1. Have a Plan

Don’t just start designing your website. To ensure that your website is effectively meeting the needs of your visitors you need to map out your buyer’s journey from the first time they visit your website to the moment they become a customer.

What pages are they going to view, what content are they going to read, and what offers are they going to convert on? Understanding this will help you design a site that helps nurture leads through the sales funnel.

You want to design your website for the next step, not the final step. It’s all about answering the right questions in the right order. This might be where context comes into play. Take what you already know about your current customers (or even interview them) and research how they went from a visitor to a customer. Then, use this data to map out your strategy.

2. Remove the Following From Your Website

Certain elements on your website are going to detract from the value and message you’re trying to convey. Complicated animations, content that’s too long, stocky website images are just a few factors on the list.

With an audience that only has an attention span of 8 seconds, you need to create a first impression that easily gets the main points across. This should be done with short, powerful sections of content and applicable photographs/icons that are sectioned off by clear and concise headers.

If you’ve got those right, then review it and make sure it doesn’t contain jargon or ambiguous terminology. It only serves to muddy your content and confuse your users.

Some words to avoid include next generation, flexible, robust, scalable, easy to use, cutting edge, groundbreaking, best-of-breed, mission critical, innovative … those are all words that have over used by hundreds if not thousands of companies and don’t make your content any more appealing.

3. Include Social Share and Follow Buttons

Producing great content and offers only go so far if you aren’t giving your users the opportunity to share what you have.

If your website currently lacks social share buttons, you could be missing out on a lot of social media traffic that’s generated from people already reading your blog!

If this sounds new to you, social sharing buttons are the small buttons that are around the top or bottom of blog posts. They contain icons of different social media website and allow you to share the page directly on the social media channel of your choice.

These buttons act as a non-pushy tool that encourages social sharing from your buyer personas.

If you are looking for some tools to get you on the ground, check out the two free, social sharing tools SumoMe and Shareaholic.

4. Implement Calls-to-Action

Once your visitors land on your site, do they know what to do next? They won’t know what pages to view or actions to take if you don’t provide them with some sort of direction.

Call-to-action buttons are one of the many elements that indicate the next step user should take on a page. While many of us know that, it can be easy to fail to accurately use them to guide users through your website.

It’s easy to spam your website with the most bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) call-to-action, without even properly nurturing your users with other calls-to-action that are more top/middle of the funnel.

To recognize whether or not you’re guilty of this, start reading through the pages across your website. Are you finding most pages, even blog articles, with only a call-to-action for a demo/trial/consultation? Then, it’s time to update.

Take the time to add in call-to-actions that give them materials to educate themselves and help solve their pain points. Once they identify your company as one that provides materials that are relieving these, they will feel more comfortable researching your services to see if you can personally make these solutions a reality.

Some example call-to-actions are to click here for more information, download our sample GamePlan, sign up for a webinar, watch the video, see all inbound marketing services, and see pricing. For more information, check out this offer to get you using call-to-actions the right way to generate even more leads.

5. Use the Right Images

Not every image is going to fit with the type of message you’re trying to show your audience.

Fortunately, you have a lot to choose from (even some that are for free). But still, cause caught many of us decide to plague our website with extremely stocky photos.

Just because a stock website has the image, doesn’t mean it looks genuine and will evoke trust in your company. Ideally, you want to use photos that portray images of the real people that work at your company and the office itself.

If real photographs aren’t an option, there are techniques you can use to help pick out the right type of stock photo. This will aid in bringing more realism to your brand and making sure the images match who you are and what your content is explaining.

6. Navigation

When designing your website, navigation is key, it’s essentially the map that displays the core places users can visit.

There’s nothing worse than a site with a disorganized or confusing navigation interface. When improving your website’s navigation, it’s important to ensure that your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for.

Some characteristics of a lean navbar include streamlined content, navigation hierarchy, and responsive design, so the experience doesn’t drastically change on mobile.

If users cannot find what they’re looking for, they have no reason to stay on your site. Instead, they will certainly bounce and find a competitor that offers a better user experience.

7. Let Your Visitors Scroll on Your Homepage

Above the fold is old. Don’t be wary of designing a slightly longer homepage. Including 3-5 sections that help direct new and recurring users to proper areas of your site can help create a seamless experience.

But what should these sections be?

This list could go on forever, but a quick hit-list of some of the more crucial elements includes:

  • Value proposition
  • Intro Video
  • Overview of Services
  • Product Features
  • About Us
  • Testimonials
  • Case Studies/Success Stories
  • Resources

If you want a more expansive list, check out this awesome infographic or one of Ramona Sukhraj’s blog articles revealing other important homepage elements not mentioned here.

8. Don’t be Afraid of White Space

Whitespace is an essential design element that helps you break up the page and increase readability.

Also called ‘negative space’, white space refers to the areas around elements on a page that are empty and lacking content or visual items.

Although extra space may seem superfluous, it’s actually responsible for readability and content prioritization. It also plays an important role in the design process and positioning website design elements.

If you know of some pages lacking white space, review the page and strip elements or content that aren’t necessary to the purpose of the page. Then, make sure this content is properly grouped so users are able to distinguish where they belong on the page. If you need some example of the website doing this well, check out these all-stars to help aid you on your improvements.

9. Mobile Optimization

Don’t forget about optimizing your site for mobile. If you don’t already know, 80% of internet users own a smartphone, and “Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead”.

I’d be a little concerned if I were you.

It’s a necessity to tailor your site to fit the needs and wants of your visitors. You might want to ask yourself, why would someone access my site on mobile? What things would they look for? Does my experience currently allow them to do those things easily?

If your websites lagging on its mobile optimization, check out some of these awesome mobile websites to understand how they have created seamless mobile experiences for their users.