Graphic + Web Design tips: What we can learn from

Web Design Professional Clinic: HR Block is a great place to explore web design and messaging strategies. Using Alexa’s “Browse Top Sites” button is an extremely efficient way to explore popular website designs.

An investment in one of their subscription plans can give you a number of data-driven insights that may be useful in establishing your website’s content and creative strategy.

More importantly, as of the publish date of this posting, one of the most well-known ranking and tracking services allows you to easily search website rankings by country, industry and sub-specialty FOR FREE.

So what can we learn from US Site Rank #4100? –

According to Alexa’s data,*:

  • Currently ranks #4100 in the U.S. and 20,622 globally (based on a 3-month average of pageviews and number of visitors)
  • Has a bounce rate of 37.6%
  • Gets 4.60 daily pageviews per visitor
  • Time on site of 3:45 minutes

From a web design point of view, overall rank may not mean much, but a low bounce rate and higher number of page views is impressive. Almost 2/3 of site visitors are quickly engaged, and explore beyond the first page they land on.

If you look at the H&R Block’s site and consider how brief their writing and messaging is, the 3:45 minutes (average) spent on the site is very impressive.

What can we learn about graphic + web design from Alexa Rank #4100?

Relevancy matters

Some experts estimate that you have 5-7 seconds to engage a web visitor when they first hit your online presence. H&R Block does an excellent job of getting to their various messaging points quickly with brief subheads coupled with call to action buttons and bulleted copy points.

TIP: Examine and analyze what information about your product or service is most relevant to your buyer personas. If high-value content that responds to their needs and challenges is not already on your website, create a plan to add it. If the content is there, evaluate whether or not there’s a better way to present the information.


Shown Above: Homepage

Benefits-Oriented Messaging is Great Branding in Action

Every sub-head and copy point on the home page is benefits-oriented. This helps a visitor feel comfortable with the brand and trust that they are likely to find what they need through the website.

What is the H&R Block’s primary benefit? They’ll tell you it’s “Helping You Keep More of Your Money” And logically, they offer many ways to help you do just that.

TIP: Define the primary benefit of your product or service. Articulate the benefit in language that reflects your customer’s point of view. Work to distill your primary benefit down to a single phrase. Try out your ideas on your internal team and clients or other contacts who can give you valuable feedback before implementing changes to your website.

Simple Navigation Enhances Engagement

The website’s navigation is easy to read, and understand. Precise language is clear and helpful. Notice how the “About Us” is on the far right side of the navigation bar. Since the brand is well recognized, and the site is selling a service, company background is less important and can take a back seat to more important consumer services. What is the brand most known for? “File Online” is appropriately the first item in the navigation.

TIP: Review your current navigation and site map to make sure the most important content is featured and easily found through top-level navigation and/or in primary locations on the home page of your website. If you make changes, be sure to create redirects for any changed urls so that visitors can quickly find what they need.

High Value Content is Stage Center

Notice where the worldwide tax brand placed the “search” window. The prime location is easy to find and placeholder “Your Questions, Expert Answers” is much more inviting and engaging than “Search”.

H&R Block also created a very useful interactive video product guide to help visitors select the right product. On the same page, a number of text blocks lead visitors to landing pages where they can register for more assistance.

TIP: Consider more interactive presentations of your content that engage the visitor. You don’t have to use video, but you can incorporate Q&A content, calls-to action, landing pages with valuable offerings that gently lead visitors down a path to take action. Thinking strategically about content can help move visitors through the sales funnel – from prospect, to lead, to customer.


Shown Above: Interactive Product Guide


Shown above: Animated landing page with registration form

Clean, Simple Design Reinforces Brand

Every design component of the website relates to and attempts to build on the familiar square-shaped H&R “block” design theme in a tasteful way. This is an excellent technique to reinforce the brand and create a unique graphic and web design interface that stands apart from competitors and is easily transformed to print and other mediums.

The content arrangement is simple, and smartphone and tablet friendly (responsive).

TIP: Center your design thinking around the brand and high-value content. Review popular web design interface trends and creative strategies and integrate approaches that enhance the visitor experience.

Next Steps:

Schedule your own design audits of high ranking websites. See if you can apply the same effective techniques and approaches to your own design work.

When you’re ready to embark on a online design (or redesign) project, make sure you understand the brand’s buyer personas. When your brand’s online content and design aligns with accurate buyer persona data, you’ll be on your way to improving your site ranking and other important analytics data that translates to achieving business goals.

*H&R Block website design and content – Copyright © 2013-2014 HRB Digital LLC. All Rights Reserved
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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