We launched a new Buzzquake website on June 1 that incorporated many of the web design best practices that we advise our clients to implement. Please check it out and let us know what you think.
Simplified Home Page
Our new home page is clean, simple and visually compelling. It has a clear message (Sales Solved) that is intended to speak to the needs of our target audience. In order to improve conversion rates, we significantly decluttered the page. Essentially we removed everything except the buttons that we want people to click on.
Praise from happy clients is valuable to organizations like ours who are hoping to grow their sales and revenue because testimonials enhance visitors’ perceptions of our expertise and trustworthiness. The current advice from design experts is to sprinkle testimonials throughout a website instead of having a testimonials page. So, we put about a dozen quotes from customers on various pages starting with the home page. We made sure that the content of the testimonials was appropriate given the content of the pages where they appear.
We will continue to publish original content regularly. When we write content we keep a list of industry keywords handy to include in the content and thus help with SEO.
We took the time to enter good metadata for each post, page and image – don’t forget your images! We think of metadata as like planting seeds. It’s a lot of work and you can’t see any benefits right away, but with time, it will propel your growth.
We created a new sitemap and submitted it to Google and Bing. This will speed up the indexing process and push us up higher in the organic search pile.
Finally, because the bulk of our clients come from our local area, we implemented a few local SEO tactics including mentioning Howard County, Columbia and Ellicott City in our site name, page titles and snippets.
We built a portfolio page with stunning images intended to engage visitors and encourage them to click through to case studies summarizing some of our past projects. Don’t underestimate the value of a website’s appearance. “Good looks” is almost always at or near the top of our clients’ lists of important characteristics. Still, to be effective, beautiful content is only part of a design which will encourage site visitors to convert into leads or customers.
Make it Easy to Sign Up and Share
To encourage people to join our list (give us their email addresses), we put an email signup in the footer of every page. It is important to remember that people will initially land on different pages of your site – in fact, the home page is frequently NOT the most common landing page. For that reason, we made sure we have a conversion mechanism on EVERY page, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to put it in the footer.
Similarly, we put a pretty robust content sharing element on every post. This makes it easy to share a post via social media or email with just a few clicks.
About pages typically get a lot of traffic which is a shame given how poorly they tend to be written. We took a lot of time to write concise, engaging copy for our about page. We used a casual tone that fits our personalities and inserted links to our LinkedIn pages so that we didn’t have to overload the page with too much content.
We designed the site to be easy on the eyes with ample white space and intuitive structures. We also took the extra time to make it incrementally responsive. Most present-day websites are built to be responsive, meaning they are mobile-ready and are supposed to look good on screens of any size. The truth is, however, the majority of responsive themes have 4-6 breakpoints where they morph as the screen size gets smaller or larger. Sometimes the content of a website does not work well with these predetermined breakpoints. We go the extra mile to make sure a website displays well at ALL screen sizes, not only certain fixed breakpoints. The result is a positive browsing experience for all visitors whether they are using a 60-inch flat-screen TV or a small smart phone.
We took a number of steps to help our new website load quickly (see screenshot above from Pingdom Tools). Good performance is important to keep site visitors engaged as well as for Google rankings. The most important aspect of performance is hosting. We chose SiteGround as our host because we were very impressed with their server speeds, caching options and customer service as well as their hosting packages specifically tuned for WordPress. We also took the time to reduce our image and video file sizes as much as we could without compromising their appearance. This alone sped up the site significantly.
In summary, we incorporated all of the things that we knew we should have in our website. We are now practicing what we preach. The cobbler’s kids have shoes!