6 Elements of a Successful Website
Guest Post by Jason Sugar, Founder and CEO of SugarWeb
The best thing about your website is that it’s working for you while you’re busy doing other things (like serving your clients, playing golf, etc.). But for it to actually be working for you (i.e. generating leads for your sales funnel), your visitors need to have a great experience AND be inspired to take action.
And I can tell you from experience, that doesn’t happen by default when you just throw up any old website. So how does it happen? Here are six key elements your website needs to successfully generate leads for your business:
1. Your Site Must Be “Phone- Friendly”
As I’m sure you’ve gathered, we’re now all spending more of our time browsing and searching the web on our phones than our desktops. It’s been that way for a while, and the trend is only getting stronger. Which means your website shouldn’t just be “OK” on the phone—it needs to be specifically designed to provide a good user experience on a small screen.
Depending on the amount and type of content you have, this can require more planning and skill than just using a “responsive” theme or template. For example, some sections might need to be laid out differently for the desktop than the phone. And images often need to be cropped differently for different devices so you don’t inadvertently chop people’s heads off. And you may need differing amounts of “negative space” (i.e margins) on different devices to achieve the optimal look and feel.
2. It Must Be Fast
There are a lot of technical things we could get into like page requests, browser caching, content delivery networks, etc., that impact your site’s performance. But suffice to say the bottom line is you want to reduce the page load time (especially the content above “the fold”) to less than 3 secs at the most. 1 sec is excellent, 2 is good, 3 is OK. Longer than that, and you run the risk of the visitor getting impatient and leaving before they see what you have to offer.
3. It Must Be Easy to Navigate and “Consume”
You want people to enjoy being on your site so it needs to be easy to get around, especially on the phone. This means organizing your content with minimal menu options to avoid clutter & distraction (which is easier said than done if you have a lot of content). And the menu needs to be visible and accessible at all times.
Use large, bold headlines and large text with significant contrast between text and the background to make it effortless for your visitors to read what you have to say. Also break your content into “bite-sized” pieces and use images and generous margins to create well-spaced sections so people don’t just skip over all your precious copy.
4. Highlight a Primary “Call to Action” (CTA)
The first 3 elements were about creating a good user experience for your visitors. That’s important, but the real point here is to get them to take action after they look around your site.
Paradoxically, you’ll actually increase visitor engagement (and ultimately sales) when you limit your visitors’ choices. So guide them to take one single, specific action. Ideally, taking that action should give them something tangible that’s of real value, and be completely free with no strings attached.
For example, you may offer a checklist, white paper, e-book, quiz or assessment, or a free consultation. However, unless the consultation leaves them with something tangible it could just be seen as a “sales call”. At SugarWeb, we offer a free website audit and then take them through our findings and suggestions on a Zoom call. That way, they leave the call with useful information on how to improve their site, even if they don’t end up using our services.
5. Guide Your Visitor on Their Journey
Now that you have a specific “call to action” you want to lead them on a journey toward taking that action. Large buttons with powerful action words are a good way to encourage these “micro-interactions”. They keep your visitor involved on their journey through your site.
Provide little teasers on the Home page about how your products or services solve their problem. Present a snippet about your company, and excerpts from recent articles from your blog. This way, the visitor can self-select the pathway they want to take through your site (i.e. some people may want to dive right into your services but some may want to first learn more about you first).
And along every pathway, strategically place highly visible buttons and links throughout the content to inspire them to take that primary “call to action.”
6. Offer “Social Proof” to Inspire Action
“Social proof” provides both rational and emotional persuasion. It can take the form of testimonials, reviews, influencer endorsements, media logos, etc. People tend to follow the actions of others if those actions reflect behavior they understand and if it seems like the thing to do.
We recommend sprinkling testimonials throughout the site rather than having a dedicated “testimonials” page (although you can do both, if you want). 70% of consumers say they look at product reviews before making a purchase, so “social proof” definitely helps. Be sure you collect as many testimonials as you can from clients you’ve served.
Remember, the whole point here is to compel visitors to do what YOU want them to do. And you do that with a user-friendly site, large, action-oriented buttons, a clear “call to action” on every page, and inspiring social proof.
So there you have it—the six key elements your website needs to be effective at generating leads. Give your visitors a good user experience and inspire them to take action, and you’ll convert more visitors into happy customers!
About the Author: Jason Sugar is the Founder and CEO of SugarWeb, a boutique web design agency that makes it easy and affordable for coaches and consultants to promote their services and attract clients online.
Building relationships with clients is his #1 priority, making sure they’re happy with their experience from first contact, through the discovery session, design process, site launch, and ongoing support. https://sugarweb.net