Web Design 101You Need a gorgeous, high converting website that's fast, mobile responsive and generates revenue
Business owners know they need a website, they need to be able to show what they offer, it legitimizes their business!
But beyond that… how badly do you need one and what all does it do for you?
What does “responsive” mean and why does it need to be “fast”?
Your website is there to build trust
Every website has the exact same purpose..
You may think yours is special, or different, or unique..
“But mine is different! It’s there to build B2B leads! I don’t need to talk to the audience in the same way you might think I do!“
Your website is there to build trust, plain and simple.
The only way people will want to insert their credit card information into your website or have enough motivation to pick up the phone and call or visit your store is if they trust you. The only way people will want to come back and take a second look if they needed some time to think over a decision is if they trust you.
For every single web interaction, trust is going to be what makes them move, and it’s the job of your website to get a visitor to do what you want them to do!
There’s nothing more to it than that.
So then… how do we do that?
Let us explain with our tried and true strategy
table of contents
Click any of the chapters below to skip ahead!
provide a great user experience online
give the visitors opportunities to buy from you
The Purpose of A Website Strategy From The Beginning
The reason you’re reading this is most likely because you want to get more out of your business and/or your website… more sales, more leads, and better leads..
You’re ready to take your business to the next level.
A lot of people at this point want to just imitate what everyone else is doing, assuming that if they’re a successful business of they’re of a certain size it must be the best way to do it, and to be fair a lot of web development companies think the same – but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The truth is you need to start from the ground up and ask why you are making a change, understanding what changes are necessary to obtain the specific results you’re searching for, and go from there.
There is in fact a science to it.
The New Way to Sell Websites
The old way of designing was to take a look at their old website, find out what doesn’t look good and might be a turn off, incorporate what the client thought they needed, make it look pretty and call it a day. A pretty looking website feels good, and it can help, but if we want to maximize leads and profits this isn’t where the process should end.
This strategy is still commonplace and what a lot of agencies still do – and sometimes all that clients expect. You don’t have time to learn the website industry and find out what will maximize your revenues the most so you’ll never know the difference… and if you and the agency both feel good about a pretty website, who would ever question this?
We’ve found during our strategy sessions with our new method that we’d often uncover a need that the client had never thought of!
Sometimes this resulted in an expansion in the scope of the project – and clients don’t like being confronted with the fact they might have to pay more than originally quoted.. and why didn’t we know this in the first place??
After refining our initial build strategy process, we came up with a way to scope out these necessities first and build it into the original pricing and timeline so there were no surprises on either end.
Why.. What?.. THEN How!
Now our process starts with our WHY. Why do you want a re-design? Why do you have this problem in the first place? Then we move onto WHAT needs to be done? What functionality has to be in place to get the most out of your unique audiences desires?
We then move onto the implementation phase, the HOW.
Do you need an events calendar integration? Would that make it so much easier for your audience to engage with you? Do you need to be capturing emails to build a list? Do you need to fix your pages loadspeeds so people don’t just leave in the first place?
What functionality will help your specific business and target audience the most?
Do they need to see pictures of your work if you do landscaping and construction? People like to window shop. In other industries this might not make sense but for you it could make or break a website viewers decision to contact you, or another company that gave them the opportunity to see what their results look like.
None of this can happen just by making your website look pretty. It has to have the right functionality to drive sales.
So if you’re in the market for a website, we implore you, develop a blueprint and have a strategy session beforehand to implement the functionality your website needs so it will actually serve its purpose – to build trust and be your #1 salesman.
This is principle #1
Why Thinking About Your Websites As A Sales Tool Is The Correct Mindset
By kneejerk reaction most people think of a website as a marketing tool. It’s out there to bring you customers right?
We’re not saying it CAN’T do that, or that it SHOULDN’T do that, in fact it is one of the most effective tools out there in 2020 to do just that, but a website itself like we’ve been saying, is to be your #1 best salesman.
A lot of websites are sold on the premise that it will attract new customers just by existing.. we see this a lot by frustrated customers looking at us for a new design:
“We know Google takes a long time to get us ranking… but it’s been quite a long time and we’re only getting a few people here and there and it’s been MONTHS!”
Well, that’s because they let you buy their product thinking that it’s a traffic generation tool without a strategy to get your site ranking, because they threw out the word “SEO” included
Now let’s crack open the matrix and discover what a website, by itself, actually DOES do.
Principles #2 - Shortened Sales Cycles & Increased Close Rates
Again one of the most common frustrations people have with websites is that their sold on the idea that they’re going to generate new tangible results, that there are going to be brand new customers lining up out the door because Google can now find you!
That is the power of a marketing strategy (SEO, AdWords, Social Media Marketing) + A website. You have to put gas in the car for it to go somewhere!
Check out our Search Engine Optimization services for more on what that looks like
But! Don’t lose all hope just yet, a website alone is still a force to be reckoned with.
If you hired a brand new salesman who every potential customer you had talked to him came back ready to go, defenses down, eyes wide with excitement and anticipation with cash in hand, completely trusting you.. that salesman would be worth his weight in gold right? You’d be paying that man top dollar!
You might wonder.. “How in the world does that salesman take people from being on the fence and skeptical to throwing their wallets at me..?”.
With a properly designed website you can have that salesman and you only have to pay him one time!
Hopefully the lights are starting to turn on with the idea we keep thumping over your head that your website is there to build trust and be your #1 salesman?
How is this done?
There are several factors.
It does need to look pretty. If it looks like it’s from 2003 they’re going to think you’re old and out of touch, they’re going to think you actually aren’t on the ball with your business. If you were a real establishment how could you let something so important go unaddressed? What else in the company isn’t up to par?
Next it has to answer potential customers most common questions. They’ll have things they want to know before they proceed with you and maybe they don’t want to pick up the phone or send an email right now, maybe they can just click over to the next companies website and they have everything they needed to know right on there already for them so they go with the company that they know the most about.
They will know you understand the customer if you answer their questions before they even ask them, they’ll know you’ve solved these problems before and that you know how to solve them again. They’ll trust you’ve done this before. You’ll form a connection with them.
This will also have a secondary benefit of shortening your sales cycle. For those that do pick up the phone you won’t have to spend minutes to hours on the phone answering the same questions over and over and over again (and over and over…).
This means you can spend more time building your business, on the important things, not on menial tasks that should be handled by a website.
…Have a friend that knows someone who might want to use your services? Send them to the website first.
…Does one of your previous customers have a potential new lead for you but they have some questions? Send them to the website first.
…Are you getting attention from Facebook or other social media but have to spend 10-20 minutes informing them on how you operate? Send them to the website first.
….Did someone call but nobody could answer? Have the voicemail send them to the website.
By the time they do get on the phone with you their either ready to buy or are ready to take it to the next stage.
This saves hours of your time.
Your website is your #1 salesman! If done right…
How do I do this?
If you’re the company owner you probably already know these questions.. probably too well. If you have a sales team, we have to bring them into the process and see what questions they get asked over and over and over again. We can get these things handled before anyone has to talk to a customer!
Websites are powerful sales tools.
Building Even More Trust
Written content to answer these questions is great, as about 70% of a persons buying decisions are made before they even talk to a salesperson but they have no idea who wrote what and what their intentions are.
Video explainers are an exponentially more powerful way to not only hold users attention and answer these questions at the same time, but also to build a connection with that potential customers. People buy from people and having video on your website will decrease your sales cycle drastically.
How much more comfortable do you feel buying from someone after you’ve gotten to know them a little bit at least or have gotten a good read on them by talking to them on the phone or meeting them in person?
This is what video can do on your website, 24/7, on demand, all the time.
Pre Sell Customers
Say someone emails you and wants to setup a phone call and they mention a specific question they have? Well if you have pre-generated content on all these common questions guess what? You can schedule the call and also send them that content so by the time they get on the phone it’ll take the least amount of time possible to make the sale.
How great is this sounding already? How much time can you envision a website saving you and your sales team?
Their trust will be higher, their questions will be pre answered, they may just need to know what to do next to buy! How about that?
Think about when Progressive insurance came out and they had their price comparison on their website, which had never been done before. If Progressive set themselves up as a comparable service with a lower price… how much do you think that sold potential buyers? All on autopilot without anyone on your sales team having to lift a finger. The website sold the product for them.
What Not To Do
Avoiding Tough Subjects
You may be hesitant to put up things like competitor pricing or how others do business but this is going to come up in the sales process anyway and if they weren’t going to buy because of this, well, you saved time having to talk to someone who was never going to buy in the first place!
This will also generate another heap of trust because you’re being open and honest about how you do things. Even if you feel you’re not quite up to par with company X who’s been in business 55 years you may just get the deal because you weren’t trying to hide anything and it signals to the customer that you won’t hide anything else down the line.
Being Offputting With An Overly Sales-y Approach
You don’t want your website coming off feeling like you’re reading something written by a used car salesman.
Your job is to be open, upfront, honest, and informative. That will do all the selling you need to and it pre qualifies as well. If a potential customer discovers you aren’t the right fit for them it saves you and your sales team time digging that out of them. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of talking to someone for 20 minutes and then the fateful question comes up where we realize we’re not even offering that service they assumed we did! There’s no need for that with a properly built website.
People can smell sales tactics and “hidden” agendas from a mile away. The best online sales strategy is to be a real, authentic company with the customers best interest in mind. It takes care of itself.
Don’t Focus On Yourself – Focus On Your Customer
If you’ve ever done any research into the psychology of sales you’ll know this analogy comes up again and again and again… and for good reason.
Sales is commonly compared to dating, or being on a first date.
If you’re there and all you do is talk about yourself, how great you are, all the things you’ve done, what you want and what you’re the best at do you think you’ll get a second date?
Those things should come up but it shouldn’t be one sided, there should be a balance.
You want to learn about the other person, ask questions about them, and find out who they are.
That’s a much more surefire way to get a second date.
Your website should be the same way. You want to talk about the problems you can solve for your customer. This is something they can relate to and it lets them know you have them on your mind, not yourself and what you can get from them. This is how you connect with people who visit your website. You find what matters to them and you talk about it.
How can you serve them? Have you solved these problems for other people like them? What does working with you look like, for them?
Speaking Their Language
Sure if you’re a chiropractor and you do upper cervical adjusts that’s great! Fantastic! You may know that that can somehow lead to relief in lower back pain, but a potential customer may not. If someone visited your website and that’s all that your website talked about they may click away not knowing you can help deal with lower back problems.
You want to speak in their terms.
So instead of listing technical definitions of what you do (which is good to do as well, but no solely) list something like:
- Resolve lower back pain
- Eliminate migraine headaches
- Eliminate chronic ear infections in infants
Now that is speaking their language, they don’t need a science degree to understand what you can do for them, for what problems you can solve for them.
They may not know a lot about chiropractic work but if they’ve tried other methods without relief they now know something else they can try!
Provide Value – Don’t Take It
People respond to value, its how we function. We don’t do things if we don’t think something good is going to come of it for us.
Every article you write, every video you make, should be about how you can offer value to your potential customer. They want to walk away feeling like you did something for them – and for free!
You may offer them knowledge that makes them feel like you’re the authority on a subject and that just may push them to want to take it to the next level with you.
One of the best ways to provide value is actually to educate. You want to become an amazing teacher in your arena. You should be teaching a viewer with every piece of content you put out.
Think about this article. You’re probably getting a lot from this right? You’re probably getting the feeling we know what we’re talking about and we’ve done this a time or two. That’s offering value.
No one wants to land on a page where like we talked about they just talk about themselves and what they can get from you.
“We’ve been in business for 10 years! We’ll be sure to get you back! We do it better than anyone else in the industry! Give us your email and we’ll put you on our sales list!”
Offering value is magnetic, while talking about yourself and trying to take value is repulsive.
Keep this in mind when building your content strategy.
Answer Their Questions
It comes back to this again!
This is also offering value. This is giving them something they want to know about you!
Here are some of the best questiosn to answer:
- Financial costs
- Common Problems
- Comparisons of you vs the competition
- Best of
Let’s shift our mindset again from using our website to talk about ourselves to offering value and speaking to the customers interest.
Let’s use Amazon.com as an example.
When you buy from Amazon what do you do? Do you look for the products with the best reviews? Seriously how important is that in your purchasing decision? It’s almost everything. Do you look at what is best in that category and compare it to the others? Do you look for common problems among these products and ways to deal with them before purchasing them? Did you look at options in different price ranges?
For some reason when we buy these things are obvious but when we try to sell we get stuck on thinking about ourselves again! Customers truly don’t care about us, they care about how you can help solve their problems, so give them what they want!
Give The Visitor What They’re Looking For
If we could boil down Google’s number one goal, its main purpose, it would be to answer people’s questions, and answer them correctly and with the first result every time.
Google works tirelessly to achieve this and they don’t hide the fact that they want you to work with them to do this.
So from the previous chapters we’ve learned that this is one of the primary goals of your website – to answer customers most common questions to help build trust and shorten your sales cycle.
Google will reward those that do so with higher rankings. Those that provide the most value to the user will be ranked higher amongst others in the same arena.
Google will look at large quantities of unique, actually valuable content (not just boring fluff – they pay attention to how long someone is on that page and how often they click away) to determine if you’re an expert in your field. They also want to be sure you dive into the subtopics of your main topics and expand largely there. You want to build an empire of truly useful content.
The way we provide this valuable user experience comes in several parts, and it can get a bit complex at this point (which is why we handle it!)
Having all this valuable content is one thing, but you want to make sure you have the technical foundation so Google can analyze it and categorize it or you may be selling yourself short!
The way you structure your content is an important component of how Google will be able to read it. You want to be speaking in Google’s SEO language, and they’re not shy about telling us how this should be done.
Keywords are also the next factor to integrate into that hierarchy.
The term keyword is something you’ve probably heard before if you’ve been involved in online marketing and for good reason, they are critical to understand for online success.
Keywords are sort of the address that points somewhere to the right location and then once you get there you can explore what’s there. This is the same for Google. You have to let them know with certain keyword implementation in titles, headings, subheadings, and in the content itself that that’s the main focus of this article.
Website Performance & Technical SEO
This is the part of the game that the owner of the website will rarely hear about. There is so much going on behind the scenes it’s hard to even communicate unless you take a class on the topic.
User Engagement Levels
These are the key metrics Google will look at to determine that the users coming to your site have in fact found what they are looking for and that they enjoy it.
If all your keywords are based around basketball but all of your content is about football, everyone who finds you is going to stay on your website for 2.5 seconds and exit out right away, they may not even bother searching around to see if the information is even on that site in another place.
Your keywords, content, and all your signals to Google must be in alignment. It will send users your way based on your keywords but if your content isn’t highly relevant to those keywords Google will see that people aren’t enjoying what they find.
- Page Depth: This metric is a measure of the number of pages a single user will go through on your website before they leave. If they visit 3-4 pages they must have found what they were looking for and wanted to know even more about it! This is how Google thinks as well. We want to strive for 3 here but the higher the better!
- Session Length: How long a user stays on your website is another huge factor. Like we mentioned before if people are finding you but exiting in 2.5 seconds, that is embarrassing to Google. They’re the #1 search engine in the world. If you punish them for providing completely unrelated content to your keywords, they will never serve your site up for those keywords again. Don’t punish Google.
If you score well with these metrics, Google will want to put you at the top of the rankings because clearly users are enjoying it. There is no way to cheat this. You have to be engaging with the viewer on topics that are interesting to them. One of the ways as we’ve said many times is to answer their most common questions! Of course that will lead to high user engagement! It’s what everyone in that arena constantly wants to know.
Constant Content Updates
Google wants experts in their field to be served up first and foremost.. if you’re an expert, would the content on your website all be 4 years old? No, of course not. You’d be constantly updating it with the most cutting edge and insightful content out there.
We’d like to stress here that this must be unique content. There are some content farms that produce new articles weekly for a topic they specialize in and sell it for cheap to 500 websites on the same topic… so while these websites are getting affordable and probably engaging content it is the same content as 500 other websites have. This is a big no no.
But at the same time an expert has probably been in their field for a lonog time right? How else would you know so much about a topic?
So Google will look at the age of your domain and how long your website has been around, and how often it is updated with fresh, original, engaging conent.
There’s not much you can do if your domain and business is brand new, but there is a lot you can do about the content.
If you can pump out 2-3 new articles or blog posts per week, and do that for the long haul, you will be on Google’s radar. Not a lot of people have the drive to do that and that’s why we stress that it must be done if you want to truly compete in the online marketplace.
Website Load Speed
There are entire sections of the internet dedicated to intense discussion and analysis of this topic. It’s a fun one for us, it’s almost like a competition.
There are also some frightening realizations that come when studying this as it is quite a reflection of the attention span of our times.
Research has shown that if your website takes 4 seconds, yes.. FOUR seconds to load you have already lost 25% of your visitors.
Yes. 1 out of every 4 people will not even wait for your website to load before exiting it and finding your competitors if you make them wait for 4 seconds. Ouch.
If you take 10 seconds to load, you lose another 35%.
Where else in your business space could you increase your exposure by 60% by fixing something so simple?
People make the mistake of thinking their website is “good enough for me” not realizing the agony this causes us when we can’t get through to them what fixing this could do for their bottom line.
Let’s say 300 people attempt to visit your website a month. If your load times are 10+ seconds, you’re effectively losing over 150 viewers. We can’t stress enough how important this is, and neither can Google.
Remember, if you punish Google’s users with a frustrating experience, they will punish you right back. The last thing they want is to be known as the search engine that drives you crazy.
We guarantee 1-2 second load times unless the client requests large image or video files that will affect load speeds significantly. We will inform this of the impact this has but for something like a photographers website where the image quality needs to be ultra HD, this may make sense to sacrifice a bit of load time.
If there’s nothing like this going on and you have high load times then you’ve just got yourself either an uneducated or inadequate developer.
We provide you with diagnostics and analytics showing your Page Speed, Best Practice Score, and SEO score that Google uses itself to score websites. We have nothing to hide because we do it right.
That Buzzword.. “Mobile Responsive”
Holy moly how often do you hear this shoved into your earholes? Why is everyone shouting this at you and why won’t they stop??
Well, fortunately, it’s for good reason.
Google themselves is reporting that upwards of 55% of internet traffic is coming from mobile devices..
We still come across websites to this day that are completely unusable on a smartphone.
You could be losing 50% of your visitors because of this fatal mistake.
You must find a developer that designs your website with mobile, tablet, and desktop in mind as each format will take tweaking to make it display properly on these devices.
Google has actually adopted a “mobile first” policy, stating that rather than a mobile friendly site being a slight bonus, it’s actually one of its most important features.
Ready to take your first step towards maximizing your business’s revenues with professional digital marketing?