Business owners are savvy people.
If they are going allocate a large part of their marketing budget to a project, they want to make sure their investment is going to elicit a significant return. This comes up most often with those considering a website redesign.
Since we get asked a lot about how a new custom website will pay off in the long run, we’ve put together a few key points explaining how to ensure that the return is far greater than the investment.
Our hope is that by understanding these key factors, you'll be empowered to make an informed decision when embarking on a website redesign.
In order to give your business the best chance of success from the start, there are many factors that need to be considered. Taking the time to focus on your website design, marketing, and branding (just to name a few of the various areas), is a vital part of this endeavor.
Here are a few of the elements we’ll be covering in the article:
- How investing your time in understanding your ideal customers will save you time and energy while increasing profits.
- Why hiring a professional firm to help you build a custom website is essential to your long-term success.
- Why it’s critical that your website is the centerpiece of your marketing efforts.
- How your messaging could be the largest factor in ensuring that your website visitors are converting into customers.
Armed with these crucial insights, your website will be well on its way to becoming a sales- and lead-generating machine. Let’s take a look at these steps a bit closer to ensure you’re headed down the road to success.
Your website should be like a magnet that actually attracts your ideal customers.
It’s a given that customers are key; after all, your business wouldn’t exist without them! But how well do you really know your customers? It’s tempting to assume you know them quite well; however, after years of working with clients, we are often met with blank stares and stammering answers to one simple question. (If you're unsure of who your ideal customers are, start with filling out our free buyer persona template to get a clearer picture.)
Why do your customers choose you versus your competitor? Even those with concise and well thought-out answers are often shocked by the reasons that we uncover when speaking with our client’s customers in discovery sessions. It’s absolutely critical to have a deep understanding of what motivates and delights your ideal customers.
By understanding what problems your business solves for them and which solutions they value the most, we as web designers can create a digital experience for them that is nothing short of delightful. We see this as one of the most important elements of success for your website; it should be like a magnet that actually attracts your ideal customers. Your ideal customers will be more likely to stay and explore your web page, connect with your brand on a personalized level, and ultimately convert—whether it’s purchasing an item or filling out your contact form. Thus, spending some time thinking about who you want to attract is going to realistically help you carve out your niche audience.
Ultimately, what we’re saying is that false leads are a waste of your time and resources. You get the point. A creative agency will help you connect to that ideal persona through branding, design, and messaging. A firm specializing in these areas will not only get you the right “type” of clients, but will allow you to continue doing the projects and work you initially envisioned, ultimately staying true to your vision and passion.
Whether your business is a new entity or has been around for several years, we would suggest that you take some time to get the answers to two simple questions. However, if you are the founder of your company, it’s a good idea to have someone else within your organization or the agency you are working with reach out to your customers. This might sound counterintuitive, but your customers might feel intimidated about giving you the kind of brutally honest answers that will really help you.
Firstly, it’s a good idea to ask your customers why they bought from you.
Secondly, understanding what made them choose you, as opposed to other competitors, is an important element to consider.
Be sure to ask specific questions about the key factors in their decision. When you pose these questions, you will start noticing patterns. These answers will allow you to modify and adapt your website to reflect those messages, and in turn, attract more of the same people.
This is also an opportunity for you to ask your current customers for an online review. Approximately 90% of web users say that customer reviews strongly affect their decision to do business with a company. That’s a number that can’t be ignored!
Therefore, when eliciting answers to the two questions listed above, if you can add an incentive for your best customers to leave reviews and/or make testimonials, you can add those to your website for an even greater boost in conversions.
Your website is not just a brochure; it’s an experience. You have five seconds to connect with your audience and convince them that they shouldn’t press the back button. Within those five seconds, it’s crucial to convey a few different things. Ultimately, they need to immediately understand (a) what you do, (b) who you are, and (c) why you are different than all the other websites they’ve been researching.
Having those questions answered in such a short time frame is a very hard task, and that’s exactly why template websites don’t work. They are designed to conform to various industries so that they sell more of those templates; their audience is agencies and freelancers looking for quick and easy shortcuts to completing their project.
It’s not hard to imagine, then, why a custom website design from a professional agency can make a world of a difference. A company that spends hours researching menu structures, messaging, calls to action, user flow, and speaking with your customers will ultimately create the most effective website. When your website is designed with precision and attention to the most minute details, customers visiting your web page will encounter an incredibly intuitive and well-constructed experience. That experience results in a positive impression for your brand on a potential customer. This makes it far more likely that this potential customer will naturally follow the sales funnel that your website is designed to be, resulting in more leads, sales, and ultimately customers. If you're looking into website design companies, I recommend you check out our 20 Crucial Questions to Ask Before Doing a Website Design article.
When all the previously discussed criteria are met, the specific customers considering your services on a desktop or laptop computer will have an awesome and to-the-point experience. Even so, we all know the work doesn’t end there. If fact, 30% of the people reading this article (ALSO those viewing your website) will be on a mobile phone or tablet. In today’s world, it is well known that website mobility is key. Our ever-moving and connected world requires a stellar mobile experience. Losing customers to an inept or non-existent mobile platform could potentially cut your business off at its knees, so to speak. A quality web design agency like ours will take the time to review your Google analytics to gain an understanding of your mobile traffic, then use those insights and our user experience expertise to create a website the feels intuitive and helpful to your potential customers. We use a technique called responsive web design to make sure your website is a consistent and delightful experience for your audience, whether they are on a smartphone, tablet, or a desktop computer.
When we are creating a website for our clients, one of our goals is to find ways to help streamline your business’ process. A strong and experienced firm can incorporate any custom development that you might need. These services may range from simple things, like automatically creating a customer in your CRM when someone fills out the contact form, to more complex elements, such as a full-blown custom e-commerce store. Process is important, and if you can eliminate manual steps along the way, it will eventually save you time and money. Being able to apply digital strategy and engineering together is key to a successful business.
Today, business marketers have a seemingly endless array of marketing channels to promote their business. A trendy new social platform seems to pop up every day. While it’s important to have an understanding of these platforms and how your business can potentially use them to aid in your growth, it’s vital to remember that your website should be at the center of your marketing universe. When done right, a website should be the best expression of your brand. It should be the ultimate platform to tell your story.
We are not discounting the importance of social media; it gives you the opportunity to engage your audience in a conversation and to build brand equity like never before. However, it’s important to remember that these social networks aren’t built to tell your story. That’s your website’s job!
So, for example, instead of posting entire blog articles on LinkedIn or Tumblr, post a short teaser explaining what your article is about and provide a link to view the entire article on your website. This will help to position your brand as a resource of information to both your potential customers and Google. As Google’s algorithm evaluates your website, the more content it has to evaluate, the more likely it is to understand what your site is about and send you qualified traffic.
People like to research before they buy. They like to be confident that the money they are spending is worth what they are getting in return. Considering that 89% of consumers search the web before making a purchase decision, it’s supremely important that your website positions your brand as the go-to expert in your industry.
Everyone wants to be on the first page of Google—ideally, part of the top three results. Search engine optimization is a complicated topic; below are some of the most important points you should be considering.
Search engines will parse your website and try to figure out which parts of the page are most important and which are less. For example, HTML tags like “H1” (Header level 1) are of higher relevance than an “H3” (Header level 3). Thus, it’s important that your developers understand how to properly structure your website so that you maximize the relevance of your content.
After having a good, structured website, you can now concentrate on content. This is probably the most important factor of SEO. Not only you should have good content from the beginning, but you should also strive to add new, fresh, and relative content on a regular basis. The most common way to do this is with a blog. Again, we can’t stress how important blogging is to your websites, and ultimately your business’ success. Not only it will attract people that are interested in those topics, but it will build up those crucial keywords with Google and domain-authority on those subjects. The end result will be higher page rankings, getting you closer to that first page and first results. We suggest posting a new article at least once every few weeks.
This is something that is often missed. Title tags are what appears on your browser’s tab, and what also appears as the title of your Google search result. Thus, many search engines will heavily influence their results on the title of your page. It’s a good balance between keywords, content relevance (meaning you can’t title a page “Seattle Dentists” when you are talking about Denver Website Designs), and length. Be careful, and don’t duplicate anything.
Many CMS, like Drupal, will do this out of the box, but it’s beneficial to realize what are the most important factors when constructing a URL are. The URL is preferred to be clean (e.g. www.mysite.com/blog/updating-kitchen-sinks), instead of using a query parameter, such as “www.mysite.com?q=blog-updating-kitchen-sink”. In addition, make sure it’s readable, and contains the keywords pertaining to the page. For example: “www.mysite.com/denver-website-design” (good), “www.mysite.com/page/28” (bad).
If your website is the centerpiece of your marketing, if it’s the place where your customers can learn about your company, connect with your brand, and ultimately decide to buy from you, then you need to convey why you are special, different, and essential to them. Having clear, concise brand messaging is the best way to do that, but it’s also the hardest to get right. Partnering with a creative agency to help you come up with a value proposition and key differentiators that connect with your target market is crucial.
Even if your messaging is as close to perfect as possible, website visitors are unpredictable. That’s why it’s really important to have a website that is easy-to-update and maintainable so that you can constantly test and improve on your conversion rate. Any quality website design agency should empower you to investigate elements of your website that are most effective and most intriguing to your visitors.
The simplest way to accomplish this is by doing A/B testing, which means you will be serving version A of the page to 50% of the visitors, and version B to the other 50%. Conclusions can be formed on the most successful design elements as well as the messaging. An example of a small change you can make and test could be a simple as modifying your call to action text or changing it to a different color. You’ll be amazed by the results.
At Herosmyth, we launch all of our clients' websites with A/B testing tools built-in and provide the training to allow our clients to make continual improvements. Conversion Optimization means more leads, more customers, and more revenue, ultimately getting to the goal of the return on investment you are looking for. Other tools can help you track the user’s behavior throughout the website, such as, clicks, scroll maps, heat maps, and mouse movements, so that you can better understand what areas of the site perform better and what’s not working.
It’s very simple: choose your monthly visitors, total number of sales, and average sales amount to calculate your current conversion rate. Then, see how even a small increase in percentage could affect your revenue dramatically.
We are often shocked by the amount of people that underestimate the impact a well-crafted website can have on your business. We hope this article gave you a detailed look into the key factors in creating a custom website that is a powerful marketing tool for you. If you’ve recently done a redesign, use this article as a checklist to see if your website will deliver the ROI you are seeking.
If you are considering a website redesign (shameless plug) feel free to reach out to us; our passion is helping brands tell their story online. However, no matter what agencies you are speaking to, make sure they with include these factors as part of their normal process.