A thoughtfully designed website provides information about your business and builds credibility with clients. But it should also attract, interest and convert customers.
There are many things that affect the lead generating ability of your website. So whether you’re kicking off a brand-new website project, or you’re looking to improve your existing site, make sure you’ve got your bases covered.
Read on for some expert web design tips to turn your website into the lead generating machine it can be.
1. Start with the Basics
The idea of designing a website from scratch can be overwhelming, especially if you have a lot of creative ideas you would like to incorporate. But if you focus on building the necessary pages first—home, about, services/products and contact—you’ll be able to put something together quickly and painlessly.
The recent trend is long web pages with sections of content, so if you find that your content is a bit sparse, you may consider starting off with a one-page site. Remember that your website is a fluid, ever-evolving project. You can always focus on adding extra functionality and pages later.
Click on the image below to see a live example of a one-page site:
You might notice there’s still a navigation bar at the top of the page. However, instead of clicking through to separate pages, the links scroll down to that particular section on the page.
2. Focus on Your Target
When planning the content and imagery for your website, make sure you know your target audience and are keeping them top of mind. Remember: It’s about them, not about you.
Address the following questions:
- Who am I selling to? What are their demographics?
- What type of information would a potential customer be looking for?
- What solutions can I provide in order to solve their problems or make their lives easier?
- Why is my company the best fit for them?
- What types of images will resonate with potential customers?
Your goal is to focus on providing information that will educate and provide solutions. This will position your company as experts in your industry and will also help drive traffic to your site.
3. Use Descriptive Keywords in Headings
It’s extremely important to make sure your site’s purpose is glaringly obvious right at the top of your home page. Most attention spans are incredibly short these days, so if you’re not engaging and informing your users right off the bat, you risk losing a potential client.
Using an H1 header tag, incorporate your most important keyword into your home page messaging. This is typically placed over a large background, or “hero” image. Doing this not only conveys to people what your site is about, it will also help with search engine optimization (SEO). So, place the main search topic that someone would use to find your website here.
Check out this Bluehost example of simple, straightforward homepage messaging:
It’s pretty obvious from the headline that Bluehost provides web hosting. And, adding the word “best” will help them rank for searches on “Best Web Hosting”.
Subheaders, which are usually H2 or H3 tags, are useful for breaking up your content into digestible pieces. They also provide another opportunity to rank for a particular keyword, so make sure you’re taking advantage of that. For example, instead of having a subhead that reads “Our Products”, use something more descriptive such as “Our Telecom Products”.
4. Implement a High-Quality Logo
Your logo represents your business, so make sure yours is professional, properly sized, and crisp. Be sure to test out how it looks on different devices too, because what may look great on a laptop, might appear fuzzy or distorted on a mobile device.
File types and sizes matter, so enlist the help of a designer to ensure you get it right. It’ll be well worth the minimal investment, as you can see from the example above.
5. Use Clear, Simple Navigation
Your website navigation should allow users to flow freely from one page to another on your site. Don’t make people guess about what kind of content they may be getting if they click on a certain link. If you keep it simple and intuitive, they may just spend a little more time exploring.
Here is an example of clear and simple site navigation:
Notice the large headline which instantly lets the user know what solution this product provides. The CTA buttons make it easy to try it out or see the demo.
Along with using simple navigation at the top of your site, also consider repeating the links in the footer. This makes it less cumbersome for those viewing your site in mobile, since it eliminates the need to scroll up to the top to click to another page. It has also been known to help the search engines index all of your pages.
6. Remember: Less is More
If you have a large amount of information you want to include, avoid using all of it on the main pages of your site. Instead, stick to using overviews of the products or services you provide, along with “Learn More” buttons that link to your subpages. This is where you can go more in-depth with your content.
For example, your pages might look something like this:
- About Us (who you are, what you do)
- Services (overview of services)
- Service #1 (in-depth information on service #1)
- Service #2 (in-depth information on service #2)
- Service #3 (in-depth information on service #3)
- Contact Us
Here’s an example of a homepage services section, which links to more detailed subpages:
7. Make Whitespace Your Friend
When it comes to web design, the clean, minimalist look is in. Since most people tend to skim over large blocks of text online, try breaking things up with headers, subheaders and bullet points. Play with the spacing between sections, and above and below headers to air things out a bit. The less cluttered your site is, the easier it will be for someone to quickly absorb the information being presented.
Note the effective use of whitespace on the Apple website:
The use of an extra large font in the header is also extremely effective in drawing attention to the most important information on the page.
8. Optimize for Different Devices
Responsive web design is a must in today’s mobile environment. Fortunately, it’s a lot easier to create a site that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes today than it was just a few years ago.
Most of today’s online web builders and WordPress themes are now responsive. This means there’s no longer a need to bog yourself down with maintaining several versions of your website to accommodate different devices. If you find you have to do this, it’s definitely time to redesign your site!
Here’s an example of a responsive website:
As you can see, this site looks great on all different device sizes.
9. Use Relevant CTAs
If someone is interested enough in your content to make it to the bottom of your web page, congratulations! Make sure you’re giving potential customers a logical next step by including a call-to-action (CTA) at the bottom of your post or page, even if it’s simply a link to your contact form. You may also consider linking to a separate landing page with an offer such as “Download this Guide” in exchange for their name and email address.
For example, this HubSpot article, “How to Drive More Traffic to Your WordPress Site”, includes a CTA at the bottom of their blog post which entices the user to learn more about their conversion tool WordPress plugin.
Keep in mind the more relevant your CTA is to the topic of that specific page, the more likely it is you’ll get people to click on it.
10. Find Your Perfect Fonts
A good design rule of thumb to keep things consistent is to use no more than three different fonts on your website. Using more than that runs the risk of your site looking sloppy and not well planned out.
Check out Google Fonts to find font faces that you like. There are loads to choose from here, and all of them can be implemented on your website. This handy tool will even suggest different font faces that pair well together so you can choose one font for your headers and one for your main body text.
Make sure you choose fonts that are in alignment with the message you want your brand to communicate. For example, the playful fonts that make sense for a youth sports program will be much different than the more serious or businesslike fonts you would use on a financial planning website.
11. Choose Colors Wisely
If you have an established brand and logo, chances are you already have a color scheme in mind. But if your logo happens to have several colors, choose just two or three of them to use on your site. Also, use the brightest color for your call-to-action buttons and links so they stand out on the page.
If you’re in the early stages of creating your brand identity, keep in mind there’s a whole psychology behind color choices and how they influence our purchasing behaviors. Focus on using colors that evoke the appropriate emotions you’re going for with your brand.
Here’s an interesting graphic that breaks down the use of different colors:
12. Be Social
Word of mouth is one of the most surefire ways to gain new business. By putting social share icons on your site, you’re allowing someone to easily spread the word about your great products and services.
Here are some examples of social share icons:
Don’t forget to use social follow icons on your site as well. Ideally, these are placed in the footer rather than the header, in order to limit distractions. This provides an easy way for someone to learn more about your company without having to fill out a form and risk being contacted before they are ready to make a purchase.
Once you have your social media accounts linked from your site, make sure you’re not letting them go stagnant! If you share valuable information on a regular basis, your business will gain more visibility and bring in more site traffic. This should ultimately result in more leads.
13. Optimize for Search
There are a number of factors that go into search engine optimization. Using keywords in headers, adding meta descriptions and title tags to every page, and implementing internal links to other pages on your site are just a few. If you have a WordPress site, the Yoast plugin makes implementing SEO on your site a breeze, but make sure you familiarize yourself with the basics before diving in.
Here’s a screenshot of the Yoast WordPress plugin in action:
One more important SEO factor worth mentioning is to make sure your site is secured with SSL. Google recently started penalizing sites that are not secure, which means those site listings will get pushed further down on the search results pages, giving priority to the secure sites instead.
If your site is secure, your URL will begin with https:// as opposed to http://, and you’ll see a lock icon in the browser window. This means any information that is submitted via your website, such as a contact form, is encrypted. This not only protects your site, but gives users peace of mind too.
There are certainly a lot of decisions that come into play when planning your website project. While it’s important to focus on how your site will look, make sure you’re also thinking about how your site will work.
Use these important tips as your guide, and you’ll be on the right track for creating a website that not only looks amazing, but functions as a powerful sales tool as well.