A website is made of many different components, each with its own purpose. These components come together to create a tool that fulfills several different objectives independently of one another. Each piece does its job and only interacts with another component when it is designed to do so. Understanding these different purposes is the key to understanding how the website’s various components fit together into a cohesive whole.

An example of a site that is not cohesive is one that is receiving traffic but is not generating leads. Alternatively, it might be generating leads wanting to spend $500 on a product or service, while the product or service itself costs $5,000. Ensuring that a website produces desirable results is accomplished by understanding what visitors want and giving it to them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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Understanding Search Intent

Traffic is indeed the lifeblood of your website. Without traffic, your website will have no chance of creating meaningful results for you or your customers. However, not all traffic is the same. Traffic can be categorized by the intention of the person searching for the site, often dictated by the experiences that led them to your site.

What many business owners know intuitively (but do not logically understand) is that a web page has a very specific purpose. That purpose is to provide information to a reader.

Readers will generally be in search of something, and will arrive on a specific page because they believe (or have been led to believe) that it will contain information that will satisfy their intent.

When you’re working on your company’s website, you are acting as a web designer. And as a web designer, it is your job to fulfill these three objectives:

  1. Anticipate your users’ intentions
  2. Create content that will serve those intentions
  3. Organize that content logically and understandably so that users can find it with ease.

Four Types of Website Visitors

Traffic

Search traffic all falls into this category. This is the umbrella term for all the people who visit your website. People will arrive at your site from many different avenues. Search engine queries, paid advertisements, and other forms of digital marketing are the largest source for many businesses. However, offline marketing also plays a significant role, particularly for local businesses. These sources could include print and radio ads, billboard impressions, or even searches from users who saw your website printed on the back of a company vehicle.

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Leads

Some users who arrive on the website will go on to become leads. A lead is created whenever a site visitor provides you with information rather than only receiving it. A lead is anybody who fills out a form, makes a phone call, sends an email, signs up for a newsletter, or trades their email for a PDF or another lead magnet. The goal of the primary website is generally to convert traffic to leads—we’ll discuss this shortly.

Prospects

Prospects are leads who have communicated with a person from your company at least once. A lead becomes a prospect the minute they exchange an email, phone call, text message, or other interaction with a real human being from your company. Additionally, a prospect can be considered anybody who submits purchase-oriented information in an automated sales funnel before purchasing. Ideally, this user would convert to a customer in a matter of minutes, but that’s not always the case.

Customers

A customer, obviously, is anybody who has done business with you involving a transfer of money. A customer can be someone who pays $1 for a PDF or somebody who pays $30MM for a jet airliner.

Designing for Traffic vs. Leads

Pages only seen by prospects and customers include the Thank You page, the order confirmation, an order tracking page, and the like. These pages are generally straightforward and need very little critical thought.

Traffic and leads are the most critical types of visitors you’ll ever have on your website, and designing intentionally for each is something that cannot be overlooked.

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Designing for Traffic

A well-designed general website typically has two purposes: to present information neatly and clearly for visitors to review while encouraging visitors to remain on the website for as long as possible. An engaging and informative website will keep visitors around for longer and keep them coming back for more. This is always a good thing.

Here are a few design tools you can use to keep users on the website longer:

Keep content readable.

Avoid using large blocks of text, split it up with images, and utilize headings to your advantage to keep things scannable.

Display related posts at the end of every piece of dynamic content (like a blog post, case study or similar).

This will give the user an opportunity to read something relevant to what they just finished reading and encourage them to stick around longer.

Make sure your brand is visible throughout the site.

You can do this by utilizing a sticky header, using brand colors for headlines or decorations, and mentioning your company periodically. Brand recognition is important for increasing the likelihood of traffic turning into customers.

Designing for Leads

This is arguably the most important part of your website: the pages designed to capture leads. Leads will sometimes come to the general website as traffic, and it’s very important to have a call to action to allow these visitors to become leads.

However, most businesses will find that their leads arrive on the site from alternate sources, such as PPC ads, social media campaigns or other such marketing avenues. It is wise to create a specialized page (referred to as ‘landing pages’) for each such source designed specifically to capture its leads.

Leads arriving on landing pages from advertisements will often have specific needs and expectations that your landing page must answer. Here are a few design tips to help you do this:

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Keep distractions to a minimum

While the objective on the general site is to keep users around for longer, the goal of a landing page is more specific. Rather than encourage users to click around, a landing page should be focused on ensuring that its users read as much of the landing page content as possible.

A landing page has a very specific purpose, such as to encourage a user to fill out a form, send an email, call a phone number, make a purchase or something similar. The landing page’s purpose should be evident immediately when the user arrives on the site, as as the content continues, the landing page’s purpose should be reiterated until the user is ready to click on it.

Use links sparingly

A landing page, as stated previously, has a very specific purpose. Links that lead away from the page to external sources should be used only when absolutely necessary, and may even be configured to open in a new tab so that the landing page remains open.

Links that return to the main website should only be used in the header or footer, both of which will often be hidden from view on the landing page, or at least refactored considerably. In practice, a landing page is usually seen as independent from the main site.

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Monitor Your Performance

Using Google Analytics or a similar tool is a great way to monitor the performance of your website as a whole as well as the performance of each individual page. Keep an eye on what sort of traffic each page is receiving and how well that page is converting that traffic to the next stage in the sales funnel. Don’t hesitate to test different designs and different copy as time goes by. This part of a website’s lifecycle is all about small adjustments and incremental improvements.

In order to get the best results possible, it’s important that you intentionally write and design each page of your website to cater to the type of traffic you expect it will primarily receive. If you want to talk with me about the best way to make this happen for your specific business, click the link below to schedule a free 30 minute Zoom conversation.

Newton’s first law of motion states that “An object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force.” Most of your users will arrive at your website in a state of rest. Effective website designs use the call to action to push users into a state of action.

There are two big components of a call to action that you can leverage to your advantage. Arguably, writing a powerful call to action is the most important. This is the technique that will help you accomplish more results through SEO.

However, designing a call to action can be tricky. It’s important to ensure that your calls to action are eye-catching, recognizable and readable. Here are four ways you can use to design a CTA strategy on your website that will ensure they’re read as often as possible.

A sample Call to Action for an MD mentoring program
A sample Call to Action for an MD mentoring program

Bookend the website

Calls to action should be clearly visible immediately when the user arrives on the website. It’s true that we primarily want to provide real and useful value to our users through our content, but we also want them to understand that we want to enter into a transactional business relationship with them right off the bat.

Additionally, a call to action should be presented to the reader once they reach the end of the website. Once a user reaches the end of the website, there will a brief moment where they will wonder what to do next. Generally, a typical user will either scroll back to the top of the website to look for something else to read, or they will click away from the website.

In that moment, you have an opportunity to capture the user’s attention once more and direct them into your sales process with an eye-catching call to action. I recommend having a simple call to action at the bottom of every page on your site.

A simple CTA block placed at the end of a web page
A simple CTA block placed at the end of a web page

Keep a call to action visible at all times

It’s important for your users to be able to find a call to action that will allow them to enter your sales process at any moment. You never know where in the site a visitor might decide that they’ve got the information they need and want to talk to a real person about their needs.

Make it easy for them to do this by keeping a call to action visible from every point of the website. You can do this either by repeating your call to action throughout the length of a long page, or by utilizing a sticky element (such as a sticky header or floating contact button).

An example of a sticky header with a Button CTA in the top right corner
An example of a sticky header with a Button CTA in the top right corner

Transitional vs direct calls to action

Like a direct CTA, a transitional CTA is also direct, clear and easy to understand. However, instead of asking your customer to buy now or take immediate action, you’re inviting them deeper into your website or sales cycle. Customers who may be ready to buy eventually but currently need more information are those who tend to use these buttons.

A homepage hero with a direct (primary) and transitional (secondary) CTA
A homepage hero with a direct (left) and transitional (right) CTA

Transitional CTAs sound like Download the Guide, View Our Work, See Options, Take our Quiz. A transitional CTA will help keep users on your site longer, which will improve your search engine rankings and improve the likelihood of making a sale from each user.

Consistency is key

You should generally have one CTA for each different action you want your user to take. Each of these CTAs should have the same text and overall appearance throughout the website. For example, for a painting contractor’s website, there were two calls to action.

One button said “Book an Estimate,” and the other button said “Contact Us.” Both buttons led to the Estimate page. Both of these buttons were changed to say “Book an Estimate,” and results improved over the following week.

Additionally, there is almost never a reason to have multiple direct CTAs for different desired actions on a single page. Every page should have a single task and purpose.

Your CTAs can make or break a website

Check out your website as it sits right now. Approach it from the frame of mind of a potential customer that has never heard of your business before. Would you decide to work with you based on your website? Do you see a call to action that motivates you to take action and get in touch with your business? If not, work on it right now! A powerful CTA can make the difference between capturing a great client or letting them click away to a competitor, so use these techniques today to improve your website and boost your conversion rate.

If you want to talk about your website’s CTA strategy, click here to schedule a 30 minute Zoom consult with me. I’d be happy to give you some case-specific tips that can help you boost your results.

©2022 John Kakuk
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