6 Inbound Marketing Best Practices for Your Website
All inbound websites should have several essential elements if companies want to attract the right traffic and convert visitors into qualified leads. Your company must ensure that these elements are targeted just right to reach your buyer persona. Ultimately, you should position your site to provide someone with almost everything they need to know about your company and how your services can solve their problems.
While the specifics may change according to your business, there are several best practices that every company should be aware of, whether you’re optimizing your site, redesigning, or starting from scratch.
How Does Your Company’s Website Design Measure Up?
1. Optimize for Search
Whether your company is a startup or has an established online presence, your website must implement an effective SEO strategy.
As with any marketing strategy, it is necessary first to identify your target audience so you can position your website and solutions so they can easily be found. From there, you (or an SEO specialist) can create a list of appropriate keywords the users would search for when looking for solutions like the ones your company offers.
Once you have curated your keyword list, you should start organically incorporating the keywords throughout your website – whether that’s in blog posts, web page copy, or in page titles and meta descriptions.
While keywords are essential to your SEO strategy, it should go beyond this element. Using a tool like SEMrush, you can discover any potential errors on your site and make necessary updates. You can also find recommendations for improving your current content, monitor which pages are ranking well, and more.
2. Blog Consistently
Your site has little value if users can’t find it, so your primary goal should be to aim for at least 1,000 visitors per month. Quality blog posts give your company a better opportunity to be found organically, educate your target audience, and position your company as a thought leader in your industry. You’ll need to explore the best blog topics for your particular persona. To get ideas, look at industry trends, frequently asked questions, and offer insightful statistics.
These types of topics will allow your company to gain credibility in your industry and encourage potential customers that you can be trusted not only as a resource but also for your product offering. Ultimately, you can leverage the power of content marketing to help educate, attract, and convert audiences (even on a strict marketing budget).
3. Establish an Engaging User Experience
Once you establish a steady visitor flow, it’s essential to review the usability of your website, also known as user experience (UX). According to a Microsoft study, the rising popularity of smartphones, messaging apps, social media, and mobile data in the past 18 years has reduced the average human attention span from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. This means that your website has 8 seconds or less to hook the user’s attention – first impressions matter! If your site navigation is confusing or the layout is chaotic, the work you put into SEO and blogging could be all for naught.
Your website should aim to make the user’s journey effortless. And while visitors might not realize it, you have an intended path for them to take on your website. For example, they may see your blog in the navigation and choose to click for more information, or they may see a call-to-action and choose to reach out to your company by filling out a form.
Many sites incorporate a simplistic design with easy-to-read fonts, straightforward navigation, and abundant white space. Homepages are fast-loading and distraction-free.
It is essential to get the visitor the information they want in one or two clicks – if the resource requires more clicks to acquire, simplify that path. Otherwise, the user could find navigating your site cumbersome and may leave. Also, don’t forget Hick’s Law – the fewer choices you present a user, the faster they will make a decision!
4. Implement Site Page Essentials
Your site’s layout and content must be created with the target audience’s challenges and needs in mind and should also be mobile responsive.
Main site pages should be educational, engaging, and ultimately encourage the visitor to stay on the site and explore other pages. Most companies include several of these must-have elements on their site pages:
- Headline: Use headlines to communicate the overall message of your page and instantly catch the visitor’s attention. Keep the headline short, easy-to-read, and compelling while quickly summing up what the page is about – sounds easy, right?
- Hero Image: The hero element (we recommend a static graphic or video that is NOT set to auto-play) must also impress the visitor when they land on your page. The hero can inspire emotion, help visitors relate to your brand, and provide context to your headline.
- Call-to-Action (CTA): Every page on your website should display one primary call-to action-button. Examples include, “Sign Up Now,” “Request a Demo,” “Schedule a Consultation” and “Start Free Trial.” CTA’s should be visible at the top of the page (above the fold) to immediately capture your visitor’s attention, and again throughout the page to give the user more time to make a decision.
- Navigation Bar: A navigation bar is a critical site-wide element. It directs the visitor through your pages so they can learn more about your company and product. The links must be organized logically and fluidly to easily help users arrive to their intended destination.
- Social Proof: Customer logos on site pages are powerful trust indicators. Other social proof elements include testimonials, awards, case studies, etc. Consider adding social proof to your pages to increase credibility.
- Footer: Customers are increasingly looking for information in website footers. Use this prime real estate to display all of your links, including those that may not be in the main navigation. You can also provide contact information and include social icons for each of your accounts.
Monday.com incorporates a concise headline, an above-the-fold CTA, clean design, simple navigation bar, and social proof.
5. Display Valuable Visuals
Your brand is the frontman that connects people to the services you offer. Be sure to keep fonts, colors, and imagery with your brand’s style guide for a cohesive user experience.
Whether your company chooses to use photos of real people or illustrations, it is vital to keep the images unique, authentic, and relatable. Nothing disrupts the flow of your website like awkward and obvious stock images. The right images can make abstract concepts (like software) easier to understand and can quickly portray powerful emotions. Identifying your buyer persona will make it easier for your team to curate the proper visuals.
Including a compelling video on your site can help engage visitors and keep them on the page longer. Videos can do an excellent job of explaining the value of your product or service in a unique and creative format.
Buffer.com features illustrated images.
6. Focus on Lead Generation
Here are a few ideas to boost conversions:
- Choose CTA Wording Carefully: The way your CTA’s are phrased can have a two-fold impact on conversion performance. First, you’ll want to use a verb, such as get, download, schedule, or register to invite the user to click. Second, make sure the call to action clearly defines what the user will receive when clicked, and that it’s in alignment with the wording and offer on your landing page.
- Optimize your Landing Pages: Make sure your landing pages follow best practices by keeping them simple and eliminating distractions. It is common practice to build and test several landing pages for conversion effectiveness and to document interactions through heatmaps and funnel tracking.
- Pop-Up Form: Pop-up forms work great as a last-ditch conversion effort. You can set them to appear when a user begins to scroll up and exit the page, also known as exit intent. The offer for the pop-up should be relevant to the page content and target visitors who are still in the research phase of their journey, or busy users who don’t have time to read a full eBook in one sitting.
Hootsuite.com offers a free 30-day trial.
By incorporating these best practices into your website, you can create a robust marketing machine that increases conversion rates and is primed to grow your business.
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