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When you make a website you want it to be the best of the bunch

Ensure that it is by following these steps.

Some of the most successful companies in the world always attribute their success to different reasons such as having a great product, smart and loyal employees and offering excellent customer service and experience. While all this is true, there is still one more important attribute which, although they all have in common, they have failed to mention – a modern website design.

For any small business, regardless of your industry, having a website is a must. Your website is the most important element of your entire business plan. It is as important as getting funding for your business. Yet, many small businesses overlook the benefits of having a website for their business. In fact, according to a survey carried out by RedShift Research and web hosting company, GoDaddy, about 60% of small businesses (those with less than 10 employees) still don’t have a website.

Benefits of Having a Website

Having a website is your first step towards having an online presence. Paid directories and social media profiles are well and good, but where they really shine is when they’re directing traffic back to your website. Listed below are several benefits of having a website for your business:

  • A website allows you to operate your business 24/7. Whether you’re selling a product or offering a service, a website allows you to run your business round the clock; providing valuable information to prospects anytime and anywhere.
  • A website improves your credibility and professionalism. Potential customers or clients are more likely to trust you if you have a website with your contact details such as email address and phone number, client testimonials and company information.
  • When your website’s optimisation is done right, it can help prospects find you online through organic search queries relating to your product or services. Your website also provides a faster way for them to reach you, either through your contact form or by chatting to your customer support online.
  • A well designed and optimised website can do more than just provide information to would-be customers; it can also serve as a sales and marketing machine that will help you attract, educate and convince potential customers to be actual customers.

The benefits of having a website cannot be overstated. However, don’t fall into the trap of just “having a website” because your competitors are doing that already. What you should aim for instead, is to have a great website – like those of corporate brands. These websites are responsive on any device, allows for easy interaction with visitors and it informs and educates prospects on the “what” and “why” of their business through clear and concise messaging.

So, how can you, as a small business, emulate these corporate brands and create a website that helps you generate leads on autopilot? The following sections break down the steps and components needed to turn your website into a sales and marketing machine.

Section 1 – The Importance of Website Design and User Experience

For your website to make a good first impression, it must be easy to use, beautiful and functional. To stay competitive, you need a website that integrates all the elements of a great website design, such as:

Ease of Use: Your website must be easy to use if you want to keep users engaged and coming back. The average bounce rate on most websites is approximately 40%, which means the majority of website traffic leave without navigating to any other pages. As a small business, your main goal is to try and build a connection with every single person that visits your website; but to do that, you need to make them stay a bit longer, and one of the best ways to do that is to make your website easy to use. To do that, you need to:

  • Make sure your navigation is legible and straightforward. Keep your navigation near the top of your page and at the bottom. Make use of breadcrumbs to help your website visitor keep track of what pages they’re on and how to go back.
  • If you’re an e-commerce startup, include a search box that will enable prospects search by keywords
  • Limit the number of navigation options on any given page. This helps people focus more on the page they’re on, especially if it’s a landing page.

Aesthetics: Making your website beautiful, (on any device) is important if you want to keep the attention of your visitors. No matter how easy to use your website is, if it’s not aesthetically pleasing, most visitors will lose interest and visit some other website – probably your competitor’s.

Keep the following in mind when designing your website:

  • Use colours sparingly. Regardless of your branding colour(s), you shouldn’t use more than three, with the brightest to be reserved for Calls to Action buttons or to draw attention to certain elements on your web page.
  • Your website shouldn’t just be easy to use; it should be easy to read. Make use of fonts, font sizes and font colors that are beautiful and easy to read. Make sure your website content can easily be glanced over by using bullet points, short paragraphs and section headers.
  • Make sure your website elements are consistent from page to page. Elements include colours, image sizes, font types and sizes and overall feel. Navigation should also look the same on every single page on your website.
  • Choose your images wisely. No matter how inexpensive stock images might look, try avoiding it as much as possible on your website, especially on your homepage. You will never find corporate brands in any industry use stock images, and this is due to the fact that these images are mostly irrelevant. Ensure you’re using real images to convey your brand and professionalism.

Functionality: Making your website functional on any browsing device is a must if you want to increase your website’s conversion rate. This is necessary if you want to get found online and gain significant organic traffic from search engines. Search engines like Google rank mobile responsive websites higher than those that aren’t.

Section 2 – Getting Your Website Found Online

A beautiful, easy to use and functional website is useless if nobody can find it online. There are basically two ways through which traffic can come to your website; organically or through paid advertising. Your website needs to be optimised for search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing in order to generate valuable organic traffic.

This is important because people are now conducting their own research, on their own terms and they are turning to search engines for help. They rarely ever leave the first page of the search results, thus, making every website owner covet that prestigious first-page position. This is where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in.

The following are must-have SEO elements for your website:

Inbound Links: These are other websites linking directly to your website. The more inbound links you’re getting from other reputable sources, the more authority your website will in have in search engines, thus ranking you higher in search results for related keywords. You can get inbound links through any of the following methods:

  • Guest blogging on other websites that target your audience
  • Submitting your website to online directories like Yelp
  • Reaching out to bloggers and influencers personally on guest blogging opportunities

On-Page SEO: While getting inbound links to your website is a great off-page SEO tactic, you also need to focus your efforts on your on-page SEO as well. This refers to including your chosen keywords (that you want to get ranked for) in your website pages’ content. To do this successfully, you must:

  • Optimise each web page for a particular keyword.
  • Include your primary keyword(s) in your headline and sub-headline
  • Place your primary keywords within your website content but make sure to include them naturally and in the right context.
  • Place your chosen keywords in the file name of your website’s images.
  • Include these keywords in the page URL as well

XML Sitemap: Sitemaps allow search engines to read and rank your website more intelligently. Sitemaps are like blueprints for your website. They allow you to enter the URL of every single page on your website, what the page is about and the last time it was updated.

You can create your sitemap by using several free online sitemap generators. You just need to do a little bit of research.

Section 3 – Your Website Content is King

Content is the most important aspect of your website. It is how you communicate who you are and what you stand for as a company to your target audience. This is what corporate brands have figured out and are doing effectively, thanks to a team of talented strategists. But as a small business with limited budget, your main goal is to try and communicate your unique differentiator to your website audience in as little time as possible. Every potential customer has a set of questions when they first land on your website such as:

  • Is this a credible website? What do other people have to say about?
  • Can I trust this company and what they’re offering?
  • Are they a professional company who knows what they’re talking about?

All these questions can be answered on your website through content such as eBooks and whitepapers to showcase expertise and professionalism and client testimonials to indicate credibility and trustworthiness.

When planning your website’s content, take the following key factors into consideration:

Messaging: You need to be careful of the words you choose to describe your website. As observed earlier in this article, your website is the first impression people have about your “brand” and you must ensure your messaging is consistent with the kind of brand you’re trying to build.

Your messaging and navigation must also be able to direct your audience from where they are to where you want them to go. You can easily do this by including links and call-to-actions wherever you think it is appropriate in order to direct them towards the next step.

Finally, consider using various content types such as webinars, whitepapers, and infographics to convey valuable and informative content across to your core audiences.

Blogging: This is a very important element of any website that wants to generate highly targeted traffic. Having a Blog on your website will help you:

  • Drive more traffic to your website and also helps you convert those traffics into leads
  • Create fresh content that will consistently help in increasing your website’s site engine ranking
  • Open a channel of communication with potential customers through engagement on blog comments

Make sure to include social sharing buttons on your blog posts. This can increase reach and engagement on your posts, thus driving more traffic back to your website.

Social Proof: Whether you’re selling a product or a service, potential customers need proof to nudge them towards buying from you. Content like testimonials, customer reviews, and case studies come in handy when you’re trying to move prospects down your marketing sales funnel.

These are some tips on leveraging social proof to your advantage:

  • Get as many customer reviews as possible
  • Try and case studies for as many of them as you can
  • Include name, social handles and company name of these happy customers so potential customers won’t doubt
  • Leverage other online review platforms such as Yelp, Facebook Review and Google Review.

Section 4 – Converting Your Website Traffic into Leads

Not everyone that visits your website will be ready to buy from you. This is why it is recommended that your primary goal should be to generate leads that can be nurtured until they’re ready to buy. Generating leads is easier said than done because most people don’t want to give out their email address due to spam.

Your lead generation conversion rate depends on the following elements:

Calls-to-Action (CTA): These are used to drive website visitors to take desired actions. Most CTAs use words like Download Now, Order Now, and Request Demo etc. Calls-to-action is your primary lead generation tactic. They take a website visitor from wherever they are on your website and take them to your landing page.

Quick tips to make your CTAs more effective:

  • Use bold and bright colors to make your CTAs stand out
  • Use words that convey value in order to motivate people to click through
  • Make your CTA look clickable, hence why it’s always placed on buttons.

Landing Pages: Also referred to as Lead Capture Page, the Landing Page is used to convert visitors into leads by collecting their personal information in exchange for a content offer. The offer could be a free eBook or Whitepaper.

Outlined below are the components of a successful landing page:

  • A catchy headline and sub-headline
  • A brief description of your offer
  • At least one complementing image of the offer
  • Social proof such as testimonials from other satisfied people who’ve downloaded the offer
  • And finally, a lead capture form to help you get the contact information you need.

Lead Capture Forms: When it’s time to download an offer, signup for a demo/trial, or subscribe to your newsletter, lead capture forms are your best friend. Without lead capture forms, you simply cannot convert any leads. Depending on whether you’re running a B2B or B2C company, the number of fields in your lead capture form really matter a lot. The longer your form fields are the less likely prospects will fill it out, thus reducing your conversion rates.

For your forms to perform well, keep the following recommendations in mind:

  • Only request for information you need, such as name and email address. If you’re a B2B, you might include fields such as company name and position held.
  • Substitute the word “submit” for “download your free eBook” or “join our newsletter list”.
  • Reduce friction by stating clearly within your form that you won’t be spamming them or sharing their information with third-party companies.

Conclusion

Small businesses can have a greater market share if they can utilise the opportunities that having a website opens to them. People are using the internet every day to conduct research and find out more information, a website gives you the opportunity to get found by these prospects.

But, simply having a website isn’t everything. For your website to really give you the competitive advantage you need to stand out from both small businesses like yourself and bigger brands within your industry, it is imperative that your website becomes a sales and marketing machine. A combination of SEO, blogging, social media marketing, relevant content offers, relevant CTAs and landing pages with optimised forms will help you achieve this.

And remember if you need help building a top quality website, get in touch with us at Brilworx and we will help you.