10 inbound marketing + web design tips to grow website traffic

Increase Web Conversions With Proven Strategies

vortex-attract-new-businessHaving a well designed and written website home page is an important part of attracting and engaging web visitors. Popular thinking suggests that a home page should be the primary entry point for prospects to learn about an organization’s products or services.

In reality, there’s only so much valuable information you can present using the home page ‘real estate’. Long scrolling single page designs, parallax effects and even sliders won’t address all the content requirements you have to attract visitors.

Spending too much time on the design and content of the Home Page can hurt your efforts to generate more qualified traffic and convert web visitors into leads and ultimately customers.

Here are 10 activities to improve traffic to your website:

1. Imagine Your Website Without A Home Page.

If you understand that your site’s page rank and click-throughs are a result of keywords, quality content, and engaging graphics, then you know that the more useful information you can publish online, the more likely you are to attract new visits and returning site traffic.

Think out of the box. What additional content would you need to add to get your message across without a Home Page? Pricing, policies, benefits, contact info, product application, services, unique skills, biographies of your team? Do you truly understand your prospects challenges, and how your product or service can fit with their needs?

Once you decide on what content to add, it’s critical that you explain your product or service succinctly, but don’t assume your visitors know what you know. Avoid using arcane terms or obscure language they’re not going to be familiar with. If you use acronyms for example, be sure to spell them out in the first appearance and explain what they mean, or link them to a page that does.

Be sure to incorporate keywords and phrases that will help you be found by qualified prospects using search engines. Consider adding helpful imagery or infographics where they can make complex ideas understandable.

The idea is for your website pages to share helpful information about your product and service. Consider adding related content on the page as call-outs, or in sidebars.

To prevent menu bloat, you might also want to add pages that are linked to content but not in your main navigation menu. One current trend is to use “hover” type content and links.

2. Build and Grow Your Content Around Customer Personas.

To increase the likelihood that your content gets found online, you should build your content strategy around customer personas. The idea is to gain a clear understanding of the needs and challenges, pain points and demographic information of your “ideal customers” and generate content that fits with their profile. As you would imagine, one customer persona may be very different from another, and both can still find value in your product or service. You’re more likely to attract both prospects if you have content that is targeted appropriately.

3. Think of Secondary Pages As Prime Real Estate.

More pages or posts mean a larger site. When you add content, organize it in a way that will help guide the visitor through the site in a logical way. In order to be clear, concise and effective, it’s advisable to compartmentalize and link content in a way that reflects your visitor’s needs.

4. Think Outside of The Website.

There are effective ways to publish and share new content that are not ‘literally’ part of your website. The tactics below help to engage readers in new ways. If you’ve done a good job, your visitors may share links to your site that may ultimately boost your ranking in search results thereby attracting more visits.

  1. Blogging – Blogging is a “pull” type activity that is very valuable to search engine marketing and in building brand awareness. Effective blogging can also reduce bounce rates and increase the overall time visitors spend on your site, which may boost your ranking. Blogging with well targeted content is guaranteed to attract traffic to your online presence. Blogging daily is very effective. Blogging 2-3 times a week is excellent. You should blog at least once a week, until you have accumulated enough search engine indexed content that is generating return visits and moving people along the sales funnel.Blogging should go beyond product promotion or sharing content by reposting. Your blogging activity should provide helpful tips and how-to information that may relate to objective content about your product or service. You can provide links to content on your site, or through offers, but the blogs that get the most traffic are usually less sales-oriented and more helpful. Blogging is a way to build credibility as a trusted adviser and exponentially gain visibility for your site and brand.
  2. Email campaigns – Email campaigns are an effective way to stay in your prospect or customer’s mind and provide links to products or services without them having to seek you out. The biggest advantages of email are: the opportunity to personalize the content; control the timing of the campaign; and frequency of your messaging.
  3. Calls to Action – In Internet marketing, a call-to-action is a simple, powerful statement offering something of value to your customers and prospects. If you are an accountant, it may be a guide or video on how to handle an operational situation or finances. If you are a travel agent, it might be a vacation-planning guide. If you are a financial adviser, it might be tips on building wealth using specific investment approaches. If you are a criminal attorney, you can remind people of their rights in a particular situation. Calls-to action can be text or graphic in nature, and can be placed in emails, blogs or on your website.
  4. Landing Pages – Content that is specifically tied to a call-to action, or specific keywords or phrases is considered a landing page. A landing page typically explains your offer, or delivers a compelling message that prompts a prospect or customer to provide more information through a form. Once the form is filled out, the visitor is taken to a page where they receive the offer (guide, checklist, coupon, etc.).
  5. Forms – When visitors are on your website, it’s helpful to provide different types of forms to facilitate contact, action and response. A form can be used to add visitors to an email list, to sign up for a webinar, or seminar, to request more information or a demo, or evaluation. Along with basic contact information, forms can help you gain an understanding of larger trends among your customers and prospects.
  6. Social Media – The number of choices of social media channels is growing annually. Each one has unique advantages. Social media can be used to develop or expand your network, develop leads or build alliances. Participating in group discussions can expand awareness, build thought leadership, and help you gain market insights.

5. Use the SMART Approach to Goal-Setting.

To increase your chances of success, you have to have goals in mind. S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. The most important aspect of smart goals is making sure you write them down. There are preformatted templates you can find online to help you map your progress.

6. Research Keywords and Phrases.

You can use Google and other online keyword tools to explore the trends of search terms or phrases. A little research goes a long way to increasing the effectiveness of your content. The general concept behind keywords is to embed the terms most likely to be searched for. A decade ago, the focus was on finding keywords that were used in the “buying” phase of web research. Now, the idea is to nurture the relationship from early on, and not just when someone is ready to buy. Research shows that moving prospects to leads and customers is more effective for long-term relationship building than focusing solely on the purchase phase of a product or service.

7. Personalize.

Even if you are a small to medium-sized organization, you can integrate third-party solutions to your present website, email, or other content that is personalized to your database contacts. For example, you can present a block of text and imagery that appears when a specific person in your database visits a page. This “smart” content can be as general as a greeting, or as precise as a case history or an offer that is targeted to the niche your contact works in. In other words, the contact determines the content.

8. Design the Home Page Around Everything Else.

Web designers will usually begin look and feel studies with the Home Page. That will work fine, as long as the design thinking is tempered by the needs of the entire site and related to online content. If you force everything into the Home Page design for purely graphic reasons, you are shortchanging your content and the value of engagement.

9. Don’t Ignore Traditional Mediums to Get Your Message Out There.

Producing a postcard, sending a letter, or placing a print, TV, or billboard ad can still be valuable in driving traffic. Tradeshows and meetings are two examples of in-person networking where a print promotion of your online presence can be cost-effective and simpler to produce than web content.

If your company has a team of sales reps, arming them with fast-tracked print material can be a very effective way to “break through” the digital clutter. Paper and printing has staying power that digital mediums can’t currently reproduce.

10. Consider bringing in additional resources to make it happen

Managers, partners and owners of successful firms tend to understand there is value in having a strong web presence or social media program, but don’t have the time to implement, or budget. Our experience shows well-conceived programs will amortize themselves with new business, or new brand value.

You can use online search to locate a qualified inbound marketing + web design professional in your region. They should be able to help you identify “challenges and pain points”, articulate goals and create and manage a measurable plan with structured activities. Depending on your situation, the cost of a comprehensive inbound program can compete with “social only” approaches and deliver effective results.
About the author: Tom Weinkle is a founder and partner of Vortex Communications, a graphic and website design firm who offers graphic and WordPress web design, build, troubleshooting and training services along with search optimization, social media and inbound marketing services. Based in Miami, Florida, Tom has over 25 years of experience in visual communications for the healthcare, medical, law, accounting, software, financial services and banking industries.

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