WEBSITE DESIGN | USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN | RESPONSIVE DESIGN
Within 5 seconds of landing on your website, can your visitors determine what your company does? Could users easily navigate to the blog if they need to? Is the layout of your pricing easy to understand? Do you have an extremely high bounce rate?
If you're finding yourself answering ‘no’ to these questions, it might be time to take a hard look at the way you’ve been designing and optimizing your website.
A website can’t simply succeed by excelling in limited aspects (such as solely design or content). It needs to have a design that feeds into your website's user experience, functionality, and appropriately complements your content.
Your website also needs to clearly communicate with your audience what you do, why you do it, and who you do it for. It's easy to get caught up with how great you are as a business, that you forget to make sure we are addressing core concerns your audience has first and foremost.
So, what do you need to know to start improving your web design?
To answer that, here are 14 website tips to ensure that you're going in the right direction in your redesign and are assuring you aren't turning visitors away.
14 Tips for Improving Your Web Design
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.
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SEO, as any area of our life, is swarming with myths and misconceptions. They are usually born out of ignorance, fear, and hunt for quick results. It is like a variety of diet advice — “cut entirely on the food, just eat one weird vegetable three times a day". Yes, you might lose weight. But will it last? Will you be happy in the process? You tell me.
Same here. People are prone to choose quicker methods. Well, life is too short. Who needs all those long-term results. But we surely need an efficient outcome. Plus, the damage after a quick SEO campaign based on the general misconceptions will take way more time to recover from than applying a well-thought SEO procedure.
However, while people continue to go for quick results and no research, these myths will never cease to exist. What you need is to recognize them as such and treat any information with caution. Knowledge is power. Thorough knowledge is indestructible!
I made a compilation of the most popular myths (that made up a nice number of 13) and tried to debunk them once and forever (or at least for some time). Let's see whether we are on the same side, and if not, let's check whether I can change your mind.
RankBrain, semantic search, AMP, and mobile-first are among the top buzz words of the past twelve months. Penguin and Panda have become smarter and are now part of the core algorithm.
So, to help you catch the wind and brush up your SEO skills, I've prepared a list of recommendations SEOs should focus on right now.
1. SEO is a fraud
2. SEO is all shenanigans
3. Google is at war with SEO
4. One-time SEO effort is enough
5. Link building is dangerous
6. CTR is out of the game
7. Keyword research is a waste of time
8. Social signals are of no SEO value
9. Guest blogging is obsolete
10. High paid rankings = High organic rankings
11. Keyword-optimized anchor text is bad for your SEO
12. Separate pages for every keyword is a key to success
13. SEO is dead
We’ve created more than 800 content campaigns at Fractl over the years, and we’d be lying if we told you every single one was a hit.
The Internet is a finicky place. You can’t predict with 100% accuracy if your content will perform well. Sometimes what we think is going to do OK ends up being a massive hit. And there have been a few instances where we’d expect a campaign to be a huge success but it went on to garner lackluster results.
While you can’t control the whims of the Internet, you can avoid or include certain things in your content to help your chances of success. Through careful analysis we’ve pinpointed which factors tend to create high-performing content. Similarly, we’ve identified trends among our content that didn’t quite hit the mark.
In this this post, I’ll share our most valuable lessons we learned from content flops. Bear in mind this advice applies if you’re using content to earn links and press pickups, which is what the majority of the content we create at Fractl aims to do.
1. There’s such a thing as too much data.
For content involving a lot of data, it can be tempting to publish every single data point you collect.
A good example of this is surveying. We’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of not only sharing all of the data we’ve collected in a survey, but also segmenting the data out by demographics — regardless of whether or not all of that data is super compelling. While this can give publishers a large volume of potential angles to choose from, the result is often unfocused content lacking a cohesive narrative.
Only include the most insightful, interesting data points in your content, even if that means tossing aside most of the data you’ve gathered.
One example of this was a survey we did for a home security client where we asked people about stalker-ish behaviors they’d committed. The juiciest survey data (like 1 in 5 respondents had created a fake social account to spy on someone — yikes!) ended up getting buried because we included every data point from the survey, some of which wasn’t so interesting. Had we trimmed down the content to only the most shocking findings, it probably would have performed far better.
Furthermore, the more data you include, the more time it takes for a publisher to wade through it. As one journalist told us after we sent over an epic amount of data: “Long story short, this will take too much time.”
Consider this: It shouldn’t take a publisher more than 10 seconds of looking at your project to grasp the most meaningful data points. If they can’t quickly understand that, how will their readers?
2. Turning published data into something cool doesn't always yield links.
If you’re going to use data that’s already been reported on, you better have a new spin or finding to present. Journalists don't want to cover the same stats they have already covered.
A great example of this is a project we created about the reasons startups fail. The majority of the data we used came from CB Insights’ startup post mortems list, which had performed really well for them. (As of the time I’m writing this, according to Open Site Explorer it has 197 linking root domains from sites including BBC, Business Insider, Fortune, Vox, CNBC, and Entrepreneur — impressive!)
It worked well once, so it should work again if we repackage it into a new format, right?
We used the startups featured on the CB Insights list, added in a handful of additional startups, and created a sexy-looking interactive node map that grouped together startups according to the primary reasons they went under.
While the content didn’t end up being a failure (we got it picked up by Quartz, woo!), it definitely didn’t live up to the expectations we had for it.
Two problems with this project:
1. We weren’t saying anything new about the data.
2. The original data had gotten so much coverage that many relevant publishers had already seen it and/or published it.
But of course, there are exceptions. If you’re using existing data that hasn’t gotten a ton of coverage, but is interesting, then this can be a smart approach. The key is avoiding data that has already been widely reported in the vertical you want to get coverage in.
3. It’s difficult to build links with videos.
Video content can be extremely effective for viral sharing, which is fantastic for brand awareness. But are videos great for earning links? Not so much.
When you think of viral content, videos probably come to mind — which is exactly why you may assume awesome videos can attract a ton of backlinks. The problem is, publishers rarely give proper attribution to videos. Instead of linking to the video’s creator, they just embed the video from YouTube or link to YouTube. While a mention/link to the content creator often happens organically with a piece of static visual content, this is often not the case with videos.
Of course, you can reach out to anyone who embeds your video without linking to you and ask for a link. But this can add a time-consuming extra step to the already time-intensive process of video creation and promotion.
4. Political ideas are tough to pull off.
Most brands don’t want to touch political topics with a ten-foot pole. But to others, creating political content is appealing since it has strong potential to evoke an emotional reaction and get a lot of attention.
We've had several amazing political ideas fail despite solid executions and promotional efforts. It’s hard for us to say why this is, but our assumption has been publishers don't care about political content that isn't breaking (because it's always breaking). For this reason, we believe it’s nearly impossible to compete with the constant cycle of breaking political news.
5. Don't make content for a specific publisher.
We’ve reached out to publishers to collaborate during content production, assuming that if the publisher feels ownership over the content and it’s created to their specifications, they will definitely publish it.
In general, we’ve found this approach doesn’t work because it tends to be a drain on the publishers (they don't want to take on the extra work of collaborating with you) and it locks you into an end result that may only work for their site and no other publishers.
Remember: Publishers care about getting views and engagement on their site, not link generation for you or your client. Read full article here
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