Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How To Help Your Website Bat a Thousand

You don’t have to be a web design expert to understand that effective sites don’t just happen. Simply building one won’t create marketing magic and draw in customers. The good news is that knocking out a home run with your website (and engaging customers) probably isn’t as tough as you might think.

Thomas Holland, president of the online marketing agency The Dark Horse Group, recommends some simple tips for an improved site.

  • Add a call-to-action offer near the top or on the sidebar of every page. The offer can be the same throughout, but make it compelling enough that visitors willingly leave their contact information.
  • Update on a regular basis. Don’t treat your site like a static digital brochure. Instead, think of it as a dynamic communication tool. Regularly injecting new content will keep the conversation between you and your visitors flowing.
  • Make sure your design is responsive to mobile devices. Most people surf the Web on their phones, so don’t miss opportunities due to a poor mobile experience.
  • Aim for a clean design. A professional-looking logo is a must—nothing drives away traffic faster (never to return) than a cluttered website and lackluster logo.
  • Link to social media sites (and vice versa). Don’t isolate visitors—utilize traffic and sharing behavior using social media links.
According to Holland, traffic reporting and analytics tools are also vital to make sure the site is working for visitors and your business, and to help uncover potential breakdowns and opportunities for improvement. There are effective options available for free that, in most cases, only require adding a line of code. Reporting is often just as simple, and provides unique insights that can inform critical tweaks that can lead to more engagement and sales.

Identifying the outcomes or conversions you want, such as form submissions, sales or phone calls, is also important. Tracking form submissions typically requires adding a ‘thank you’ page and an additional element in the form’s code. (You may need help with this, but it’s worth it.) “To track sales, your shopping cart system will usually have an option to integrate with Google Analytics and automatically take care of reporting,” noted Holland. “For phone calls, services like Callrail or LogMyCalls have integration tools to set up tracking numbers that will integrate with Google Analytics.”

Finally, don’t overlook the key role content plays in generating the statistics you hope to see, particularly having the right amount of content. “Too much content will drive traffic away, but too little will have visitors questioning your legitimacy. Your website should have all of the information the media would need to write a story about you and your business: who, what, when, where, why and how.”

Lastly, take particular care with the ‘about’ page, Holland warns. Although the ‘product,’ ‘services’ and ‘contact’ pages are obviously important, this page is the most critical. It tells your story—and can play a significant role in transforming prospects into customers.


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