A Guide to Creating More Online Leads for a Small Business.
Think of your favourite shop. Is it clean and well presented? Does the brand style and logo stand out to you? What makes it memorable? Now picture your website (if you have one!) If it isn’t well-presented and appealing, no-one will go in. Just like a shop front, the first impressions and usability are everything when it comes to your website. It must be tailored perfectly for your target audience to ensure it’s effective – so you aren’t wasting your money on something that just isn’t working.
Almost every single business whether big or small needs a unique and usable online presence, not only to attract buyers but to inform and engage too. A recent study conducted by smallbusinesses.co.uk states that 46% of businesses with 5 employees or less still don’t have a website. And according to the House of Commons statistics, 39% of the UK’s companies are made up of small businesses – it’s worrying that not all of them are online. If you’re serious about getting online and increasing your ability to be seen, gaining more leads and sales then you must have an online presence.
However, this can’t just be any old website. Like space, it needs to mesmerise its visitors, it needs to guide them and engage them whilst they’re on their journey – and educate them throughout. We want these visitors to be converted into leads and then leads into sales. Sound tough? Don’t worry, that’s what we’re here for.
So, your website needs to provide an impeccable first impression for your target visitors. When people see your website for the first time the thoughts going through their mind are all about whether your business is trustworthy, credible, professional, stable – and a big question they have is ‘am I in the right place?’. All of these thoughts need to be taken into account when designing a website. The goals of the website, the target audience and overall business message need to be effectively presented throughout the website design.
Your website design and layout plays the main role in providing a user-friendly experience for your visitors. Elements such as colours, layouts, typography and media all need to be strategically thought out to create the perfect design.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does the design only use 2 – 4 colours?
- Does the design appeal to the target audience?
- Does the media support the content?
- Are the fonts, font sizes and font colours legible?
- Is the layout simple and using a responsive grid?
- Does the design have a header and a footer?
- Does it render well on all device types (mobiles, tablets, laptops)?
If the answer is yes to all of these, you’re a website designing extraordinaire! If you’ve answered no to any of these, keep on reading.
To ensure your visitors can identify you and your website quickly and easily, keep your website pages consistent. Ultimately there should be 3-4 different page templates (e.g. Home page, content page, contact page, landing page).
- Are the page layouts consistent?
- Does each page reflect the business’s brand?
- Is the navigation and footer the same on every page?
- Are the colours consistent?
- Is the typography consistent?
Website compatibility includes ‘responsive design’, also known as ‘mobile-friendly design’ and browser compatibility. It is vital in this day and age that your website is optimized for all devices! Studies show that more people are using their smartphones and tablets to research – instead of desktops. And because of the forever changing technology, ensure the functionality included in your website works smoothly on all browsers and their latest versions.
- Is the design consistent on a smartphone (portrait & landscape)?
- Is the design consistent on a tablet (portrait & landscape)?
- Is the design consistent on a laptop?
- Is the design consistent on a desktop?
- Does the design look and work great on all browsers?
As I briefly mentioned in the design checklist, navigation plays a massive role in effect user design and experience – more so experience. The trick is to keep your navigation structure simple so everything is easy to find throughout your website.
- Is the navigation structure simple?
- Is the navigation at the top of the page?
- Is the navigation included in the footer of every page?
- Is the navigation level too deep?
- Is the navigation smooth and glitch-free?
- Is the navigation too complicated?
- How well does your search solution perform?
- Can users find any page on the site via your primary navigation?
- How well does your mobile navigation work?
The saying is ‘Content is King’ and it cannot be truer! Without exceptional and optimized content, your website will not perform as well as it should, leaving you with disappointing results. The content throughout your website should focus on educating your audience and answering any questions they may have when entering your website. Keep in mind that content is what search engines and people are looking for, it is what convinces people to purchase from you as it builds trust and you become an authority in your field.
As I said, your website should focus on educating your audience and answering any questions they may have about your business and/or product.
Below are a few questions you need to ask yourself about the content provided on your website:
1. Will my visitors know what I do and/or sell within seconds of entering my website?
2. Will my visitors know exactly what page they are on and what it is about?
3. Will my visitors know what to do next within that page?
4. Do my visitors know why they should buy/subscribe/download from my website instead of my competitors?
These questions are what your visitors will be asking when entering your website so it is crucial your content answers them within seconds.
- Does my content answer the above questions within seconds?
- Does my content make good use of headlines and sub headlines?
- Does my content include clear and noticeable Call to Actions?
- Are there any grammar or spelling errors throughout my content?
- Does the content style appeal to my target audience?
The quality and relevance is the most important aspect when it comes to content creation. Gone are the days where you can fill up your website with irrelevant content to get more keywords in. Search engine algorithms have advanced so much over the years that they now know the quality and relevance of your content – and of course, so do your readers!
- Does my content provide value and educational information?
- Is my content different and unique to my competitors?
- Is my content very clear and to the point?
- Is my content accurate and up to date with my industry?
- Do/Will I keep my content fresh through its lifetime? (E.g. Blogging).
- Does my content appeal to my target audience?
- Can my visitors share my content to their social media?
- Does my content include facts for support? (E.g. testimonials).
- Do I use multiple forms of content? (E.g. Video, Audio, Imagery).
OFF-PAGE SEO CHECKLIST
You hear of ‘Off Page SEO’ often, but what is it? Off-Page SEO focuses on building inbound links to your website. Basically, it’s all about getting other high-quality websites to link back to yours. The higher quality of the website and the more inbound links – the better, as it shows the Search Engines the importance and authority of your website. It is the most important factor of SEO to increase your ranking results.
- Is my content of high quality?
- Is my content educational and entertaining?
- Have I submitted my website to online directories?
- Have I planned to guest post on other high-quality blogs?
- Have I researched link-building opportunities with other websites?
ON-PAGE SEO CHECKLIST
Even though off-page SEO is the most important factor, on-page SEO is a very close second. It consists of optimising every content element with your most important keywords throughout your website. What do I mean by content elements? Well, they can include: Headlines, Sub Headlines, Body Content, Image Alternative Text, Image URL’s, Links etc.
- Do I have a primary keyword for each page?
- Are my keywords used in the Alternative Text tag of my images?
- Is my primary keyword placed in my headline and sub headlines?
- Have I included my keywords in the page URL?
- Do I have no more than 7 keywords per page?
- Is my primary keyword used in the Meta title tag?
- Are my keywords placed throughout my content and within context?
- Is my primary keyword used in the Meta description tag?
- Are my keywords used in the file names of my images?
- Do I have an XML Sitemap?
CONVERSION RATE OPTIMISATION
So now you should have a well-designed, high quality website that is optimized to drive traffic and engage visitors. The next step is to convert the traffic from a prospect into a lead. Your goal is to capture the prospects information before they leave your website so you can nurture them until they are ready to buy.
CALL TO ACTION CHECKLIST
The goal of a call to action is to attract the visitor to partake in a desired action. CTAs are the main feature for lead generation if implemented correctly. It’s always best practice to have a CTA above the fold, it needs to be clear and stand out.
- Are my calls to action bigger and bolder than other page elements?
- Do I have a CTA above and below the fold?
- Does the colour of the CTA make a good impression?
- Do I have a thank you page for on completion?
- Does the CTA offer value? (E.g. Guides, Downloadable).
- Does the CTA look clickable?
- Is the CTA clear about the desired action/event?
LANDING PAGES CHECKLIST
Every call to action needs to have an optimized landing page to capture the lead successfully. Landing pages are focused around one particular offer, excluding distractions of everything else on your main website. Lead capture forms are crucial for a successful landing page, the main goal for the landing page is to capture a prospect’s information so you can nurture them until they are ready to buy
- Have I removed the main website navigation from the landing page?
- Is there a brief description of the offer/CTA?
- Is the footer very simple?
- Is there at least 1 supporting piece of media? (e.g. Image, Video).
- Are there supporting elements such as testimonials?
- Is there a lead capturing form?
- Does the Landing Page have a headline?
LEAD CAPTURING FORM CHECKLIST
A landing page without a form is pointless. There is nothing on the page for the user to do, it would be information based only like one of the pages on your website. Ensure the form is placed strategically at the top of the page and if there is a fair amount of content, it may be wise to add one towards the bottom as well for ease.
- Have I kept the required information to a minimum?
- Have I avoided asking for sensitive information?
- Does the form button have a unique phrase? (E.g. ‘Download the eBook’).
- Do I fulfil the offer as soon as possible?
- Do I have a follow up email?
How Can Jerram Help?
We offer all round guidance and education to businesses on the digital medium to help them achieve maximum potential through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Web Design, Conversion Rate Optimisation and Optimised Landing Pages. We focus on what is important to make a successful business – conversions. By creating and implementing tailored marketing strategies we can achieve your business goals & create fantastic ROI’s!