Website Design Checklist: Does Your Site Have What it Takes?

Website Design Checklist: Does Your Site Have What it Takes?

Website Design Checklist: Does Your Site Have What it Takes?

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-Responsiveness

It’s 2019. Your site needs to be mobile-responsive. Click To Tweet More than 60 percent of all searches happen on mobile devices, and more than 77 percent of adults in the world own a smartphone. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on a ton of traffic.

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.

✔️ Fast Load Times

If your site takes too long to load, your design isn’t effective. According to HubSpot, most mobile users expect a website to load in less than four seconds. Not only that, but a one-second delay in page loading means a reduction in page views by 11 percent and a seven percent reduction in conversions. That’s a big deal.

To keep load times fast, make sure that you incorporate best practices, like enabling browser caching, optimizing your images and CSS, and controlling when external Javascript files load.

✔️ Blog

A good website without a blog is like a new car with no gas—it’s not going anywhere, and you’re not going to get to show it off. Click To Tweet Why? Because content is one of the main ways to drive organic traffic from search engines to your website.

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.

✔️ SEO-Friendly

Your website should also be SEO-friendly. SEO (search engine optimization) is another critical factor in getting ranked by search engines and appearing in organic search results for your desired search terms. A good website is going to be SEO-friendly by incorporating keyword-targeted content, relevant, keyword-optimized image alt tags, and on-page SEO including site tiles, social media sharing buttons, title tags, etc.

✔️ Reliable CMS (Content Management System)

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.

Did your site come up a little short after reading that checklist? We’d love to help. As an inbound marketing and growth agency, beautiful, functional websites are what we do every day. Let’s chat.

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What Makes A Good Website? [Hint: It’s Not Design]

What Makes A Good Website? [Hint: It’s Not Design]

What Makes A Good Website? [Hint: It’s Not Design]

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:

Quality CMS

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.

unmaintainable-codeA 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?

All are very famous CMS platforms. We use WordPress, for a lot of key reasons.

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.

We cannot stress enough the importance of using a quality CMS to support your website. Click To Tweet

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.”

this-is-your-customer-on-slow-load-time

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.

Blogging Capability

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.

The more regularly you blog, and the more regularly you share those blogs, the more traffic your site will see. Click To Tweet The more traffic your site has, the greater its opportunity to live up to its potential as a digital marketing tool for your company.

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.

SEO-Friendly

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.
  • Relevant, keyword-optimized alt tags.

This is a very paired-down explanation of SEO, so if you want to know more about how to actually optimize your site, head here.

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 that’s why we say that what makes a good website isn’t design, it’s functionality. While a great website will also feature quality design, what your website looks like shouldn't be your top priority. Click To TweetInstead, focus on how your website can help your company close more deals, and grow overall. If it can do that, then you know you’ve made a good website.

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.

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Optimizing Your B2B Manufacturing Website Page Content

Optimizing Your B2B Manufacturing Website Page Content

Optimizing Your B2B Manufacturing Website Page Content

Last month, we talked about why inbound marketing matters for B2Bs, specifically industrial manufacturers, and in that post, how crucial it is for B2Bs to have digital content that is optimized for search (if you missed Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers, read it here). Your website is your company’s primary representation in the digital world, and it’s important that your content is optimized to best attract future customers.

In case your manufacturing page content could use a little love, here are a few tips to optimizing B2B page content for the clients you actually want:

Website Page Content Is Not Print Marketing Copy

Many B2B manufacturers make the mistake of treating their website like it’s a brochure or flyer. Some even go so far as to directly copy all of the content from their print marketing materials right onto their new websites. While you might be able to gather some useful information and content ideas from your current print marketing copy, you shouldn’t just copy it. It’s not designed for the way people read websites. Click To Tweet

Additionally, digital content has many more capabilities than print, including linking, embedding video, and searchability. These are all capabilities you should take advantage of, as interactive page elements like links and video work well to gain viewers’ attention.

How Do You Optimize Manufacturing Page Content?

Like all digital content, your website page content should use SEO principles, specifically, by including the keywords that relate to that page and your business. These should be words and phrases your ideal customers are typing in when they search for your products or services. (For more on why SEO matters for B2Bs, click here.)

But unlike blog posts, content offers, and other digital content, the purpose and tone depends upon the type of page:

  • Blogs and the like are primarily informative, used to refresh your site’s content, optimize your site for relevant keywords, and provide prospective customers with information they need about your product, service, or industry.
  • Website page content is also informative, but it’s more explicitly promotional—it informs prospective customers about your specific products and services, as well as your company itself. Your page content needs to tell website visitors what you do, what you sell, how you do it, and who you are, and you need to do it in a way that speaks to the kinds of customers you want to attract.

How?

To truly optimize your page content, you need to have comprehensive pages on your products or services. Click To TweetThose pages need to include the keywords your future customers are searching. You also need to segment your customer base and create paths specifically tailored to each type of buyer.

Check out how we’ve optimized our site for our target buyers: in the main navigation bar under “Who We Help” we have each of our client segments— Manufacturing & Industrial Marketing, Developer & Home Builder Marketing, and Professional Services & Small Business Marketing.

 

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For each of those segments, we have page content that addresses how our inbound marketing and growth services will help clients in those industries meet and exceed their marketing and growth goals. These pages include links to relevant case studies, testimonials, and clients who are in the specific customer segment, to demonstrate our experience in the needs of the industry.

If your B2B manufacturing website is outdated or failing to generate leads, your page content could be part of the problem. Evenbound has experience working with B2B and industrial manufacturing clients to optimize page content and implement inbound marketing practices and digital content strategy, and we can create a website that will generate leads and foster growth. Interested in learning more? Let’s start the conversation.

Not ready to chat yet? No worries! Check out the case study below to see how our process delivers legitimate results for our manufacturing clients:

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Getting your Home Services Website Prepped for Summer

Getting your Home Services Website Prepped for Summer

Getting your Home Services Website Prepped for Summer

For most home service providers (snow removal excepted), summer is the busy season. In preparation for summer, there are a few things you’ll want to do to your site to bring in new jobs and ensure everything is running smoothly.

Perform an SEO checkup

Website maintenance isn’t the fun part of your job, but now is the time to do it, before you get busy. You won’t have time during the summer to fix any issues, and resolving them now ensures that you’re ranking as high as possible in search engine results, and therefore getting found by potential customers. Update page metadata, fix broken links, and check alt tags. Not sure how to do an SEO checkup? Read our SEO Site Checkup checklist to get you started.

Have detailed, engaging service pages

Customers hire you for your services, so your home services site needs to thoroughly describe and explain the services you offer. Your service pages should define the service and demonstrate its value, as well as explain your process and how you differ from, and exceed, the competition. If you have a generic “Services” page that’s just a bulleted list, customers aren’t going to be engaged, plus, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to use keywords. (Here’s how to write engaging service pages your clients will care about.)

Publish timely content

To attract clients looking for summer services, write content relevant to your services and the time of year. This is where your site’s blog comes into play. If, for example, you’re a roofer, some summer-oriented content might include “Why summer is the best time to get a new roof” or “Best roofing materials for keeping your house cool in the summer.” Of course, it’s also crucial that you promote the content on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and, if you’re using it (you should be) Houzz.

Invest in paid search and social media ads

Pay-per-click (PPC) and social media advertising are some of the best methods to generate traffic for your home services site. Social media ads can be targeted to people in your area who may be in need of your services, and PPC campaigns that include your location in the keywords can be highly effective.

Putting in the work now to prep your site for summer can make this busy season your busiest yet, in the best way possible. Ensuring that your SEO is on point, beefing up your service pages, and publishing and promoting content that will entice potential customers to give you a call are all ways to make your site work for you to bring in leads.

If you’re interested in learning more about how your home services website can bring in more leads and keep you busy this summer, we can help—get in touch!

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