Designing a website is a very different proposition now than it was a few years ago. With the changes in technology but more importantly, the changes in buyer mindset, websites need to be designed carefully. If you want inbound success, this should be at the core of the website design. Following these 8 steps will help you get there.
Who is your website attracting?
The first step is to think about who your website is attracting – who are you talking to? In order to create websites designed to generate leads, you need to know who those leads are and what you need to say to them.
One of the best places to start with this is buyer personas or ideal customer avatars. These are a process where you examine your ideal customer, what they are looking for and how you can use your website to attract them.
What stages of the marketing funnel do you need to cover?
Because the aim is to use the inbound marketing approach on your website, you will want to consider the different stages of the marketing funnel and where your customers are in it. You might need to hire an inbound marketing agency to help with this stage because it is very important. But a snapshot of the three main areas include:
- Top of the funnel – someone searching for a general type of car ‘best small car’
- Middle of the funnel – someone looking for more information on something specific ‘reviews of Ford Focus’
- Bottom of the funnel – someone who has made a choice and now wants to buy ‘Ford Focus cars for sale’
Another way of looking at this is people may be at the Learner, Shopper or Buyer stage depending on their awareness of the topic. You need to see where your product fits in and how your website helps them move through the stages.
What kind of content do you need?
Once you have lined up the funnel and where you fit into it, you can start to consider the type of content you need for your audience. The aim is always to stand out from the competition and to provide top-quality content that helps your audience.
One phrase often used is a ‘thought leader’ – based on the idea of taking what has already been done and improving it. This can have benefits for both your audience and also SEO – more on that in a moment.
Focus on talking about the ‘why’
As you are planning your content, make sure you are thinking and talking about the ‘why’ more than the ‘what’. This means talking about why someone needs or wants what you offer, how it helps them, what problems it solves. If you are just talking about what the product does or is, this won’t have the same emotional connection for your audience as to why they need it or how it helps them.
Understand the basics of SEO
You don’t need to be an expert in SEO to create an inbound website, but you do want to learn the basics and apply these as you go. For certain, the basics of on-page SEO should be in your mind as you are creating the website.
Keywords are one of the most important things to understand. What keywords and phrases would your audience use to find your product? What keywords are needed to help them understand it and why it is what they need? Naturally including these in the copy, the URL, the title and in the meta description are also the foundation of SEO.
Ensure your website is easy to navigate
SEO is about optimising your website for user experience and as you design your site, one of the top things to consider is the design and navigation of your site. The more complex the navigation, the more chance people abandon their visit and go elsewhere.
Instead, make sure the most important parts of the site are in key places. Your menu should show the next steps to take. Links in the footer should make it easy for people to find key areas. Anchor texts within content should be logical for the content they are linking with.
Have a responsive design
Depending on your industry, the percentage of users on mobile could be anywhere from 40-80%. This means a responsive design that is mobile friendly is key to capture all visitors on all devices. It is also a big part of SEO and Google are now taking a ‘mobile-first’ approach.
Stand out from the competition
The final step is to look for ways to stand out from your competition. You don’t want to copy anyone but look at what they do and see how you can do it better. This doesn’t always mean flashy graphics or bold colour schemes – it may be about simplifying the customer experience, offering more information or simply ensuring it is easy for customers to reach out to you with questions.
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