures that customers won’t get frustrated digging through contact pages or simply leaving the site because they couldn’t find what they were looking for.
Another important note is keeping things like your business phone number and physical address up to date on your website. Too often, businesses will list an old phone number they had on their website; this ends up costing you a ton of potential customers when they think you’ve gone out of business. Don’t be fooled though, it’s not just for your customer’s sake – Google also considers a consistent business name, physical address, and phone number to be an important ranking factor.
This applies to other things on your website too. If users have a hard time finding the information they’re looking for, it’s likely they’ll end up leaving your site rather quickly. That being said, it’s important to keep things like Frequently Asked Question pages, contact forms, return policies and business hours in easy to find locations. If you’re struggling with this and have a really high bounce rate, it might be worthwhile to invest in some user experience testing. User tests allow you to find out how users interact with your website, the thought processes they experience when viewing your content, and whether it’s easy for them to engage with your website properly or not.
Relying exclusively on paid advertising
A big marketing misstep is to rely solely on paid advertising on the web; while pay per click advertising certainly has its place, there are so many other lucrative (and more cost efficient) digital marketing strategies to consider for your business. With social media platforms growing at an exponential rate, and influencers popping up that are willing to advertise your brand to a massive, highly targeted niche audience for minimal amounts of money, you’re wasting your digital marketing budget by spending 100% of it on Google or Bing Ads.
For a complimentary 15-minute marketing consultation with D2 Branding, call us today at 918-520-8012 or visit our website at www.D2Branding.com.
Learn more about how the D2 Branding marketing agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma can help your business grow!