A constant flow of new leads and customers is the lifeblood of any business. Your company website design is going to be a massive determining factor in how successful your online marketing efforts will be. Let us first take a look at some recommended practices of website development, so you won’t have to worry about your website design holding you back from converting plenty of visitors into leads and customers.
Planning Is the First Stage of Website Design
Don’t just start throwing words, images and other content on a website template that has a basic layout and navigation structure without having thought the whole thing through first. You need to plan your website development around what you are attempting to achieve from the website. Is it a corporate website that’s only meant to give information about your company? Is it an e-commerce site that needs to have marketing at its heart in order to convert visitors into buyers?
Designing your site without having fully worked out what you want from it beforehand is akin to taking a trip when you don’t know where you’re going. How will you know when you get there? Most people have a website to sell something. If that’s the case, then look at prospective website design layouts from a potential buyer’s point of view. How will you need to say things and lay things out to move them along through your sales funnel on their journey from looking to buying? Once you have this answer, you’ll have the first fundamental of your website design.
Your Website Design Needs to Have an Eye-Catching Layout
Your website is the first impression that people who have never heard of you will have of your company, products and services. If people click on to your website and are greeted with a wall of text, they won’t stick around for long. Awkwardly laid out navigation links that don’t seem to have a logical organization will also be a quick turnoff.
Don’t be afraid of white space when laying out a website design. People like to see information presented in short, scannable bits that look easy to read. To help them navigate to the specific information they might be looking for on the page, use plenty of sub-headlines that clearly and concisely delineate what each section is about. Speaking of navigating, you also want to ensure that your website development incorporates navigation that is clear and that when people click on a link on a given webpage, they know what page they’ll be going to.
You Need to Do Website Development With SEO in Mind
It’s important to be thinking about search engine optimization from the very beginning of your website development efforts. This is critical because the best website in the world is useless if the people who need what you have to offer don’t find it. It’s also critical because many of the efforts that go into making a website design liked and ranked highly by the search engines will also be appreciated by visitors to your site.
1. Responsive Design
If you’re not planning to approach your website development with mobile devices in mind, then you’re still living in 2009 rather than 2019. The design elements and functionality of your website need to scale properly so that your site looks and performs just as well on the smaller screen of a phone as it does on a desktop or laptop computer. Google’s algorithm insists on this type of responsive website design if you have any desire to get top rankings under high-value keywords.
2. Fast-Loading Pages
This is another design element that search engines value and that users will appreciate as well. It used to be said, in a derogatory manner, that people have sitcom attention spans. Unfortunately, those were the good old days. People have 280-character Twitter attention spans today. There are millions of websites online. Nobodies going to wait more than a few seconds for a page on your site to load.
3. A Sitemap
An XML Sitemap is something every website needs for search engines to be able to crawl them completely and efficiently. It’s basically a file in a particular format that lists all of the URLs available on your site to be crawled by search engines. There are website content management platforms, such as WordPress, that have plugins that make creating such a sitemap a breeze. You’ll also want to include an HTML sitemap, which is used by visitors to see what webpages are available.
4. Quality Content
Google has released a number of algorithm updates over the past few years, and many of these were focused around rewarding quality content. More specifically, they reward people for sticking around on your website. That being said, nothing keeps people around better than quality content that answers their questions and compellingly tells them why they should buy from you.
The days of being able to stuff keywords on pages and get top spots on Google are long over. Google will see the keywords in the content and the page titles, but if it’s just a cheap jumble of keywords not offering any actual value, it will also see that people aren’t sticking around. High bounce rates are bad for your search rankings because they indicate a poor user experience. Make sure your responsive website design has fast-loading pages, user-friendly navigation and quality, compelling content.
5. Social Media Integration on Your Website
Social media is here to stay, and any website development team has to recognize this reality. Make sure those Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube share and follow buttons are plainly visible on your site. Social media will also be an integral part of your online marketing efforts if you’re serious about dominating your competition.
Digital Marketing in 2019
Search engine optimization can be the highest return on investment type of digital marketing you can engage in. As discussed in the website development section above, successful SEO begins with your website. It needs to be optimized in terms of coding, layout and content to have any chance of getting near the top spots on Google under those keywords that are highly relevant to what you offer.
Getting top rankings under various keywords is not, however, the same as keeping them. Much of SEO success involves ongoing content creation. The major search engines like to see websites adding new, quality information on a regular basis. Links to and from authoritative websites also help to both build your authority and therefore rankings with search engines and boost your credibility with visitors to your site. As valuable as SEO is, it’s hardly the only option for getting your business in front of potential customers.
Paid Search Advertising
Online paid search advertising can take the form of ads that appear on search engines. Google Adwords is an example of this. You can also place paid ads on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and others. Whereas organic search optimization can take a few months to fully bear fruit, paid search ads can get you in front of inquiring eyes immediately.
In Google Adwords, you basically create ad campaigns and ad groups and various targeted ads that appear under these campaigns and groups. You choose which keywords you wish these ads to appear under by deciding how much you are willing to pay per click whenever someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website. That’s why this is also called pay-per-click advertising. Beyond setting your maximum bid amount on each keyword, you are able to set your budget overall for the ad campaign. Obviously, the more you are willing to pay on each given keyword the higher up your ad related to that keyword will appear on a Google search results page. It’s a careful balance between paying enough to get sufficient exposure while not paying so much that the cost of the leads exceeds their value to you.
Social Media Paid Ads
Paid advertising programs work similarly on social media sites. Facebook Business enables advertisers to select their target audience, choose from six ad formats and enables you to measure your ads performance and manage your ads. Twitter Ads offers similar marketing opportunities to their myriad users through promoted tweets. The number of ad programs is as numerous as social media sites, and of course, when it comes to search engines, Google’s not the only game in town. Bing and others have paid search ads.
Using Video Advertising
Video can be used across platforms to promote your company in general or specific products or services. There are many types of videos. The shortest and simplest are explainer videos. These are usually only about two to four minutes in length and typically combine humor and animation to convey information in an engaging manner.
Whether you decide to go with a short, simple explainer video or a longer product introduction video or service overview video, you can use them anywhere. Create a YouTube account and put it on there. Unless you are particularly adept at creating video presentations, you’ll probably be paying good money for someone else to produce them so use them far and wide. Get them up on Facebook and Twitter posts and paid ads. Definitely put them on your own website since that doesn’t even cost you anything extra. You may even find some will be appropriate for specific landing pages that are created for specific ads, but that’s another marketing topic.
Use Targeted and Optimized Landing Pages
Landing pages are critical to your online marketing success. Designing a landing page that’s tied to a specific marketing campaign for your business can increase your results significantly. If you’re running an ad for a specific product, be sure you have an excellent page about that product on your website and that the link in this ad takes them directly to that page.
Most businesses will typically have many products or services to offer, so you’ll want many landing pages to link various online ads to. An interesting industry stat is that companies with 10 to 15 landing pages see a 55 percent increase in their number of leads. As impressive as that sounds, those with 40 or more landing pages get 12 times as many leads as those businesses with five or less.
There are a few simple rules for a good landing page. Try to keep only one offer per landing page. Confusing people with too many offers can reduce conversion. Also, don’t include much in the way of links or navigation that takes them off this landing page. Remember, the purpose of a good landing page is to convert the visitor, and that’s hard to do if you make it easy for them to leave the page. As with your regular webpages, make sure your landing pages load quickly and are optimized for mobile devices. Good landing pages are a critical part of website development, and you’ll need to develop and customize them over time as specific pages are needed for specific marketing purposes.
Doing Website Design and Marketing In-House or Not?
There’s a lot to know about sound website design and marketing your business both online and offline. This makes deciding whether to handle it on your own or not a critical decision. Perhaps you’re reading an article like this because you’re starting a business and looking for some website design and marketing tips for your business. Depending on the size of your company and how busy you are running all the other aspects of your operations, you’ll have to figure out if you want to farm out your website design and marketing work to a digital agency.
Whatever route you decide to take in website development and in marketing your business, it’s still helpful to have basic knowledge about common practices and good ideas in these areas. Hopefully, some of the tips above will be helpful in either doing your own website design and digital marketing work or in overseeing and working with someone who is.
Website Development in Tulsa, Oklahoma
D2 Branding provides exceptional website development in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the surrounding areas. 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.
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