Thinking about rebuilding your website in 2016?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Have you updated your website in the past year with new pages and fresh content?
- Is your website generating new leads and sales for your business?
- Are you seeing increased traffic and exposure to your website?
- Do you leverage social media in conjunction with your website strategy?
- Is your website mobile friendly?
Answers to these questions may help you solidify the decision as to whether or not you need to rebuild your website.
The overwhelming majority of small businesses, and even corporations, have not updated their websites in the past 2 years. As such, these websites are probably seeing declines in traffic and rankings in Google, and are falling short of expectations with new leads and sales.
Why is Google important to website traffic? The majority (over 50%) of traffic coming to your website is probably coming from organic search via Google. We see this across all of client’s data who are made up of both small and large businesses. Regardless of the size and type of business, organic search is typically the primary source of inbound traffic to websites.
Here’s 4 tips to rebuilding your website in 2016
So if you’ve decided that it’s time to rebuild your website in 2016, here’s 3 tips to help you in the process.
#1: Understand the importance of your homepage
If your website is anything like our client’s websites, than your homepage is receiving the overwhelming majority of traffic. Our clients run the range of small businesses and enterprise corporations. And regardless of the size of the business, the homepage is always the dominant page for traffic in their websites.
As such, it’s critically important to focus your design efforts on the homepage of your website, and especially above the fold. Which means, what visitors to your website see before scrolling down your homepage.
There are 3 key elements to effective homepage website design. And by effective, I mean websites designed to generate leads and sales for your business.
- Call To Action
- Success Factors
- Action Elements
Call To Action: the call to action element is a short, powerful statement that elicits action from your visitors, and speaks directly to the value you deliver to your customers. Here are some great call to action elements from majority brand websites:
- DisneyLand.com: “Unforgettable Happens Here”
- Realtor.com: “Discover Your Perfect Home”
- Turbo Tax: “Taxes done smarter”
- Progressive: “Welcome! You Could Save Over $548!”
- e-file.com: “E-File Your IRS For Free”
And here’s some screenshots so you can see what these call to actions look like:
As you can see, these websites focus on what visitors see when their websites first load (above the fold). And they hit you immediately with a strong call to action that elicits a response from the visitor.
#2: Success Factors
Success factors build off the moment of your website’s call to action, and specifically answer the question: how you’ll be successful as a result of becoming a customer.
Here’s success factors in action using some of the website examples above – and notice how the success factor compliments and reinforces the call to action:
- Call To Action: Taxes Done Smarter
- Success Factor: Get your biggest refund with no appointment or tax knowledge needed — guarantee.
- Call To Action: Discover Your Perfect Home
- Success Factor: with the most complete source of homes available
Bipper Media (using my own website as an example:
- Call To Action: The Future of Local SEO Is Here
- Success Factor: Drive more traffic, leads, and sales
The point of the success factor is to quickly, and easily tell your visitors what they expect from your business and how they’ll be successful once they become your customer.
Notice how the success factor is typically slightly longer than the call to action. This is because your success factor’s goal is to provide context to your call to action, which typically requires a few more creative words to drive your point home.
Combining the strong to action with a compelling success factor is the best way to turn the homepage of your website into a powerful asset for growing your business.
#3: Action Elements
Action elements are buttons, forms, or phone numbers that your visitors act upon after reading your call to action and success factors. If you create a strong call to action and success factor, but fail to provide the action element, you’ll be missing out on converting your visitors into new customers.
Again, looking at the screenshots above of these global brands, they understand the importance of providing an action element directly after the call to action and success factor, for example:
Realtor.com: action element = “Search”
Turbo Tax: action element = “Start for free” or “Sign in”
Progressive: action element = “Get Started”
e-File.com: action element = “Start Here”
One of the best examples I found while writing this article comes from Coca Cola’s website, a major global brand worth hundreds of billions of dollars. You’d thing they would have a complex approach to their website design. But the exact opposite is true. Check out the screenshot below where you’ll see their call to action, success factor, and action element all come together to deliver a powerful message to the visitor:
And that’s it… when you visit Coca Cola’s website, this it the very first thing that hits you square in the eyes when the website loads. Nothing complicated, nothing distracting – only a strong call to action “Happiness Delivered”, followed by a success factor “customize bottles at Share A Coke.com”, and the action element “Buy Now”.
The call to action and success factor captures your emotions by eliciting a response. And the action element stands out definitively and draws in your attention. Most importantly, all distractions from the background image have been removed, allowing the key elements to stand out and draw in your attention.
#4: Mobile Friendly Website
Finally, I can’t talk about rebuilding a website in 2016 without mentioning the importance of mobile friendliness. In fact, Google puts so much importance on mobile that back in 2015, they released a “mobile friendly algorithm update” that will penalize websites in the mobile search results that are not “mobile friendly”. Likewise, websites that are mobile friendly will be given precedence in the search results.
You can see if your website is mobile friendly or not by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool here. If your website passes and shown to be mobile friendly, then you’ll receive a “mobile-friendly” tag in the search results on mobile devices. If your website fails the mobile friendly test, then you can expect to be penalized in Google’s mobile search results.
Here’s what it looks like when you pass the mobile friendly test:
This mobile algorithm penalty only applies to mobile search results; however, Google stated last year that over 50% of searches are not being conducted on mobile devices. Specifically, Google stated that “…more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”
So if your website is penalized for not being mobile friendly, you could be cutting your business off from substantial amounts of traffic and exposure to new customers as people turn to mobile devices to quickly search for products and services.
Mobile & Local SEO
The importance of a mobile friendly is especially relevant with local businesses and local SEO. Because Google sees mobile as the predominant way people search, they are making it even easier for people to find local businesses, products, and places. The rise of search extensions such as “near me” and pre-populated searches as you type, help to emphasize the importance of local SEO.
When you type the word “dentist” in Google’s mobile search app, you’ll be presented with dentists who are closest to your location. Likewise, as you type the word “dentist” into the search bar, you’ll be presented with options to quickly tap the “dentists near me” or “dentists in [your city]”.
All of this points the growing relevance of the way people are searching for products and services from their mobile devices. Couple this with the mobile friendly algorithm update, and you have a powerful way for your business to connect to new customers.
Having a mobile friendly website is equally important, if not more important, when it comes to Google’s local search results – sometimes referred to as Google Map search results. In 2015, Google updated the way they present local search results by cutting the number of local businesses on page one from the top 7, to now only showing the top 3 local businesses.
Here’s a screenshot of what I’m talking about:
Notice how, on both desktop and mobile devices, the local search results show only the top 3 local businesses. In this example of the search phrase “atlanta personal injury attorney”, there are certainly more than only 3 law firms in Atlanta that focus on personal injury… there are probably hundreds, or thousands. But only the top 3 are shown in the new local search update.
For any given Google business page, which is the web property Google displays in the local search results, there’s a field where you add your business website. And if your business website is not mobile friendly, the negative impact will carry over to the relevance of your Google business page, which will directly (negatively) impact your rankings in the local search results.
So having a mobile friendly website is not only important for the mobile search results in general, but it’s even more important if you are local business that finds value in being found in the top 3 local search results. The businesses found in the top 3 local search results on page one in Google, receive over 80% of the calls and clicks. The hundreds, or thousands, of other local businesses, get the remaining 20% of the attention.
If you are looking to rebuild your website in 2016, these tips will hopefully put you on the path to success in your redesign campaign. Focusing on the homepage of your website, and above the fold, will help you convert more visitors into leads and customers. And focusing on mobile friendly design will ensure your website is primed for top rankings in both the organic and local search results in Google.