Your website is one of the most important sales tools for your company. It never sleeps and is always ready to convince prospects that they should choose your product over others. Just having a website isn’t enough, though. It has to be intentionally designed to attract traffic and convert visitors into leads.
Designing a site that will attract sales traffic requires looking at how the site will function for a user. The iPhone wouldn’t be the phenomenon it is if Apple hadn’t taken the time to understand how people want to use a smartphone. It’s technically impressive but without correct design wouldn’t be nearly as usable. The same goes for your website.
I’m going to guide you through a few details to keep in mind when constructing your website with the goal of attracting leads.
One may be the loneliest number but it’s the perfect number when it comes to navigation bars. You can put your navigation bar on the left side of the site or on the top of it, but most people expect – and prefer – to see theirs at the top of a site.
More than one navigation bar confuses users and clutters your website with links. Most sites with two navigation bars say they’re doing it to make getting around the site easy. What they don’t realize, though, is that people don’t need the same kind of hand-holding they did 10 years ago; they get it.
Now that you know one navigation bar is plenty, you probably want to jazz it up with some drop-down menus, right? Pump the brakes and slow down. Drop-down menus should only be used if it’s necessary. Those menus can confuse users and don’t work particularly well on mobile devices. Instead of drop-downs, keep the menu selections general enough that the second page will house links to the various subpages you want to feature. For example, if your company sells aftermarket performance transmissions you could have users navigate to a general “Transmissions” page from the main navigation. Provide links for the various transmission choices on that second-level page instead of putting those in a drop-down.
Also, make sure you label the sections on your main navigation clearly and accurately. While you probably want to lead people to the products with the highest profit margin, don’t misleadingly label sections just to get eyes on those pages. Nobody wants to waste their time trying to figure out where links go to or what the terms mean.
One final navigation tip: If you can, incorporate some keywords into your main navigation links.
3 Clicks To A Page
The longer users have to spend drilling down through pages and menus, the less likely they are to stay on your site. Make sure that all of your content can be reached in just 3 clicks or less. This might sound challenging but it actually isn’t hard if you map out your site carefully and with an eye on how visitors will naturally navigate. A company with dozens of products may have a harder time with just 3 clicks; in this case, simply aim to minimize the number required to get to each product.
For the users’ sakes, websites with a large number of pages should include a search function that looks within the website for content. The magic word there is “within” – don’t put a search bar on your site that scours the entire internet for results. That makes it much too easy for a user to navigate off your site and onto a competitor’s.
Flash used to be a neat way to get moving images and graphics on a website but those times have passed. HTML 5 applications should be used instead because they’re mobile-friendly and you can do so much with them. Just take a look at what Frank Isca had to say about HTML 5 if you have any doubts.
Don’t Hide Your Content
You’ve worked hard to create valuable content – don’t hide it! Calls to action (CTAs) are the best way to get users to navigate to content that you want to promote because of its value to prospects. Make sure all content behind the CTA has a landing page that asks for contact information in exchange so that you’re converting these people to leads – and hopefully the leads into customers.
Make Sure That It's Relevant Content Though
You need to make sure that your content answers the questions that visitors to your site have. As a company you want to get your message out but you can't ignore the fact that people can tell when a website is being self-promotional. Answering your users' questions also gives you a great opportunity to work in additional keywords which will boost your rank on SERPs. If they are searching for answers to their questions you want to be the website that they go to first.
Time To Make Bank
Okay, so your website might not pay for itself within a month, but smart design will get things moving in the right direction. Always remember to keep the user in mind when designing or redesigning your website. It’s not worthwhile to spend hours and hours working on a site that nobody wants to spend time on. Content is king but your website is the castle your content lives in.