Anyone who owns a business or designs and manages a website knows that your job is never done. Because there are always new strategies that can be put in place to improve your website’s usability, visual appeal, traffic generation, or conversions, your website needs to be treated like a living entity that is always evolving based on user needs and industry insights.
There are three big questions that we often hear.
- How do I improve my website?
- How do I fix or repair my website?
- Are there strategies I am missing?
Below we have outlined fourteen different website design and marketing strategies that can help improve your website’s usability and drive more traffic.
Having a well designed internal link strategy goes well beyond passing ranking power from page to page. When we talk about internal links, we are not referring to the navigation, but rather in-text/contextual links that are placed within your longer form blog content. These links have many benefits such as:
- They allow users to navigate a website in a highly-contextual way.
- They help establish information hierarchy for both users and bots.
- They help spread link juice (ranking power) throughout a website in a highly-focused way.
Learn more about internal links here.
Focused Navigation and IA
Many times businesses believe that every page on their website is important – which rarely is the case. This forces them to inundate their user with a ton of choices within their primary navigation, thus overloading the the users cognitive choices, and in many cases causing the user to exit.
When building your primary navigation start with analyzing which services or information users are utilizing on their journey to conversion. Then add in a few pages that focus on business goals – maybe there are new products or services you want users to discover.
Learn more about information architecture basics here.
Define Your Why
Anyone who works with our team knows we are strong believers in Simon Sinek and his methodology of a company’s “why”. What is your “why”? A “why” is a purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do. Your why is not a result such as “to increase sales”, or your value proposition such as, “we have the best customer service”.
For example, our Linchpin team’s “why” includes, “we believe businesses of all sizes should have the same opportunities in regards to quality of work and access to leading digital marketers, irregardless of budget”.
Watch some of our favorite Simon Sinek videos here to learn more about defining/uncovering your companies “why”.
Add Quality Images
Studies tell us that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
We have all heard that an image is worth a thousand words, but is it really? Our minds react differently to visual stimuli because the human brain deciphers image elements instantly, while text is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process.
Choosing the correct images is just as important. Studies show that generic stock photography is less beneficial than custom photographs of real people within your organization.
Learn more about the power of website imagery here.
Add A Form To Every Page
Adding a form or a CTA with a phone number on all priority pages can have a huge impact on lead volume. It provides an easy way for users to connect with you the moment they finish reading a piece of content that inspires them to take action.
Instead of only placing a form on your contact us page – which forces users to take an additional action [click] to contact you – place your form (or CTA with a phone number) on primary pages to help minimize user friction and help facilitate that initial conversation.
Add Relevant Testimonials To Your Pages
Few people read testimonial pages, and having one is an older strategy that was believed to be beneficial.
Much like eCommerce websites add reviews to their product pages, and don’t just have a one page in their navigation for all their reviews, you too should be adding relevant reviews and testimonials to your services pages. Adding reviews to priority pages can:
- Increase conversion rates
- Add relevant “real world” nomenclature that goes beyond your marketing jargon
- Provides additional keywords that a page can rank for
- Provides social proof of value for potential clients.
Eliminate Sliders and Carousels
The theory behind sliders is that you can include additional content on a webpage without adding length to the page. The truth about sliders is that few people sit in one spot on a web page to view sliders beyond the first one – thus it makes them irrelevant.
In a study done of ND.com (Notre Dame’s Website) showed only 1% of visitors clicked on a feature carousel. Of these clicks, 84% were on stories in position 1 with the rest split fairly evenly between the other four (~4% each).
Image via Erik Runyon
A better use of the space above the fold is to forgo sliders, add one image with a primary CTA, and then below it add a few additional smaller boxes containing secondary CTAs. To see what we mean visit LLamasoft’s website.
Inclusive Team Pages
The personalities, expertise and ethics of the people that make up a company are as important as the company’s reputation and achievements. Team pages can provide great insight for potential clients as to the team members who are leading the company or projects they are investing in.
Tips for creating a team page include:
- Put a face & personality to the name.
- Add other photos to each bio page – family, vacation, etc.
- Explain what has contributed to the team members professional expertise.
- Include fun, personal passions and interests.
- Include social media handles or links.
Email Signup Forms
Companies of all sizes count on email marketing for its positive impact on revenue. Having a solid email list is the first step in any email marketing campaign. Lists that are highly relevant and whose users are engaged with the brand can generate $38 in ROI for every dollar spent.
To fuel continued and sustained list growth it’s a no-brainer to have an email sign up form on your website, blog, and other digital properties. By providing visitors a quick and easy way to sign up for your email list, you can proactively grow your list around the clock.
Mobile Optimized / Friendly
Most SEOs and digital marketers have known for a long time that users are increasingly accessing the internet on a range of devices. No longer is it safe to assume that a visitor to your corporate website will be using a traditional desktop or laptop computer. Because standard desktop websites do not render well on mobile devices, back in April of 2015 Google began giving preference to mobile-optimized sites; as well as recently switching to crawling the mobile version of your website first to determine primary rankings (aka, mobile first crawling).
What does it mean to be mobile friendly? A mobile-optimized site, sometimes synonyms with Responsive Design, adjusts to the smaller screen size by formatting the content and design into:
- Easier to read text
- Mobile-friendly navigation
- Touch-friendly buttons and page elements
- Faster speeds
- Minimized pagination
So why should you make sure your website is mobile-friendly and fix your website code? Having a mobile-friendly website brings with it several key benefits, including:
- Improved search visibility within Google (aka mobile SEO)
- Improved user experience and overall user satisfaction
- Increased lead generation from mobile devices
- Improved brand identity and trust
Content is the backbone of your website. Users come to your website to consume it, and Google ranks you because of it.
Creating valuable content is harder than it looks. Not only are you competing with other websites who are creating content about the same topic, but you have to also understand what your users will find valuable, or they will go somewhere else – creating generic short form articles is a waste of time.
There are a few rules for creating valuable content. They include asking yourself:
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well?
- Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages about the same topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
Dive Into Your Analytics and Setup A Goal
We work with a variety of companies to help them increase rankings, traffic and conversions; as well as partnering with digital agencies to help them provide best-in-class digital services to their clients.
One of the initial questions we ask is, “how are you measuring success and what data are you gathering to determine progress and conversions?”. Many of the companies we talk to on a daily basis don’t have a measurement strategy in place – or one that went beyond the basics.
One of the core parts of any measurement strategy is tracking conversions. Setting up goals within Google Analytics is one way to do this, and is actually quite simple and can be completed in about 10 steps.
Creating a Google Goal in 10 Steps
1. Login to Google Analytics
2. In the left hand column click on the Admin button
3. In the far right column click on Goals
4. Click the red New Goal button
5. Most websites will want to setup a goal that tracks form submissions. In this case under the “Engagement Section” on the page, you will check the radio button next to “Form”.
6. Click Continue
7. Next, name your goal, and if your form, when submitted, is redirecting the user to a thank you page, then keep the “destination” radio button clicked.
8. Click Continue
9. The next page is where you will put the link to your thank you page, and even provide a value for each lead submitted.
10. Click Save.
Once you have your goal setup. You can find them under the Conversions section in the left hand column of Google Analytics.
Optimize Your Videos
Videos are a unique beast. When done well they can create a emotional story, grab a users attention, and provide clarity to a complicated subject. Not only are their user benefits, but there are also traffic generating benefits for SEO such as:
- Enhanced listing in search results.
- Multiple listings for a given search.
- Additional sources of traffic & exposure.
Optimizing videos for your website includes many of the same elements that are found in optimizing text content – be clear, concise, and offer value above and beyond what can be found elsewhere.
The additional item that goes along with this, is adding a transcript on the page where your video is located. This not only helps the SEO value of the page, but it also helps with accessibility – as not everyone consumes or can consume information the same way.
Be More Than A One Page Site
Single page websites are ok if your business is just starting out, or if you need a basic landing page. But let’s face it, if you want to grow your online business and become a thought leader in your space, you need to have a website that can grow with you – a one page website can’t do this.
Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of single page vs multi page websites here.