Your business’s website is the foundation for your online marketing strategy.
If well-designed, it can be one of the best tools you have when it comes to expanding your business’s reach and attracting new customers.
These strategies show how any business can update or redesign its website to attract new customers and seriously drive business growth.
The most effective business website is one that’s easy to use. When reviewing your business site, it’s typically good to start by looking for design elements that could be making your site less usable or accessible.
Navigation, for example, can have a major impact on site usability. When it works well, most people won’t even think twice about how they’re moving around a site. When navigation is confusing, broken or inconsistent, however, it can make the experience of browsing your site much less enjoyable.
In general, it’s best to find ways to minimize bad friction (sometimes called cognitive friction), or the elements of site design that make it harder for visitors to do what they want.
Not all friction is bad — sometimes you want users to slow down to make sure they fill in a form correctly, for example, or proceed to a sale in a certain order of steps. However, knowing how to minimize unpleasant friction will be essential if you want to build an effective business site.
Long load times can create friction, for example, and so can a poorly designed or laggy mobile site. Unexpected site behavior can also cause a lot of friction — if a user expects one thing to happen but they get another result, they may become frustrated quickly.
Cutting out clutter, reducing load times and keeping things simple will help you avoid these site design pitfalls.
Most business websites make assertions about the brand — like unique value propositions and benefits customers should expect. Potential customers, however, may not believe you unless you can build credibility and demonstrate that you really know what you’re talking about.
One of the most common approaches to building credibility is to use case studies, testimonials or other content that shows off some of your past work.
For example, check out this project page from HR Construction Group, a Columbia-based general contractor.
The page is a gallery of images that link out to specific projects that the company has worked on. Project pages include additional photos of the project, as well as materials used and how the business approached the job.
Clicking on a category allows visitors to sort by project type — letting them browse just projects for clients based on industry or location.
Potential customers who are learning about the HR Construction Group brand for the first time want to know if they can trust the business to deliver. This page helps to back up the company’s claims about its values and the benefits that customers can secure by working with them.
Case studies like these are a great way for any company that provides custom services to show off the “how” of their work, demonstrating the problem-solving skills they use to provide great service.
Valuable content is one of the best ways to drive traffic and secure the attention of potential customers. Many business websites provide content in the form of blogs, resources, FAQs or even podcasts. This content is typically created to be relevant to the business’s audience and pain points they may have.
For example, see this page from the website of Hootsuite, the developer of a social media management platform.
This page features all the latest content that the company has produced. All the articles are on topics related to the company’s niche — primarily social media marketing news and tips.
The content draws in new traffic, demonstrates market knowledge and encourages customers to stick around. Over time, a deep content archive like this one can become one of the best ways to expand your business’s reach.
The call-to-action (CTA) is crucial for getting visitors to convert. A well-crafted CTA can grab the attention of potential customers, encouraging them to learn more or move towards a sale.
Effective CTAs can come in many shapes and sizes. This CTA, from online coding course Treehouse, shows off some good CTA design principles.
This page features a clear description of what’s being offered — “Learn to code, design, and more—all on your own time.”
It’s also very clear about what a visitor needs to do to move forward. The email field is labelled clearly and the “Join Now” button is in blue, the site’s accent color, helping it to stand out from the rest of the page.
Above the email field, the site is careful to highlight the seven-day free trial and mention the $25 monthly cost for an individual subscription.
This CTA will help ensure that interested visitors can move from knowledge of Treehouse right to creating an account.
Your site can make it easy for potential customers to help themselves. FAQs, resource pages and help databases all help visitors to answer questions they may have about your business, all without needing to contact support.
Ecommerce giant Amazon, for example, hosts a great help page with a wide range of resources that potential and current customers may need.
Featured entries offer info on order tracking, returns, refunds, account security and more. These articles help to ensure that if visitors or customers get stuck, they may be able to solve their problem on their own before turning to support.
Using the right web design strategies can help you draw in new customers and drive traffic. An easy-to-use design that leverages content to inform and build credibility, for example, is often a great way to both attract interest and secure the attention of visitors.
With these strategies, you can help make the foundation of your online marketing strategy strong enough to support the rest of your digital advertising efforts.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.