Online marketing can be a little bit tricky to navigate, especially if it’s not something you deal with every day. At ZHOOSH, we regularly monitor our clients’ websites so that we can better understand how customers are using their websites (yes, there are tools for that!). What are the visitors clicking on? How are they scrolling? What are they reading versus not reading? It’s a behavioral thing that most folks don’t think about. So being strategic with how you design your website will do you many favors.
Step 1: Research
Researching and understanding what other businesses in your industry are doing is key! Think about the following questions:
What pain points are they addressing?
How are they addressing it?
What are the common denominators amongst all of the websites you visited?
Are they all using similar colors?
Do their designs look the same?
What are they missing?
What can you do better/ differently?
Answering these questions will give you a really good idea of where to start.
Step 2: Know Your Audience
Have you ever heard of a customer persona or avatar? This exercise is so so good for knowing and understanding who you will be speaking to and designing for. HubSpot has a great guide on its website for how to create a customer persona with templates and PDFs explaining the exercise. Our advice: Be sure to be as specific as possible!
For example, I was chatting with a friend over in England and she said, “I have a friend who says her persona is a 35-year-old male who drives a hatchback sedan. He’s married with three kids and is a plumber. None of her clients fit that description, but that is the person she speaks to.” LOVE IT! Being that specific will be incredibly helpful when writing blogs, content for your site, social media posts, designing your website, etc. By forgoing this part of your planning process, you run the risk of missing the mark with so many things.
Step 3: Create Captivating Content
Creating content that is not flat, but rather captivating and with pizzazz can be quite the challenge. I don’t have many clients that hit the mark with this piece, but the importance of it is incredibly pivotal for success. If writing is not your bag, consider hiring a Copywriter. Copywriters can ensure that the copy is SEO optimized for getting your site to the top of the search rankings, they can ensure the voice is consistent throughout, and they can engage your visitors to want to click through and learn more.
If you don’t have the budget for a Copywriter, at least consider hiring a Copy Editor to review your content to ensure the voice is consistent throughout the site. It’s not overly expensive and it will make for a more refined experience. After all, our goal as business owners is to put our best foot forward in everything we do.
Consider sales techniques when writing your copy. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What value does your business bring?
What pain-point are you addressing for your persona?
What does your persona fear?
What can they gain by working with you?
Here’s a little story to give you an example. Our Founder, Denise, was traveling in Bali for a few weeks when she met by way of her brother the Owner and Chef of a failing restaurant, Aaron. When Denise asked why his business wasn’t online anywhere, Aaron responded, “Denise, I am a Chef. I don’t know anything about this technology stuff.” She offered to go back to visit him during her last week there to help get him set-up online. While out for breakfast one day, he said, “Honestly, Denise, I don’t know how much longer I can sustain myself.” He was afraid he was going to have to leave Bali. Denise responded, “Don’t worry! Once we get you set-up online, everything will be ok.” Sure enough, three months later he was the #1 restaurant in his area and today he has several different concepts, he’s married with two kids. He and his businesses are thriving!
His pain point was not know anything about technology/ being overwhelmed with it. He feared that he was going to have to leave and move elsewhere. He gained security, success, and a great livelihood.
Step 4: Design with Purpose
Design a website that will attract your persona. How do you do that, you ask? Research! Ha! Are you starting to see a trend here? Research to see what designs your person would be most attracted to. Bold or soft? Rustic or elegant?
When performing your research, don’t limit yourself to those websites in your industry. Get inspiration from all over! What cool features are you seeing that you’d like to implement on your website?
WiX has a lot of really cool designs to pick and choose from and various apps to add, depending on your need. And when you’re done giving it a go, reach out to us to get a free consultation, or to simply ZHOOSH it up.
Don’t forget to design the mobile version as well. Despite what one may think, the mobile version doesn’t automatically create itself. You’ll likely have to adjust the type and move a few things around to provide a good mobile experience. Depending on your industry, mobile usage is upwards of 50% of those visiting your website, so you may want to ZHOOSH it up and make it just as spectacular!
One last thing to consider - design for the visually impaired. There are several sites to check your work, but essentially, you’ll just want to make sure all of the text is easy to read and the colors don’t contrast. Check out WebAIM to test your site to ensure it’s good to go before publishing it.
Step 5: SEO Best Practices
Implementing the best practices for Search Engine Optimization will not only help your website get to the top of the Google search results, it’ll also help convert leads to sales. Here are just a to get you started::
Keyword Research - moz.com is a great resource to figure out what keywords are being searched for the most and ensure that they are implemented into your copy
Meta Data Descriptions - When creating your descriptions, ensure the keywords are implemented there as well
Title Tags - Add the keywords there as well (ex. Award-Winning Web Design Agency)
Blog Posts - According to Google, content is one of the top two ranking factors. The more content you have on your site, the better off you are! So go on! Create those blog posts to educate your audience. Show that you are a thought leader in your space
Did you find this helpful? We’ve got so much more to add with our How to Create a Bombastic Website MasterClass. We dive into more detail on the above, and also talk about:
Branding 101 (including color theory and why that’s important)
Creating + Analyzing Your Content
Design Do’s + Don’ts
Designing for the Visually Impaired
SEO Best Practices (yes, we’ve got more!)
Testing Your Website (functional and user experience)
Publishing Your Website (how to install Google Analytics, publish to Google, and a few other tips and tricks to get you on your way)
ZHOOSH is a web + branding agency based in Chicago + Asheville, and servicing the global community. Please take us up on our offer for a free consultation of your website! We’re here to support you.