Designing a new website can be a time- and money-intensive process, so naturally, when you do decide to redesign your site, you want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth and creating a beautiful and functional site that helps drive business growth. If you’re designing a new website, here is a comprehensive website design checklist to help you see if your site has what it takes to attract visitors, convert leads, and foster growth.
✔️ Calls to Action (CTAs)
No website is going to convert visitors into leads without calls to action (CTAs). If you want your website visitors to do something, like enter their contact information into a form or to give you a call or to request a quote, you need to ask them to do that, and you need to make it an easy process.
CTAs are generally clickable buttons with text prompting a specific action, and they should appear in intuitive places on your site, like the top right corner, across your banner image on the homepage, or after useful blog content.
✔️ Landing Pages
A landing page is a page a website visitor lands on when they visit your site from a specific place or link. Landing pages are useful for directing visitors to content or actions that are relevant to them and that you want them to see, based on their behaviors and interests.
If you don’t have landing pages, your PPC ads are not going to get great results. If you just direct people who click on your ad to your homepage, they aren’t going to know what to do next, and they’re probably not going to do what you want them to do, which is likely to give you their contact information or get in touch with your company. A landing page limits visitors’ options and presents them with exactly the content and calls to action that are relevant to them and are therefore more likely to convert.
✔️ Great Images
So much of what we respond to is image-based (insert cliche about how 1 picture = 1000 words), that a site needs great images to compete. Gone are the days of irrelevant stock photos of people in business suits and pixelated images from a digital camera that someone in HR took at the company picnic. High quality, professional images of your facilities, products, processes, or people are going to be attractive to website visitors.
This is especially true if you’re in a B2C industry where they way your products or the results of your services look matter. For example, custom home builders need to have images of the gorgeous homes they build, because that’s what their website visitors want to see. These kinds of images are also perfect for social sharing across a variety of platforms, from Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest.
Mobile-responsive design isn’t difficult to accomplish, either. Selecting a template for your design that is mobile-responsive will ensure that your content is readable on the tiniest of phone screens and the biggest tablet and that nothing is cut off or hidden to the far right where no one will scroll.
In order to do that, search engines need to crawl your content and find keywords in your content. Search engines rank sites with more unique instances of a keyword and more regularly updated content higher, meaning those sites are more likely to be seen by searchers in the search results for that term and are more likely to get clicked on.
Besides that, a blog is an important way of marketing to your clients and establishing brand awareness and authority. Your blog content shouldn’t just be company updates (though you can include some company updates if you want!). It should address the specific problems, challenges, and stages in the buyer’s journey that your ideal clients are experiencing.
If you can provide content that answers their questions about your industry, product, or service, you’re more likely to show up in their searches, and when they do read your content, they’re more likely to find it useful and even convert.
A custom web design that was hard-coded by a web designer or someone in IT is a bad idea for a lot of reasons. It’s difficult to maintain custom code, it requires a lot of skill and time to produce, and if the developer leaves the company on bad terms, your site could go with them.
That’s why every website should operate on a reliable CMS (content management system), such as WordPress or Joomla. (We use WordPress.) A CMS allows for multi-user access, a user-friendly interface for making changes and updates, design templates that are optimized for mobile, and a content publishing platform that is easy to use.
Everyone in business knows this cliche: if you’re not growing, you’re dying. And though we might hate to admit it, sometimes, cliches have some truth to them. In today’s competitive market, if you’re trying to grow your business, not let it die, you need to use all possible tools and strategies to your advantage. One of these tools is growth-driven website design.
The goal of growth-driven website design to help your company grow. It achieves this through beautiful, functional design that is user-friendly and mobile-responsive, as well as through strategies for increasing calls, conversions, and leads.
Growth-driven website design incorporates various strategies for enabling visitors to get the information that they need, get in contact with your business, and convert to leads. It does this with simple design and logical placement of information and buttons, as well as easy ways to get in touch, like a call button or a live chat.
It also focuses on a smarter approach to launching a site than the long lead times of traditional web design. Growth-driven design gets your site launched quickly, so you can start seeing results sooner. Plus, growth-driven design is heavily data-based, using data to drive decision making and optimize results.
How is Growth-Driven Website Design Different?
When most websites are designed, the designers aren’t necessarily thinking about business growth. Instead, they’re thinking about user experience, mobile responsiveness, aesthetics, function, and layout. All of those are crucial aspects to a successful website and improving user-friendliness and the appearance of your site can help you convert more leads. But growth of the business isn’t a design goal in traditional web design. If growth happens, it happens incidentally.
Another way that’s different from a traditional website design: you know whether it’s working. Growth-driven design uses data to determine growth and to track progress toward growth goals. These metrics can help you to determine the ROI of your web design, as well as optimize your design for the most conversions, leads, and growth.
Why Should You Care?
Very few business owners are going to say that they don’t want to grow their businesses, and those who do aren’t concerned with website design. But for the majority of businesses out there, growth is a constant and ever-elusive goal.
You want leads, right? You want new customers and to make more sales? Well, if your website isn’t helping you get those leads, you’re relying solely on your sales and marketing team… which you can’t expand until you have a bigger budget… which you need to make more money to have… See where this is going?
You already have a website. (If you don’t, just, wow.) Orienting your website toward business growth is going to drive leads, conversions, and calls, which is going to lead to more sales, more profits, and business growth. Why wouldn’t you use all the tools at your disposal?
How Do You Get a Growth-Driven Website Design?
Don’t just ask your IT guy to build you a growth-driven website. He’s not going to know what that means, and there are a lot of other reasons why you shouldn’t ask someone in-house to hard-code a unique website for you.
A run-of-the-mill website design company isn’t going to cut it, either. Why? Because they aren’t going to know the best practices for driving business growth, even if they are skilled at designing beautiful and functional websites.
First, look for a full-service marketing agency that calls itself a growth agency. If an agency isn’t promoting itself as a growth agency, it’s probably because that’s not their focus. Here are some other qualities to look for in a growth agency who can give you a high-quality, growth-driven website design:
They have a proven strategy—proven how? Through testimonials, references, and case studies of how they’ve helped their clients grow their businesses.
They care about metrics—metrics are how you know what’s working… and what’s not. A growth agency should care about metrics, understand how to read them, and be able to provide you with real, specific, relevant goals based on data.
They know your industry—a growth agency should have an understanding of what growth looks like in your industry. The B2B space isn’t the same as the B2C space, and the needs of an industrial manufacturer are going to be different than those of a residential developer.
Before we get started, I promise we’re not throwing shade. We love designers, and we know that a beautiful website goes a long way to establishing authority and building trust in any business. That said, what makes a good website is not design.
What makes a good website is functionality.
When it comes to digital marketing (which is what you’re doing if you’re building a website) your website is a tool. It matters that it looks good, but what’s more important is that it functions as a tool — driving new traffic and leads to your company, and helping your sales and marketing teams close new deals.
So, if your website is a digital market tool, then what makes a good website? Here are a few of the key components that add up to a quality website that will work for you, even when you’re off the clock:
If you learn only one thing from this blog, please let it be this: DO NOT have a developer custom-build you a website from the ground up.
Yes, they can do it. And yes, it might be a wonderful website.
It will never compete with the searchability and support that a more traditional CMS (Content Management System) can offer.
A developer might be able to design you a fantastic custom website. The problem is that if it’s custom-built, and doesn’t make use of a convenient, sustainable CMS, when that developer leaves for a new job, retires, or wins the lottery, it will be very difficult to change or update your website. With a custom-built site, only the developer will know how the site works, is built, and how changes can be made, which means your site is now effectively dead in the water.
Beyond that, CMSs offer some very attractive benefits, like SEO ranking power, immediate translation, security, and more.
Let’s back up for one second — what is a CMS?
A CMS or content management system is an application that allows you to publish and manage content on the web.
You’ve heard of WordPress? What about Joomla or Drupal?
You don’t have to choose WordPress, but you should use a reputable CMS to build and manage your website. Why?
A CMS supports a variety of website templates, it should include intuitive publishing and content management options, it allows you to easily format your website content however you please, and it’s customizable. Essentially, it’s the first building block of a quality website. It’s the foundation that your excellent website will be built on, which is why you need to choose a quality one to start with.
A CMS helps you keep your website secure, and it makes it sustainable. Choosing a reputable CMS is investing in the future of your website. The CMS will always be there, and it will always be simple to update, change, and alter as your business grows and changes too.
Mobile Responsive and Quick Load Time
Your website has to keep up. If users have to wait for your site to load, or if they can’t view it on their phones while they’re in line at the sandwich shop, you don’t have a good website.
Start by choosing a website theme that’s mobile responsive. Mobile traffic makes up more than half of all the internet traffic around the world. Believe us when we say it’s important.
If your website automatically resizes to fit any screen, seamlessly, you never lose a potential client for something as silly as, “I couldn’t read your site.”
In the same vein, your website has to load quickly. More than 50% of web browsers will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load the landing page. That means, no matter how beautiful your website is, if your consumer can’t see it in 3 seconds or less, they’ll never see it.
It’s easier than you’d think to improve load time. One simple solution is to just minimize image sizes on your site. We use a plugin called Smush to optimize and compress all of the images on our site, ensuring that our site both looks good and loads quickly too.
We’ve gotten through most of the technical aspects of what makes a good website. For all intents and purposes, the thing is built. But now you have to get people to come to your website. Blogging is the first, easiest way to do that.
Any good website should have blogging capability. When you can publish blogs to your website, you can create a steady stream of content to draw new traffic in. A blog is important for a number of reasons:
Regular posts help you rank for strategic keywords
You can share your content on social media platforms, engaging more potential leads
Blog posts help you teach and delight new leads with quality, relevant content that draws them through the buyer’s funnel.
When your site is seeing regular, qualified traffic, you can convert that traffic with great content offers and landing pages, collecting contact information and helping your sales and marketing teams close new deals. That all starts with your website’s blogging capability.
So, we’re making a good website that functions as a tool to convert leads and close deals, right? Right.
Well, SEO, or search engine optimization, is a key factor for any good website’s functionality.
Search engine optimization is the process of, well, optimizing, your website to attract the right attention from search engines like Google. When Google knows your site exists, then it will share you with potential leads who have a relevant interest in what you’re selling.
A website that is SEO-friendly has:
Content that’s written for target keywords. (You should do some keyword research to figure out what those keywords are first)
On-page SEO, like site titles, title tags, social media sharing buttons, and more.
The point, for the purpose of this blog, is that SEO is another way to make sure your site is getting plenty of the right traffic. The more optimized your site, the more likely you are to see high-converting traffic that cares about what you have to say.
A Digital Marketing Platform
In the end, a good website is one that functions as your company’s digital marketing platform. It should be the hub for any digital marketing effort you make:
Digital ads should lead back to a landing page on your website
Social media posts encourage followers to check out your blog
SEO efforts bring new, qualified traffic into your website
Your blog converts new visitors into leads
Content offers convert those leads into sales opportunities
And if you’re looking for a little help building a website that delivers leads? Get in touch with the Evenbound team! We live and breathe website design for inbound marketing, and we’d be happy to offer up a few pointers to help you improve your site for better performance.
The primary goal of any business activity is to increase profit, and your digital presence is no exception. Your B2B website exists to market your company, products, and services to potential future customers and convert them into leads. For many B2Bs, those visitors and conversions aren’t appearing. Here are five reasons why your B2B website isn’t generating any leads:
#1 Your Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly
Teens aren’t the only ones addicted to their cell phones. Nearly everyone is accessing the internet from mobile devices rather than desktop computers. What this means is that people are seeing your site on a variety of different screen sizes, and your website needs to be adaptable to any size screen. If not, your site will be too difficult to access and people are going to quickly navigate away.
#2 Your Website Is Old and Outdated
You’d think that at some point, we could stop saying it, but that day has never come: there are a lot of B2B websites that are old and out of date. Your website needs to be more than just a digital version of your current marketing materials, a few static pages with no way to get in contact except your phone number.
If you never ask your website visitors to become leads, you can’t convert them to leads. That’s why you need calls-to-action (a.k.a. CTAs) all over your site. A CTA is often a button or link that asks the reader to do something, to “request a quote” or “contact us.”
These calls to action need to address the content they are surrounded by as well as the stage of the buyer’s journey that your potential lead is in. Some prospects might not be ready to give your sales team a call—but they might be interested in an ebook with more information on the topic you addressed in your most recent blog, and gladly give you their email address in exchange for it.
#4 Your Website Doesn’t Use Any Landing Pages
If your paid search and PPC ads are directing clicks to your website’s home page, you’re missing out on huge opportunities to convert visitors to leads. Landing pages ensure that visitors who click on specific ads are seeing the specific content that is relevant to them.
Additionally, landing pages are essentially one big CTA—they limit options for the visitors to navigate away from the page, offer them the information they want, and include forms for visitors to enter their contact information and convert. They’re also crucial for tracking analytics and gating your content offers. Learn more in our post Landing Pages: Why Your B2B Manufacturing Website Needs Them.
#5 Your Site Content Wasn’t Written With SEO and Inbound Marketing Best Practices In Mind
Fredricks Design is a leading industrial design and engineering studio that creates, develops, and engineers innovative product solutions. They serve clients in a number of technologically advanced industries, including autonomous transportation, themed attraction, and healthcare.
Click to view the full “Before” image of the Fredricks site.
Because Fredricks Design serves cutting edge clients, they wanted a fresh website that would accurately reflect their ingenuity, expertise, and scalability in creating exceptional product solutions for a variety of industries. Their two existing websites were disjointed, and made use of a static one-page design that did not offer potential clients insight into what types of products they were capable of delivering.
Fredricks Design needed a single digital platform that would consistently represent their brand, showcase their innovative work, and draw in new, qualified clients.
The HA Digital Marketing Approach
One of our greatest challenges in approaching this new website design project was ensuring their site content would speak to the technical nature of Fredricks Design’s work, without alienating non-technical potential clients. Considering Fredricks’ reputation as a leader in industrial design and engineering, it was also important to merge content from two different sites into one new website that would maintain consistent branding, showcase their work effectively, and position them as a creative innovator exploring new frontiers in both design and engineering.
We started the website design process with a lengthy discovery session with the Fredricks Design team, to determine exactly what industries, and what people in those industries Fredricks Design most often speaks to. With clearly defined buyer personas in place, we were able to form a concrete strategy going forward for the Fredricks Design website and inbound marketing project.
Implementing Design with an Inbound Focus
Click to view the new Fredricks site!
While website design is paramount for any new project, it must also be backed and supported by helpful, clear content that gets the client’s message across.
We focused on creating site content that answered Fredricks Design’s buyer persona pain points by building out clear case studies, developing in-depth content offers, and converting some of Fredricks’ useful paper marketing content into digital resources that speak to key concepts in their industry and answer their client’s most frequently asked questions.
With informational, targeted content written, we were able to apply a next-level design that delivers in both aesthetic and function. The new Fredricks Design website matches their brand and style guidelines, and is modern, exciting, and highly visual.
Because the work that Fredricks Design does can seem nebulous to new clients, it was important to clearly define past projects to potential clients, so they could see real, tangible examples of the work Fredricks produces, and the results their innovations deliver. CAD-rendered drawings and actual sketches from past projects were used to define the site visually, and to create context for first-time site visitors.
To support the website’s new design, HA Digital Marketing helped round out Fredricks Design’s inbound marketing strategy by creating attractive content offers, writing optimized blogs, and incorporating calls-to-action and targeted landing pages to help convert new visitors. We worked to drive traffic to the new site by developing segmented email workflows, and implementing targeted paid and social advertising campaigns. We also helped Fredricks Design onboard to the HubSpot platform, as they were functioning without a CRM. These efforts, combined with their newly responsive, dynamic website, delivered the following results.
Just two months after its launch, the Fredricks Design website has seen exceptional results, and is providing measurable growth for the company. The new site has delivered:
143.45% more users
146.44% new users
138.92% more sessions
183% increase in overall site traffic
Since the new website launch, overall site traffic has nearly tripled, and organic traffic has more than doubled as well. Fredricks Design went from seeing about 50 to 100 organic visits per month, to an average of 200 visits per month in the two months following the launch. This marked bump in organic traffic points to a successful optimization of the website itself, as well as effective targeting of key phrases that Fredricks Design’s buyer personas are looking for.
Another metric that indicates content success is most viewed pages. After the home page, Fredricks Design’s most visited page is a blog written and optimized for key industry phrases by the HA Digital Marketing team, which tells us that our partnership with Fredricks Design is working to boost their site’s ranking, and provide helpful, engaging content for their visitors.
As a result of the increase in organic traffic the website is providing, Fredricks Design has already converted one organic lead, nurtured them through the inbound marketing funnel using the HubSpot CRM, and closed the lead as a successful sale. For the notoriously slow-moving B2B world, this is an impressively short sales cycle, and an excellent example of how a well-designed website, a targeted inbound marketing strategy, and a savvy sales team can work together to effectively generate and close on warm leads.
Inbound Marketing Growth in 2019
In just two months, the Fredricks Design website has more than doubled its traffic, bringing awareness of the company and their services to a wider pool of qualified potential clients. Beyond this initial metric success, the website has already begun to prove its value as a tool for legitimate business growth. With continued implementation of their inbound marketing strategy, and support from Evenbound, the Fredricks Design team is well on their way to exceptional growth in 2019.
Here at Evenbound, we use WordPress for our own website and blog, and we almost always recommend our clients do so as well. For the purposes of digital marketing, WordPress really can’t be beat, and as an all-around website building tool, most of the world agrees. More than 74 million sites on the internet are built through WordPress, making it by far the most popular content management system (CMS) available to anyone. In case you’re still not buying it, think about your favorite big-name websites: CNN, The New York Times, Ebay, BBC America, Bloomberg America, and even Facebook Newsroom. They all use WordPress. Oh and we forgot one: Beyoncé. That’s right, Queen Bey herself uses WordPress to host her content, post recent updates, and keep her millions of fans informed.
All of these major players didn’t just choose WordPress willy-nilly, either, they chose it for a reason. WordPress is easy to use, affordable, and already optimized for SEO, making it an obvious choice for a number of businesses, celebrities, and news stations looking for a comprehensive CMS that’s totally customizable. But we don’t want you to just pick up WordPress because it’s what Beyoncé uses, so we’re going to give you all the reason why WordPress is the right choice for us, and for our digital marketing clients:
One of the most obvious benefits of WordPress is that it’s free. While there are costs and fees associated with using WordPress if you choose to host with them, or upgrade to a higher-level template, anyone can create a WordPress site for free if they want to. What’s more, WordPress offers two versions of their services: WordPress.com for those of us who need something that’s easy and functional for a personal blog or something that’s relatively small, and WordPress.org for people who plan on hosting their website, purchasing a domain name, and running a business through their website. Either way, a WordPress site can be designed and built for little to no money at all.
Simple, Easy Hosting
Another benefit of WordPress is total hosting flexibility. Almost every hosting service out there supports WordPress, and if you have your own server space, you can self-host easily. There’s no trouble with finding a compatible server or host, because it’s built on free, open-source code that’s easily hosted anywhere.
Optimized for Search Engines
One really attractive benefit that’s made WordPress the obvious choice for us is that Google loves WordPress sites. WordPress uses exceptionally clean, easy-to-read code, which makes it simple for Google to index and crawl their sites. WordPress also features a number of plugins that help you optimize your site yourself. The Yoast SEO Plugin is sort of the gold standard for search engine optimization. It allows you to customize your site title, meta description, title tag, and keyword, and then gives you an indication of how well that page will rank. Best of all, it’s free too.
Easy to Maintain and Update
WordPress is a foolproof CMS that anyone can handle. We often have clients who would like to have control of their sites to be able to post their own company updates and make changes to content when it’s necessary, and WordPress makes it easy for them to do so. It’s easy to pick up and understand, and you don’t need to know any code to make updates or post new content. WordPress offers us a great option to hand over to our clients, as it’s not intimidating, and empowers them to be able to use their own websites however they see fit. You can also set security updates and maintenance updates to occur automatically, so you know your site is always well-protected and technologically up-to-date.
Tons of Beautiful Design Options
More than just functionality, WordPress offers a ton of beautiful, clean design options. In a world where appearance and design can make the difference between you and the competition, WordPress makes it easy to stand out. They offer a number of customizable templates to best display your content, whether it’s a weekly blog or an e-commerce site.
Fully Responsive Themes and Mobile Support
WordPress is up on each and every one of the Google Algorithm’s preferences, which is why they offer a number of responsive themes that scale to fit the size of any screen. What’s more, all WordPress sites are supported on mobile devices, meaning you won’t miss out on traffic anywhere.
Flexibility and Customization
WordPress offers more than 50,000 free plugins, which means if there’s anything you want your site to do, that you can’t do as-is, there’s probably a plugin to help you along. Whether you’re looking to embed PDFs or add in another feature, like landing pages or calls to action, WordPress plugins are the solution, ensuring you can always shift or change your site’s capabilities to fit your unique needs. Again, no coding necessary.
WordPress actually started out as a blogging platform, which means content marketing is in the CMS’s blood. It’s one of the best content management systems for blogging out there, which is why you’ll see a ton of big-name news sites using it for their content development. WordPress not only supports blogs, but makes it easy for you to update and change them, schedule them into the future, and share your blog posts to your social media accounts and regular followers.
Easily Connects to Social Media
When it comes to content marketing, promotion is equally as important as development, and WordPress knows that. They make it easy to link each of your company’s social media accounts to your WordPress site, so you can easily share content and updates, and your site visitors can share, comment, like and otherwise engage with anything they really like on your site.
Analytics and Tracking
As digital marketers, analytics and tracking are our end-all-be-all. Analytics tell us where we’re doing things right, and where we need to improve, so we love that WordPress offers those numbers freely and easily. Any WordPress site comes with an analytics panel that will tell you how many people have visited your site, and how often. With the addition of one or two easy plugins, you can also track the success of your calls-to-action and landing pages, to see which of those are performing best, and which need a few tweaks. If you’re looking to optimize the traffic to your site, WordPress is a powerful, free tool to take advantage of.
For us, WordPress makes our lives easier by making site migration a breeze. A number of our clients come to us with a clunky, older website that has content they’d like to preserve, but isn’t updated, user-friendly or built in a modern CMS. WordPress makes it really easy to migrate that old site onto their framework, and give it an immediate facelift and boost in usability, without losing any of the content or authority of the old site.
Offers Familiarity for Consumers
Consumers love a website they don’t have to think about. Since WordPress has been around for so long and is so prolific, most internet users intuitively know how a WordPress site functions, even if they don’t know the site is built in WordPress. The menu placement is familiar, it’s easy to navigate, it loads quickly, and consumers will find content where they expect it to be, which means people will be at ease on your WordPress site. They’ll be comfortable there, and more likely to remain on the page if they already know how the site works.
The ultimate benefit of WordPress is its longevity. It’s already shown that it can adapt to changing consumer and internet demands, and with more than 74 million sites, WordPress has asserted itself as a CMS that’s here to stay. You don’t have to worry about it going out of style, or becoming irrelevant. WordPress regularly updates to maintain current code standards and will continue to do so, making it a safe, long-term investment for your website. It’s easily customized for any new thing you’d like to do with your website, and best of all, it’s Google-approved.
In the end, when we talk about WordPress, the first description that comes to mind is easy. It’s easy to use, easy to implement, easy to change, easy to track, and easy to update. And if you’re considering digital marketing at all, WordPress is definitely the first CMS to consider. It comes with a ton of SEO benefits built-in, and you’ll be able to integrate any and all content marketing best practices with the touch of a button.
If you think WordPress might be the right CMS for you, but you’re not quite sure how to get started, get in touch. We manage our own website on WordPress, as well as most of our clients’ WordPress websites, so we can give you the help you need. Check out the case study below for more information about how a great website can help you move to the top of the market.