Is Your DIY Website Design Causing You Problems with SEO?
The most commonly discussed element in SEO is backlinks. For a long time, backlinks were the central feature of SEO, determining whether your website design would achieve top rankings. Backlinks are still a crucial factor in the process, but there are other parts that play a key role. How does a DYI Website Design stand up against a Custom Web Design?
On-page optimization has grown in importance in recent years, with a negative user experience damaging any chances of long-term success. If your website has not been optimized properly, Google can detect this both through their crawling and the response of searchers who visit your pages. So, what are the website factors you need to consider for effective SEO? Want more info on On-Page Optimization?
Website loading speed is not as commonly discussed as it should be. The time it takes for a page to load has a huge impact on reported user experience, with a matter of seconds between a positive and negative impression. Google have a page speed tool for testing loading times, while there are additional alternatives helping to get a broad picture. In the result of a problem, look at image optimization, quality of hosting, and using a CDN like Cloudflare.
The content on a page is of great importance, but it doesn’t need to be the same style in every instance. The best type of content for SEO will provide the bulk of searchers with exactly what they are looking for. This concept is called search intent. For example, some keywords will require a detailed article that goes into a lot of depth or niches only require a step by step guide that can be short and to the point. At the end of the day what is the traffic to your website looking for in return? Do they want quick answers? Or do they want to gain a deeper and thorough understanding of a specific subject. Get to know your traffic and your target.
Other queries, though, might only require a short answer to satisfy the search query. It is helpful to use your target keyword within the title and copy, while also including related terms. Dwell time is another SEO factor, so elements like video content can help increase the time spent on site.
Mobile First vs Responsive
Google has switched to mobile-first indexing, reacting to the increasing popularity in mobile usage. If your site does not offer an optimal experience for mobile users, you will struggle to maintain a great ranking. Most modern sites will offer responsive design, so they work across all types of devices. It is important to test your site using different devices, though, and run pages through the Google Mobile-Friendly tool. A great mobile experience won’t just replicate the desktop, but will instead be catered to the mobile browsing experience.
Here at Green Thoughts Consulting we find many clients have out dated and non-mobile friendly websites. Having a website in this state is hurting you more than you know. It’s simple really. How much do you make on your average sale? If a client ready to buy comes to your site and can’t see it due to issues with mobile etc they bounce or leave and then find a competitor. If we can redesign your site and get you just 2-5 new customers due to the design changes and optimization what is the worth to you based on your average sale?
Test your websites mobile friendliness with Google’s very own test here.
Social media is a useful tool for promoting your website and blog content. Users might like and share your posts, leading to others seeing your content. This process can lead to greater visibility and engagement, creating backlinks for your site. The importance of social media for SEO is still debated.
However, the level of importance Google places on social links is not worth worrying about as there are plenty of indirect benefits to social promotion. The targeted backlinks you can gain on other platforms like industry blogs, often resulting from social media marketing, will play a huge role in ranking a page.
The URL structure might seem minor, but it can have a high impact on SEO and click-through rate. Some content management systems use an awkward URL structure that isn’t optimal. These URLs might be long and feature dates or random digits to make them unique. This type of URL can negatively impact click-through rate, with the search engines lowering your ranking as a result. Various tests have shown shorter URLs are most effective, so try to use a keyword phrase that sums up the article content.
Bruce Clay has a classic post on SEO Siloing. It’s a must read really.
Internal linking helps to pass authority around your site, increasing the rankings of certain pages. Wikipedia is the best known example of effective internal linking, with related pages helping users navigate around the site. This process also helps lower the bounce rate, avoiding a common SEO issue. Outbound links can be used to show the topical relevance of your content, with links typically going to authority sites within your industry. If you are looking for a great primer on internal linking vs external linking look here.
On-page optimization can play a key role in an SEO campaign. Many site owners focus exclusively on the off-page factors, attempting to gain increased numbers of backlinks. Some quick changes to the way a site is set up, along with adaptations on individual pages, can often be enough to satisfy the search engines and individual visitors. When you can offer an exceptional user experience that satisfies the point of the original search query, you stand a great chance of maintaining top rankings into the future.
It’s 2019, and you need custom web design now more than ever. Having a customized website instead of a cookie-cutter version can make all the difference for your company. We’ve noticed tons of reasons why customization is the way to go, but we’ve listed a few of our favorites below.
The traffic to your website, those are actually potential customers, make a decision about your brand and company in seconds, you can read more about that here. Therefore it’s more important than ever to have a unique and well laid out web design.
In what follows we will hit on four areas:
Everyone has a website…
Beyond Basic Choices
Flexibility and Room to Grow
Everyone Has a Website. Not Everyone Has a Good One.
Years ago, having a website meant that you were a professional. You knew exactly what you were doing. These days, everyone has a website. Simply having your own domain isn’t enough anymore. Lots of people have their own domains because it’s easier than ever to get one. If having your own website won’t set you apart, then what will? Custom web design. Customization will give you the competitive edge that you need to stand out from the crowd.
It’s true. I can identify a website template do it yourself site in seconds and so can your visitors. It was good enough to have your cousin or brother design your site when it was a startup, it was good enough to have a WordPress do it yourself template when you were a year or so in, but now things are getting serious. If you want to impress and take your game to the next level it’s time to get a custom design for your web presence.
Go Beyond Basic Choices
You’ve probably had some experiences with premade site design. These services let users choose from a bunch of premade templates. Once you’ve picked your template, you don’t have much room for customization. You can make a few changes here and there, but that’s as far as your options go. Nowadays with custom web design, you get all the choices you could possibly want. From your overall design to your tiniest changes, custom web design lets you tailor your website to your exact needs.
This is an important point because it allows you to find out what your audience wants and customize your web design to that audience. A template is made to meet the needs of the masses, but your audience isn’t just the masses, unless you are Walmart or the New York Yankees. Rather, your audience and your targeted visitors are qualified traffic based on the key words you have worked hard to rank for and the social media presence you have grown over time. Don’t waste all that effort on a design meant for just anybody.
Get a professional to help you out so that the qualified traffic you are gathering converts at a higher rate through the use of custom design techniques. Time and time again I have seen a custom site convert almost 25 to 50% better when optimized properly.
Improve Your On Page SEO
Did you know that having a customized website helps your search engine optimization? It’s true. Search engines have to decide which website is more relevant than others for any given search. Customized websites do better with the algorithms, primarily because the designer is aware of the on page SEO best practices. To a search engine, a custom website has more professional power than a standardized website. Plus, you’ll also get more control over your keyword placement, which boosts your SEO even more.
The idea here is that On Page Search Engine Optimization is most often done for you with a custom website where as a do it yourself design will undoubtedly lack some of the on page SEO nuances that experts are familiar with and in the end you cost yourself traffic and thus leads and eventually customers.
Improving your SEO can be done on your own, but let’s be honest it’s a technical field for someone that doesn’t understand web design to be charging into. Plus the time it will take you to learn the technical search engine methods and best practicesis probably better served by making money for your business in the area you love and know.
You can check your SEO right now in the box below.
SEO Site Audit Tool
Flexibility and Room to Grow
We already mentioned that custom web design gives you options. Well, it also gives you scalability. Premade templates don’t give you much room to grow. Perhaps they’ll update their templates once every few years or so. Customization, however, can give you all the flexibility that you need.
Your web design team can help you anticipate business growth and increased traffic. When you discuss your goals and concerns with your team ahead of time, you can make the most of your website.
While the average website is redesigned every 2.67 years having a team in place that can easily scale your existing site and keep the backend of that site together is important. It’s a value added that should not be overlooked.
What if I can’t afford a custom web design?
This is a common question we get. It usually goes something like, “how much is this gonna cost me?”. When it comes to a custom design the answer is usually a lot.
If you would like to explore other options for affordable web design just follow our link to the overview we wrote on that topic.
One of the most common questions I get asked is “how much will it cost me?” or something akin to that sentiment.
The underlying question is can I get a quality web design that is affordable, meets my needs, and is easy to use.
Just last week a woman named Debbie from Texas called and asked if there were any affordable web design options.
She explained she was running a small business that sold plants to local vendors and needed an online presence. She was disheartened by the price of web designers and likewise overwhelmed by using a website builder.
One of her grandchildren had made a valiant attempt at designing her website, however, as is often the case it was lacking in technical skill and common web design must-haves.
The above story may change names, locations, and other variables, but it is all too common. I want you to know there are solutions. We have listed the three primary options below and detailed them throughout this article.
Here’s the tl;dr version of the affordable web design options available to all.
Key Article Takeaways
Embrace affordable web design options as they are not going anywhere.
Website builders and DIY Web Design such as WordPress.org will increase in popularity.
There are three main category options for affordable web design:
just go for cheap as you may cost yourself more than you saved.
Remember a web design is an assetfor your business or startup.
The Importance of Your Website
How important is your website to your business or your
potential business launch?
This question must be asked when evaluating what is meant by affordable web design.
For example, an online business that sells items via eCommerce will undoubtedly require a website that does what it is required to do, which sells a product.
On the other hand, a consultant that is just starting out like Blankenship Process Improvement Consulting may need nothing more than a one to three-page website design that is both affordable and easy to update.
When you sit down to decide what affordable web design means to you it is imperative to take into consideration the importance of your website and its image to your customers.
According to the eCommerce Foundation, 88% of consumers will research product information before they make a purchase online or in the store. This is huge.
In the end, a web design for any business or individual wishing to sell, motivate or be seen is essential and important as 93% of business decisions start with a search engine.
5 things a website
can do for you:
Creates a Sense of Professionalism
Ease of Access for Potential Visitors
Low Cost per Impression Marketing
Positive ROI (if done right)
An Asset to your Company
What does an Affordable Web Design mean?
Affordable web design will differ for us all.
If you are a serial entrepreneur and you are looking to
create your 17th website affordable web design will have a
completely different meaning than a local small business owner that sells craft
beer, owns a bar, or paints houses for a living.
Additionally, if you are a startup consultant that needs a one-page website with very little else, then affordability should and will mean something different for you.
However, if you’re average sale price is high you might want to spend a little more for a higher quality website than a do it yourself design.
Either way, we’ve got you covered at Green Thoughts.
The increase in technological website design advances and
improvements to builders has opened a lot of doors.
In what follows affordable means there are varying levels of options that will have a range in price from zero dollars in the case of some free website builders to a few thousand dollars in the case of one-time fee affordable web design by an agency.
So what are your options when looking at affordable web design?
The appeal of a website builder is you do not need any HTML, CSS, or other design coding skills to create a website.
The various builders have a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) interface that is usually a drag and drop, such as in the video below, that enables literally anyone to create a website in a matter of minutes or days.
My suggestion to those that find these website builders the
right affordable option is to take advantage of the various trial periods they
offer and use them to simply play around.
Thus, WordPress, like the website builders mentioned above, deserves
a post all its own in this discussion.
However, WordPress too has some of the favorable features you will find with website builders and it can be just as if not more affordable as an affordable web design option.
WordPress requires another level of computer expertise as you will need to install WordPress yourself (free).
Purchase hosting for the website ($2-$30 a month).
Purchase a domain name ($15 to $20 a year).
Pick a theme or design type for the site (free and paid).
You will also need to maintain and secure the site with WordPress plugins (cost varies).
When discussing the cost associated with WordPress remember that there are similar costs with a website builder as mentioned below.
In the case of website builders and WordPress, you will still want to purchase your own domain name. You may need to pay for apps and/or plugins to increase functionality.
Finally, don’t forget the website builder monthly fee.
I personally love WordPressand design in it frequently for small business clients that are seeking an affordable web design option.
In the end, a WordPress.org website will cost you less than a website builder over a 2 to 3 year period.
However, this presupposes that you will not be spending loads of cash on plugins and customized themes. Let’s take a closer look at these numbers. I’ve taken the liberty of saying the average person will buy a customized theme and utilize at least one paid plugin on most platforms and I’ve chosen the middle plan on most builders.
It’s important to remember our topic is affordable web design so I’m not including customizations in this option that might make a website far nicer and more user-friendly.
While these are interesting numbers the question of quality and finished product still lingers. Can you or one of your associates build a website that converts and looks “good enough”?
Let’s turn to our third final affordable web design option.
Hire an Affordable Web Design Company
One-time fee Affordable Web Design
Yet another affordable web design option is hiring a one-time fee web design company or freelancer.
I would encourage you if you go this route to avoid the
average freelancer and instead find a quality website design company.
I have run into far too many clients over the years
attempting to salvage a web design that an overseas freelancer took on and left
the business owner in a state of disarray.
My advice is USA/UK Designers with a track record.
Freelancers aside, what is a one-time fee affordable web design?
Essentially you will hire a company to provide you with a complete end to end website design that is cost-effective as you define it.
These sites will usually range from$500 to $3000 give or take.
In the end, you will receive a fully functional and completed website design with a “how to use it” discussion from the designer.
The website may or may not be coded in WordPress and thus
may or may not have a content management system.
I implore you to request a CMS or content management software
in your affordable design.
I also encourage you
to request training before signoff on the project.
You will need a website that you can easily update and care for. You will need to add and remove content from time to time.
Here’s a list of
things you should ask for in a One-Time Fee Website Design
Require a content management software
Is there Training on the use of the CMS
Questions about Length of Maintenance Help
Questions about Ongoing fees such as hosting
Does the company provide installments?
Most website design companies will not provide ongoing
maintenance for clients aside from a window of help after the design is
marketing agencies will often provide an ongoing website maintenance package
for a monthly fee.
It never hurts to ask and search the web for quotes on maintenance
What to look for in a
Backup and Automation
Fixes and Regular Repair
Responsive User Interface Changes
These packages can vary wildly in price based on numerous options such as your specific content needs, changes to headers and images, the addition of landing pages or simply other pages, code updates, number of plugins, etc.
However, most packages for an affordable web design that is smaller and in the starter site category will range from $75 dollars a month to $150 a month.
If you would like a quote on your website maintenance please contact us.
Monthly Subscription Design Services
Yet another affordable web design option is that of hiring a website design company that will then charge you an ongoing monthly rate or subscription for the site.
There are pros and cons to the affordable web design subscription approach.
A lower initial outlay of cash
Better website design than a DIY design
Often no need for a maintenance package
The company has a vested interest in your ongoing satisfaction
You can test your business idea without going all-in
The website design company owns your website for
Higher long term price point than a one-time fee
Contract Issues: increase in monthly rate etc.
As you can see this affordable web design option is not for everyone, however, it is a valid choice that can save money during the early phase of a business and in doing so improve cash flows to other vital marketing channels.
Expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $200 per month for a subscription website plan.
These plans should include hosting, some form of maintenance, onboarding, and training with the companies content management software.
There’s a lot to like about this option for those short on capital.
One consideration to think through with an affordable web design that is subscription-based isthe true cost of a monthly subscription.
These subscription website
design agreements have the potential to lock you out of your site if you can’t
make a payment.
Most companies will create a monthly price point for you
based on a term of payments prior to you actually “owning” the site contents.
Affordable Web Design Subscription Example
For example, a website design firm that regularly designs websites that are in the $2000 dollar one-time fee range.
In a subscription plan, we would for this type of site the total cost before ownership would carry an increase in the total price.
The $2000 one-time fee site would become a $2750 to $3000 dollar site with terms of 12 to 36 months depending on where you wanted to be per month.
Hypothetical Price Points for Monthly Subscription Plans
While $97 dollars a month looks good for a higher quality web design over time you are paying for a much more for the same website.
Essentially, you are being charged interest; however, it provides a more affordable monthly payment.
Imagine a scenario where you become cash strapped and you can’t pay the subscription vendor you will have no recourse aside from working things out with the website design company.
My advice would be to read, or have a lawyer read, the terms
carefully before signing an agreement.
Make sure you understand your obligations and your
installment payment terms.
Request detailed documentation on maintenance plans and what will or will not trigger price increases.
A monthly subscription website design can prove to be a very affordable option that balances risk and reward for a company that is unable to do it yourself and is not able to outlay the cash to pay all at once.
How much will an affordable web design cost?
Obviously the answer to this question will depend on your needs. However, you should be able to get a website up with anywhere from 0 dollars to 999 dollars when starting out.
As you can see it is not impossible to find affordable web design. It’s also important to remember these prices include intangibles such as less time burden on your part with an agency one-time design or a subscription plan.
In my own business, I know how much money I can make in an hour of work. When I am considering doing something myself or outsourcing it I simply ask if the number of hours it will take me to do it is more or less than I can make in that time period.
If it is even close I outsource it most of the time.
The balance between cost, ease of use, and need.
When considering your needs for website design and particularly so when looking for an affordable web design option one must consider the related concepts of cost, ease of use and website need.
One should aim to find an area on the chart that will satisfy all three needs the most optimally, however, we don’t live in a theoretical Venn diagram world.
So I’m providing a few insights below to help you find the
sweet spot for your need.
How to know if you’re getting a
good deal- Cost
I’ve already discussed cost and price to an extent in the
charts above. However, I’m asked
regularly if x or y is a good deal.
Just last week a blog reader asked if I thought a college student’s proposal for a WordPress site was a good deal at a particular price point.
As I’ve mentioned above affordable is about more than just cost.
Yes, it involves the question of can I afford the cost at this point in my life/business, but it also involves asking if the quality of the provided outcome or in this case web design will be high enough.
Sadly, no one can
truly answer this question for you.
It’s something you will need to sort through using the
charts and tools listed above.
In the end, if you are comfortable with the price, you feel good about the business or person you are thinking of hiring, and have a real need then go for it.
Which affordable web design option is the easiest to use- Ease of Use
Ease of use can be a very subjective concept. However, this is another question I’m asked
regularly. The problem with the question
is what’s easy for one may not be easy for another. There are website builder sites out there
that have run studies on ease of use with volunteers to provide statistical
data on the outcomes.
Interested in a data-driven approach to ease of use? Check out Website Builder Expert for an overview of how they conduct research.
In our own rankings and reviews of website builders, we took the approach of taking an average for particular indicators as ranked by 15 such websites. Essentially we aggregate ease of use across multiple sites.
Five Steps to Find Affordable Web Design Ease of Use
Get a free or trial plan or watch tutorials of
Rate the Ease of Use on a scale of 1-10
Take Notes and write down what you liked and
Test another product.
Repeat until you feel comfortable with a
There is just no
replacement for testing and trying out a product on your own. It’s why people lay on mattresses before
making a purchase.
That being said in my personal opinion the average internet user will be fine with Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, or WordPress. I believe they all have comparable ease of use.
The Relative Importance- Need
Your personal or businesses need to have a website and the importance of having one that does a particular action or provides a particular feature is important to consider when balancing cost, ease of use, and need.
This need will influence the level of help or DYI you may be
able to go forth with as a purchaser.
5 Simple Steps to
Setup Author Tracking in WordPress with Google Analytics
Are you interested in tracking your blog authors in google analytics it can happen with MonsterInsights? This is an important metric for those that have multiple authors posting regularly. You will be able to identify and those that stand out from the crowd and really produce.
In the article that follows I’ll show you how to setup Author Tracking in WordPress with Google Analytics in 5 Simple Steps with MonsterInsights Pro Plugin.
While the free version of MonsterInsights is a wonderful tool that provides a dashboard view of your Google Analytics, see below for a screenshot, the various paid versions are much more powerful. In particular, you will need the pro version or higher for author tracking. However, it comes with so much more than just author tracking!
Additionally, the Pro Version, which is needed to track author posting, however, it includes features such as a dashboard widget, page insights, date range history, search console reports, scroll tracking, EU Compliance, Affiliate Links, Ecommerce Reporting, Custom dimensions, category/tag tracking and more.
In order to activate the MonsterInsights Pro Plugin follow our link below to purchase the plugins and return here to follow the setup.
Welcome back! You’ve made a great choice. I’ve have used MonsterInsights for several years on numerous agency and individual accounts I work with and find the ease of obtaining insights well worth the fee.
Verify Google Analytics in the MonsterInsights Pro Plugin
Go to Insights on the left WordPress Toolbar and select Authenticate with your Google Account.
Your next step is to select the google account that your Analytics resides with as in the screenshot below.
Finally, allow MonsterInsights to manage your account.
After allowing the above you will be taken back to your WordPress dashboard and into the MonsterInsights home.
Simply select from the drop-down the property you wish to completely authenticate on this site.
After you have completed this task you will be able to review your Google Analytics tracking data in your dashboard and by going to Insights >> Reports.
A PPC landing page is where all the action takes place.
If you are new to PPC landing pages and using them as an advertising vehicle you may not be familiar with the vernacular, a landing page is where your customers are redirected to when they click on your PPC ad. It gives them the details of the offer your ad pitches and hopefully is so well-crafted that customers feel encouraged to take the desired action. I’ve written about high converting landing pages in the past so check it out.
The keyword in that last paragraph is well-crafted. How do you craft a
landing page that entices your customers to take action – sign up to your email
list, download your app, or buy your product?
That’s what we are going to discuss today. Five true and tested ppc landing page design strategies that are easy to implement and will enable your ad landing page to turn incoming visitors into converted sales.
Keep the PPC landing page design clean, concise, and consistent
Clean Landing Page Design
A design should never be cluttered, least of all a landing page design connected to ad money. Keep the distractions to a minimum (read: none). Only include information that is necessary for the customer to take the intended action.
Concise Landing Page Copy Writing
The information needs to be to-the-point with no unnecessary fluff but also not too dry and cold. Keeping in line with your online brand identity, make the design and copy approachable, effective, and interesting.
Consistent PPC Landing Page and Ad Connection
It is of vital importance that you keep the design, as well as the overall feel, of the pay per click landing page consistent with the advertisement. There was something in the ad that enticed your customers, give them more of it on your landing page. You want your landing page to be filled with the same exciting copy, same aesthetics, same feel where and when possible
Make your PPC landing page mobile-friendly
More than half of all Internet traffic comes from mobile devices – 51. 65%. Google has already started mobile-first indexing of web pages, and penalizing sites that don’t optimize their pages for mobile viewing.
It is therefore essential that you create a mobile-friendly
landing page. It involves making the design (shapes, features, colors, and
typeface, etc.) suitable for mobile-viewing. Using fonts that can be easily
read on smaller screens, forms that are easier to fill without having to
repeatedly poke the screen, and most importantly, placing links with adequate
distance between them so people don’t click the wrong one by mistake.
If you find you are having trouble creating a mobile-friendly landing page please reach out to us and we can help.
Add a tracking code to your landing page
To make sure your landing page is performing up to the mark, you need to put it through vigorous testing. One of the ways to test its conversion capabilities is to embed a tracking code in it. The code will help you see how your customers are engaging with different areas of the landing page if they are feeling any hindrances, which areas are performing the best and which the worst. Having this hard data at your disposal will make your A/B designing and testing effective for conversions.
There are numerous options out
there for A/B testing if you are interested in learning more Copy Blogger has a
great article about getting
started with spilt testing. Other
great tools that aren’t as do it yourself include Google Website Optimizer
(free), or Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer are paid a/b testing
options. Another great tool for those
using WordPress is MonsterInsights,
which works with Google Analytics (free) to make your data easy and powerful.
The design, size, wording, and
placement of your Call to Action, CTA for short, is one of the most important
parts of the landing page. Your CTA button is what you are asking your customer
to do: join a mailing list, read more, download a file, create an account. It
needs to be prominent, extremely specific, interesting, and (for the love of
good advertising!) original.
Too many landing page CTAs ask you to ‘Submit’, ‘Join’, or ‘Click’- which for some reason make them sound so ominous. I mean all of the language at your disposal and you had to use ‘Submit’. Why? Get creative with your Calls to Action and split test them as mentioned in number 3 above.
Make your CTA conversational, inject it with something of value to the consumer, and don’t be afraid to be humorous. Being relatable sells.
Catch Attention with a Video
Did you know that our attention spans are now reportedly even shorter than a goldfish’s? Yes, a ridiculous 8.25%. Don’t force these distracted people to read about your product – instead, show them through an exciting video!
According to the latest research, people like watching videos
about a product more than they like reading
about it. Content marketers are therefore turning towards video marketing as
part of their regular content marketing strategy, especially for landing pages.
To make your landing page video convert for you, produce it in high-quality, use humor, animation, and emotion, and add authenticity to drive the engagement. Wondering how you are going to produce that video? I’ve used InVideo in the past and it works great. It’s essentially a template based drag and drop video creation tool that literally anyone can use. You can learn more about InVideo here.
Talk to us!
A PPC landing page design is a fluid being. It needs constant changes until it is perfected. These constant changes will require a ton of A/B testing to see which version of the page works best. And what works for one industry may not work for another – so be ready to test, adapt, and evolve.
If you need help getting your A/B testing running or just have a general question reach out to us.
A best practices landing page design can greatly increase conversions for your business’s lead generation campaigns. High converting landing pages are an extension of your online marketing campaigns and to maximize conversions, landing pages should be geared to the reason the person has clicked-through. Here are the four key elements of a successful landing page.
Above the Fold
Above the fold refers to the part of the page that a visitor will see when the “land” on the page from another source. When traffic first land without scrolling that’s the above the fold area under discussion. This area will change depending on the device the individual is using, such as cellphone, iPad, desktop etc.
The average person spends only about 15 seconds on a landing page before leaving it. This means you have just a few seconds to get your point across. Due to this fact clean and simple information is imperative above the fold. Keep this in mind as you design or communicate with your designer.
Typically, I recommend a clear Call to Action with a big ass button that says what you want the user to do along with a clear Value Proposition and quick subheading to give some detail. Here’s a great example from HubSpot.
The High Converting Call to Action (CTA)
Before you begin to draft the design of your landing page, determine what you want visitors to your site to do. Depending on your online marketing goals, you need to create expectations and a method for measuring results. Are you trying to increase newsletter subscribers? Do you want them to test-run your service with a free trial?
Your actual call to action should be directly tied to your goals.
It may seem obvious, but some businesses forget to ask for what it is they want. If you want someone to download a program you offer, having a download button is necessary to a successful landing page. Keep it simple but let people know exactly what they are downloading, subscribing to, etc.
This discussion of goals being tied to design is very important. It means that your business needs to be clear about where it’s going, how it wants to go there, who it is targeting and how to best do that BEFORE designing. A discovery session or a call with a consultant can help clarify this so you aren’t constantly requesting website and design changes unnecessarily. A qualified landing page design agency can take your site to the next level and protect your asset.
A call to action by itself isn’t enough if people don’t know what they are getting from entering their information. You should usually only ask for the vitals; otherwise, too many fields may scare off potential conversions. Vitals might include only an email address or name at the top of your funnel. However, to qualify leads and when quoting it is often better to add requests such as budget, phone # etc. This can impact your conversion rate tremendously and save your sales force time and money.
Landing Page Design and Your Content
“Clear, concise and persuasive” should be your mantra for landing pages. Provide enough information so that people who have never heard of your company, or are unsure of what you offer, can get a handle on just how much your product will benefit them. This is where the Value Proposition I mentioned in the opening fits in and really helps your landing page shine.
How long should the Value Proposition be? It depends. While a single sentence or two may work for some; it doesn’t work for all. You want to provide enough interesting information to warm up visitors and encourage them to continue in the direction you want, following the CTA. Always have at least one picture for eye-catching appeal. If possible, have a below the fold video. I don’t recommend video or sliders on landing pages as they slow load times and just mess up the user experience. However, a well done and professional video can work, but this isn’t something a DIY web design can pull off in my opinion. You really need a custom designer working on this.
However, if you just don’t see yourself as a web designer that’s ok too. We can provide you with help and many of the website builders are great at helping a newbie design site. One popular builder is Beaver Builder and iThemes has designed a course just for those looking to build there own website with the builder.
Design that Works: Landing Page 101
Design is very important when it comes to landing pages. Too much noise in the way of images, wording and such in the design can feel overwhelming and unclear. However, a page without enough elements can bore visitors. Keep your landing pages consistent with the design of the email or PPC marketing campaigns that led the visitor there; this includes fonts and colors. Studies have shown that single, centered-column landing page is the most effective, but you can test out other layouts to match your marketing campaigns.
Keep in mind where the page fold occurs. Have your call to action clearly stated and above the line. Of course, you don’t want to lose people who scroll down so scattering your calls to action is beneficial as well.
Provide the essential information above the fold, and if you need a longer page, include additional information below the fold. Making sure your call to action is a flattering, color contrast to the rest of the page is a great way to draw attention to that section of the page.
Simple, well-designed landing pages can increase your conversions from marketing campaigns but remember that testing is the key. I believe that businesses should be A/B Testing landing pages and the source of these landing pages regularly. Be consistent with the design that has led people to the page and make the call to action clear.
High converting landing pages are about extending marketing campaigns, and in order to have a successful conversion rate, these pages should provide just enough interesting and informational content to show the visitor just how this product/service can benefit them. Pay attention to your CTA, content, and design to improve your landing pages and boost conversions.
What are the MUST HAVES for your business web design
There are things that will work for a business web design and things that will not work for a business website. It will be our goal to outline a list of must haves and sprinkle in a bit of don’t do it comments. There are always exceptions, however when people visit a web design and particularly a business web design they expect to find a certain look or type for particular categories of business and/or sites.
With all of that said let’s get into the must haves:
BUSINESS WEB DESIGN MUST HAVES
Clear Calls to Action
Your business web design needs a clear call to action. The call to action button will and should stand out for your visitors as soon as they hit the page. It should be visible upon landing (exception to mobile browsers) and should be an attention getting color. I prefer reds and oranges. It should lead the way to what you want your visitor to do. What action do you want the individual to take? Use that text. Contact us. Get a Quote. Learn More.
Here’s an example.
I think it goes without saying that your business web design needs to be attractive to your target audience. You want the colors to inspire trust and to work together. This also means you need a modern style for your website. You need a site that looks like it was built in the last 1 to 2 years. As a side note the average business updates and redesigns there website every 18 to 24 months. Make it look good and update it every few years.
It’s absolutely necessary that you have a clear area on your website for visitors and clients to contact you. This area should include your NAP. Name, Address, and Phone Number. Bonus for local phone numbers, but if you do world wide business a toll free number will work.
You should include a contact form for the visitor to fill out his or her name & email at a bare minimum, however for most businesses adding a phone number field is a good followup idea. Finally, leave an area for the visitor to write a message to you.
I believe it’s best to include your NAP and contact information at the bottom/footer on each page aside from landing pages.
A business website design must have an about page, which is sometimes known as Our Story, or About Us. The point here is that those visiting you need to get to know you. They need to see real people and real office space or work stations. They need to connect with you on a human level. This may sound too much but it’s important. It builds relationship and connection when someone sees you instead of a model.
Keep the page short and sweet, tell a story or two about how you got where you are, and speak to the benefit or working with your business and how it differentiates you from other companies. Not too salesy though just to the point and honest.
Add social icons and links to your various social profiles. I guess it goes without saying that a quality business web design must have a social profiles behind it. Try to stay consistent with your branding across platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. For many companies these are the must have profiles, however in some instances you may wish to have a Pinterest or Snapchat depending on your industry.
Google Reviews Embedded
People are moved by Google Reviews, Yelp Reviews, etc take advantage of this and embed your reviews with an api or third party software to show proof of what others are saying about there experience with your business. This will elevate you and create a sense of trust.
On a similar note you need to work hard for your reviews and reply to all reviews you are given both good and bad. Build a process of followup with your clients were you request a review after service/etc and again 14 and 30 days later if you haven’t received it.
We were approached by a small startup to provide them with an extremely affordable business web design in Dalton Georgia with a very quick turnaround. The client wanted a CMS (content management system” so they could self update and publish there own content via the site and blog. In other words there was no content or wording added by us.
The turnaround time and scope was 24 to 36 hours. The price point was under 600 dollars. This goes against some of the rules we wrote when discussing Custom Web Design, however for this instance this solution worked best.
Due to these constraints, which varies from our normal designs, we choose a simple yet attractive WordPress template that was cost effective and quick to edit with a WYSIWYG editor (“What you see is what you get”) like Beaver-builder or Elementor.
This format worked well because of it’s price point and the numerous free resources available to our client such as YouTube tutorials and the like.
Web Pages Requested for the Web Design
The client requested a home page that would showcase the services he offered along side an about page and a contact page.
Dalton Ga Web Design for Blankenship PIC
1- Home Page
The goal of the homepage was to first get the point of the site across concisely with a call to action above the websites fold. In other words we were seeking to create a landing page feel for the home page.
Per request social media icons were created along the top right menu bar and email/phone on the left above the clients logo.
The header for the page, also known as the H1, was chosen for On-Page SEO and optics. The client added the sub text under the H1.
The call to action although in attention getting red was weaker than we had hoped for with the type “contact us”, however this was again a client request. They felt get a quote was too strong.
The H2 “Identify and Reduce Costs” in the below the fold type attempts to provide context to what the client in fact does and hopefully solves a problem that potential clients and web traffic are considering.
The three prong division of the site provides an overview of the services this particular business offers.
2- About Page
This affordable web design was provided to the client within 18 hours of request and an approximate 1 hour conversation. The about page was entirly left for the client to optimize and fill in text sections per our video instructions.
3- Contact Page
With the contact page we setup a simple auto-responder using mailer lite and a forward to the owner of the business so that they would be aware of requests.
Aside from this the business worked within the builder to update text and images.
Request for Blog within the Web Design
We simply set up the post page and provided video tutorials of how to upload blogs to the site. In doing so we explained the importance of keywords On Page SEO.
Each post shows up and is highlighted, grey overtone, as you scroll down. These are merely “featured images” for the that the user uploads. Each post has a a comment section and a call to action for the reader to contact the business owners.
An Affordable Web Design is Possible
I’ve included this post of a lower budget Chattanooga Web Design by Green Thoughts Consulting to illustrate that an affordable web design is possible with a quick turnaround.
Obviously, this site could be improved, however it cost the client less than the yearly and monthly fee for a Shopify, Wix, or Squarespace site and was completed per there request in less than 24 hours.
Today we will be speaking out about web design mistakes entrepreneurs make. We have seen a few over the years and once upon a time we were there too.
As an online business, it’s understood that website traffic is one of the biggest factors in your success. Making sure that search engines find you and push customers to your site is of utmost importance. The real question, however, is what happens when people land on your page?
Getting prospects to your site and converting them into customers are two different things. If people have made it your website, it’s your duty to keep them interested. A professional, well-designed website will build their trust in your brand and make them take action. Unfortunately, there are a lot of turn-offs that may be running rampant on your website right now, if you’re like most first-time site builders.
Here are the five most common web design mistakes entrepreneurs make that should be avoided and/or fixed:
Building a Flash website, a common web design mishap
Flash looks, well, flashy, but it’s not business-friendly. About 40 percent of users will be unable to view a Flash website because many hosts will disable Flash to decrease spam advertising. If a visitor can’t see your content, your site is essentially useless.
Wondering what a “Flash” website is? See the quick video below to learn more and see if this is the type of design you are… or were interested in prior to this post.
Search engines likely won’t even drive people to your site based on your Flash content since the information embedded in Flash cannot be read. A recent article, however states otherwise. The Search Engine Land article here disputes the aforementioned.
However, Flash is high-maintenance, and after all your hard work, you may not be able to even pull accurate website reporting on any of your Flash-driven pages or sites. All in all, Flash is not worth the time you’ll put into it.
There are of course exceptions to this rule, but generally a strong online presence for a business or entrepreneur should not have items that “move around”. Things should load fast and get to the point you only have seconds before a visitor bounces an analytic term used to reference how long people stay on your site before leaving. All and all keep it simple.
Your website needs to convey a strong sense of your company’s brand. Good graphics and a harmonious design are visually appealing. Your logo should be right in the banner, and people should quickly be able to determine what you do and who you are. An emphasis on information, rather than sales pitches, lends credence to your brand.
What doesn’t have a positive impact on your brand? Fuzzy graphics, blurry fonts, and loud colors all hurt your image. Each of these items is an eyesore, and most prospects will view these details as the trademarks of a fly-by-night company. Invest time and effort in making your image match your expertise.
That being said it’s hard to boot strap your way to a well defined brand when you are just starting out in the world of business or growing your idea into being. It’s for reason like this that we have affordable web designs and you can learn more there. No matter what you do you need to create a strategy and an inexpensive set of tools to do what needs to be done to make the brand talk across all social media and presences on the web.
Tools like Canva are inexpensive and useful when starting out. Other helpful links such as Fiverr and Upwork allow you to inexpensively hire contract worker to do work for you. That being said be careful have you ever heard the term you get what you pay for? I’ve had several clients that came to me to fix the work a contractor did online.
Call-to-Action message and Common Web Design Mistakes
Calls-to-Action specifically communicate with your clients. These links direct people to take action (“Contact us,” “Post a comment,” or “Buy now!” are common examples). It eliminates any confusion on your visitors’ parts, and it also compels them to do something rather than passively read. Calls to Action are essentially like a web designs road map that tells visitors what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Click here, Get a Free Copy Now.
Determine the cohesive message your calls-to-action will communicate. You should be targeting your audience so you’re pulling in the people who will most benefit from your services or products. Don’t ask visitors to do something that doesn’t help meet this end goal.
As an example here’s a call to action and you can take action on it 🙂
Hosting third-party ads on your site that have no relevance
Allowing third parties to borrow real estate on your site isn’t the mistake here – having ads from companies that may enhance your product, or meet an additional need for your customer, is great. It elevates your standing in your clients’ minds, as they begin to brand you by association. It also provides a helpful asset to your visitors and clients as you provide them with the answer to there problems (especially the answers you don’t hold).
The mistake is bombarding your prospects with advertising that feels random. If it has nothing to do with their interests or business needs, they’re wondering why you would offer it to them. This lets them start questioning your motives, your expertise, and your financial standing as a company. Don’t start that line of thinking.
In brief advertisements are great on a site if and when the time is right, however for most small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs selling a product or service the ads have no place until you are really raking in the coin. Focus on building your brand and your products before pushing others away to spend there hard earned money on another site.
Running a one-man show
As a a small business owner and/or entrepreneur, it’s your business to know your stuff. But just because you’re an expert on one thing doesn’t mean you can handle every aspect of your company solo. Having a website built by one person who’s dabbling in web design is easy, but it’s not efficient for maximizing your business prospects. You’ll want your site to be clean and accessible, even for your mobile visitors.
I find many clients who have walked down the do it yourself path to save money. It makes sense, but once your business grows up a bit it’s time for your web design to grow up as well. Please don’t miss the next point. It is one of the biggest and most important web design mistakes entrepreneurs make.
You are best at doing what you do. If you can make more money doing what you do you should do that. If an expert can help you let them. End of story.
-Jeff@green thoughts consulting
You do you and let the other experts do them. I can almost guarantee you a higher and better satisfaction level along side a higher return on investment that way.
Wrapping it up
Conveying a strong business image and providing the right information to convert your prospects is essential to your company’s growth. You may be a rule breaker in your approach to the business world, but don’t break these five rules when building your site. Your bottom line, and your visitors, will thank you.