A website plays an integral part in all inbound marketing strategies. It’s where you send people to find out more information, to educate them and to ultimately turn them into customers. It does, however, serve as an endpoint to your marketing strategy. It’s where people go to read your blog posts, get your great educational content, find out about your company and become leads. Here are a few important features for a fully functional website:
Design and Usability
Search engines understand that people want to view a website that is pleasing on the eye and is entirely useable. This means that the structure and layout of your website is just as important as the design. When you’re looking to rebuild your website, you’ll need to always remind your design team that the user is the most important goal. Google and the other search engines definitely place a higher preference towards websites that put the user first. Ask yourself these questions:
- When the user clicks a link on a search engine, will they find what they were looking for?
- How easy will it be for them to find that information?
- Do I put emphasis on the content that the user is looking for?
Looking at your website from the user’s perspective can easily make a difference in converting visitors and more importantly, gaining their trust.
Websites that work are well designed, data driven and mobile optimised. If you’re reading this, I can bet that you most likely have a phone that can browse websites. I can assume this because (according to research done by Ericsson) 2.6 billion people have a smartphone – they reckon by 2020, it will be 6.2 billion. So, does your website display well and remain functional when you view it on a mobile device?
This has become an important ranking factor for search engines and, although mobile sites have been around for a while, some search engines have shown a preference for a technology called Responsive Design. This means that your website adapts to fit different screens types to give the user the best experience.
Responsive Design should be a default when you’re creating a website for you business, especially in markets that have a large mobile footprint.
HTML and Backend Structure
Much like when you’re reading a book or blog post and find a spelling error, Google is also looking out for websites that have viruses, errors and are poorly made. Why? It’s to protect their users and to make sure that they promote quality content rather than poor user experience.
There are standards to conform to when creating the HTML structure of any website and it’s often a good idea to work with professionals that understand these standards. An alternative is to purchase ready made templates / themes that comply with these standards and make loading content easy for you.
Search engines also place emphasis on fast websites (we all don’t like to wait). Factors that can make or break a website’s speed are where it’s hosted, how it is built and what optimisation techniques are being used. We highly recommend using either Hubspot (premium) or WordPress (free) that are continuously developed to run as smoothly as possible.
Forms and Landing Pages
To get those precious leads, you’ll need forms that capture visitor information that allow you to make informed decisions in preparation for contacting them. You’ll want to be wary about asking for too much or else your potential customer may feel a bit interrogated, which could chase them away.
There are smart ways to get more information from users though. If you’ve captured their information before, you can then leave out the fields that you know and ask for other information that will help you meet their needs better.
When it comes to the final process of getting that lead, you’ll want to remove all distractions like menus, adverts, sidebars, etc. to allow them to focus on completing the form and becoming a lead.