How To Build a Website For Lead Generation in Four Simple Steps

Wny Website's Need to Be structured For Lead Generation

Wny Website's Need to Be structured For Lead Generation

So you’ve done what you need to set up your portfolio based website because you know that it’s a valuable tool in growing your business. The images look great, have captions and descriptions, you have a well written about page and people can reach you through a contact page form. What’s next?

Getting your website online isn’t where it ends. Having a portfolio based website that generates leads and increased business, takes work. Your website is a reflection of you and your firm and it should be updated to convey who and what you stand for and what separates you from your competition. 

An architectural, landscape design, design-build or interior design website should be structured for content marketing.  This method attracts customers to your business instead of irritating people with repetitive messaging found in advertising. Think of the phrase “Wag more; bark less.” Content marketing is the wag. Outbound marketing is the bark. Consumers today expect access to helpful information. Make it easy for them to get that information: wag at them.

Here are four essential components of an effective website. These tactics will attract clients to your site, increase your chances of selling home design services and encourage them to tell others about the work you do.

1) Getting your website found online

To get people to your site, you’ll need to use tools such as inbound links, SEO, title tags, site maps and redirects. While it might sound complicated, the aim is simple: Give people as many avenues as possible to get to you.

Search engine optimization and link building

Search engine optimization involves using keywords to improve the visibility of pages on your website on search engine's results pages or SERP's. Search engines try to provide the most helpful/accurate information possible based on the search terms used. The idea behind blogging and additional website pages is to create answers and provide information surrounding all aspects of the services you sell to be able to match the queries submitted by prospective clients. The more pages with information sought about your service on your website, the greater the chance your pages have of being offered by a search engine. The higher and more frequently you appear in a search, the more of the search engine's users are likely to head to your site.

Off-page SEO is all about is getting good websites with some clout to link back to you. Search engines value the number of inbound links you have, the quality of those links and the amount of traffic to your website as part of its determination of where you rank on page results. 

Here are a few ways to build inbound links:

Copy on your website should be well-written, of high quality and educational or entertaining. If people like what you post, they will want to share it with other people and they will want to return to your site for more.

Write guest posts and comment on other blogs. Pick quality blogs and establish yourself as an expert. Include your website URL so people will link back to you.

Look for opportunities to build links with other websites, but make sure they are quality, legitimate websites.  Never beg for or buy links.

Include images in blog articles and share them on social media as "link bait."

On Page SEO

On-page SEO is accomplished by putting keywords relevant to your business within the content of the page. The best results come from placing keywords in headlines, metadata, sub-headlines, the body content, in your image tags and links. Moderation is the key to success. Do not exceed a 1.5% keyword insertion rate or risk the fate of being seen as a spam website and being blocked by search engines on results pages. Too few keywords and you will lose prospects because they won’t be able to find you. Follow these rules.

Put your primary keywords in your headline and sub-headline. These are the areas most important to the search engines.

Include keywords in content in context. Don’t try to senselessly pepper keywords throughout your copy.

Put keywords in your image title or the ALT tag, which, among other things allows blind readers to “see” the picture in the context of your content when using screen readers.

Write for you audience first and then optimize the article for search engines

Pick a primary keyword phrase for each page and then build a dedicated page around that word. Here are some examples of keyword phrases that will get you thinking about how to structure pages and what to write about.

  • How Interior Designers Choose Traditional Home Colors
  • Preparing for a Design-Build Remodeling Project
  • Architect Advice For an Addition to a Victorian Home
  • How Sasaki Inspired Modern Landscape Architecture

Title tags, meta tags and site maps

Search engines crawl meta tags to learn what a page is all about. Meta tags aren’t actually on your page; they’re in the background. To see what meta tags look like, open a web page file (which ends in .htm, .html, .asp or .php) in a text editor (such as Notepad) and you will find them near the top of the document.

Here’s what you’ll see:

Title tag: The main headline displayed in search engine results. The title tag on the main page of Means-of-Production’s website looks like this:

<title>Marketing Strategies, Copywriting, Advertising, Web Design, | means-of-production.com</title>

Description: This is a concise description of what’s on the page:

<meta name="description" content="Your single point of contact for multi-channel content marketing and advertising services using inbound marketing and image based social media content marketing">

And here are the keywords:

<meta name="keywords" content="inbound marketing services, copywriting, advertising, website design, brochure design, social media marketing">

XML SITEMAPS

Search engines have what are known as “crawlers” or “spiders” and they do kind of what it sounds like: they crawl over a page looking for important bits of information to rank you in the search engine. A sitemap makes it easier for them - thus more beneficial to you - to make sense of it. A sitemap is a web file that lists all of your pages and when they were updated. It’s like a road map to your website for crawlers or spiders.

301 REDIRECTS

Many of us have clicked on a link to end up with a 404 message “Page Not Found”. What has happened is that a page was moved, and the old link wasn’t setup to redirect people to the new page. Using the traffic metaphor again, it’s like a detour, without which your prospective clients may never find you. That’s lost traffic, lost opportunity and possibly lost revenue. Be sure to use 301 Redirects or risk having your reader leave your website.

2) STRONG, USER-FRIENDLY DESIGN

Your website is you and your brand. You need to make a good first impression because, as they say, you only have once chance to make that first impression. People want to get immediately the sense that you and your site are credible, professional, stable and worthy of trust. You wouldn’t show up at a job interview in shorts, a tank top, and flip-flops; don’t have a sloppy, outdated and unprofessional website.

Here’s why that is important to you: People do pay attention to how your site looks. In fact, a Stanford University/Consumer Web Watch survey found that people perceived a site’s design to be more important to a company’s credibility than awards, privacy policies, and certifications.

When it comes to the design of your site, think of enticing people, not annoying them. Loud, colorful animations and all the colors of the rainbow won’t make people want to stay on your page; quite the opposite. Here are four things to keep in mind when designing your site:

Don’t put anything on your site that doesn’t belong there. Stay away from cute animations and background music. People won’t be able to focus on your message if you throw everything on the page that you can find. Remember: In this case less is more.
While you have a huge palette of colors available to you, don’t try to use them all. Use two to four colors at most for templates and marketing materials.
Be consistent. Find a look and stick with it so there is a natural flow from page to page. Don’t use one style on your home page, another on the “About Us” page and yet another on your products page. Fonts, colors, and navigation should be consistent on each page. This is easier on the consumer and conveys your brand in a consistent and professional way.
Pick images carefully. Photos of real people are more effective than irrelevant stock photos with fake people, according to a study by Marketing Experiments. So put relevant, meaningful images on your site that convey a positive and sincere message to people.

Create an Easy To Understand Navigation

Few things are more frustrating than pages that are difficult to navigate: you can’t find links, you don’t know where to go, and the information is hard to find. Good navigation supports all search preferences, makes information easy to access and prevents people from having to think too much about getting from page to page. There are plenty of other businesses to visit on the Internet - if you make things too complicated, people will simply go somewhere else, and you’ve lost an opportunity.

HubSpot suggests these crucial navigation elements for your site:

  • Simple page navigation and navigation in the footer of your site.
  • Breadcrumbs - which allow users to keep track of their location on your site and make it easy for them to find their way back to where they started - should be on every page.
  • A search box should be near the top of every page.
  • Keep navigation options simple.
  • Include links, but make sure to make it clear where they go.
  • Finally, make sure anyone can see and use your site. Remember that people are using different browsers, smartphones and tablets to access content. Your site should be compatible with as many of them as possible.

3) Create Well-Written, Informative Content on Your Blogs and Website Pages

We’ve come to the most important part of your website: Content. Perhaps you’ve heard the (possibly too) oft-heard phrase, “Content is king”? It’s true: Content rules. Without great content, none of the rest is going to matter. If you get people to your site, but there’s nothing interesting for them there, they won’t stay, and they won’t come back. And you’ll have lost an opportunity.

Content is what both search engines and real people look for, so you should take some time to make sure you have something valuable for them to find.

Provide Clear Messaging and Start with a Long Tail Keyword

First, you’ll need a clear call to action - a way for people to respond to you - by filling out a form or pressing a button. “How to manage your debt - get started now,” “Sign up for our free newsletter,” or “Have us improve your web results - click here,” are all calls to action. Calls to action:

  • Make it clear as to what your focus is
  • Make it easier to measure results
  • Give your customer prospects clear direction
  • Calls to action are offered that will attract the different types of customer you are looking for to your website. Limit how many calls to action you have: keep it as simple as possible so people won’t have to think too much about what they’re doing.

Ensure Your Content is Easy To Understand and Avoid Insider Language

Keep the message of your content clear. Content should answer the following questions for consumers:

  • What does your company do?
  • What page am I on and what is it about?
  • What do I do next?
  • Why should I click on or buy or download anything from you rather than somebody else?
  • Make it clear on your pages what you are selling and what visitors should do next. And offer them a bright and attractive value proposition - what will they receive of worth by further engaging with your company? Use headlines and sub-headlines on important pages to get your point across.

There are tools available, such as HubSpot's A/B testing, to test the strength of your content. A/B testing will help you find ways to tweak your web pages to maximize potential customers’ interest.

Educate and Provide Value to Readers

You want to provide information about your product, but you have to remember it’s not all about you. Think about your customers. They want to know what’s in it for them: how are you going to solve their problems? After all, that’s what marketing is all about: solving customers’ problems. They have a need, and you have a product to take care of that need.

But today’s customers want to be in control of what they buy. Don’t tell them; show them. Educate them by providing unique content in the form of white papers, videos, eBooks and how to’s. Talk to them as if you are talking one-on-one. The two of you are working together on this. Once they decide to buy, they will feel they are making an informed decision - all thanks to you!

When creating content, don’t try to get tricky. Avoid the use of jargon of your profession; sound like a human. Professional, but human. The following are terms you should avoid using if you want to keep prospects attention:

  • Next generation
  • Flexible
  • Robust
  • Scalable
  • Easy to use
  • Cutting edge
  • Groundbreaking
  • Be clear, forthright and easy to understand and you will build trust. Being slick will have just the opposite effect.

Write a Blog Article Every Week

If written content is the most important part of your site, blogging may be the most important part of your content strategy. Here’s why:

Blog articles provide linkable content for developing backlinks.
Each published blog article is considered a web page.
As more articles are published, the website ranks higher in searches.
Each blog article has different keywords that can be highlighted. This improves the chances of showing up in a search.
Still not convinced? Here are some statistics from HubSpot:

  • 57 percent of businesses acquired customers through their blog
  • Companies that blog have 55 percent more customers
  • B2C companies that blog generate 88 percent more leads
  • Companies that blog have 97 percent more inbound links
  • It’s important to note that it’s not enough to have a blog and occasionally post to it. HubSpot found that businesses that blog 20 times a month get five times more business than companies that blog four times a month. Blogging is a commitment. Don’t worry if you’re not a writer, there are tools and services that can help you out without breaking the bank.

Other Content Considerations

Blogging is important, but content consists of more than just words: other forms of content include pictures, video, audio, online utility tools, and games. Having a right mix of these different types of content provides what is called a “content-rich” experience for your customers.

Other content to think about includes case studies about your product or service and giving people the ability to review what you do.

And don’t forget about the old-fashioned testimonial. People like to hear from other people about their experiences with your company. Post short, powerful testimonials with real customers’ stories that show potential customers the people who are pleased with your product or service.

4) Converting Prospects To Leads

Let’s go back to the Call to Action. The CTA gives you a tool to convert a prospect into a lead by having visitors give you the information you can act on.

Include a Visually Strong Call To Action

Where you put a call to action and how you display it can make all the difference in conversion rate. CTAs should be highly visible and above the fold of the page. They should catch your eye but be consistent with the page design.

A CTA should include a button or hover effect that looks so attractive people will want to click on it. Pay attention to the colors you use: experiment with different colors to see what works best.

Create Landing Pages with an Offer People Want

When a potential customer has clicked on your CTA offer they should be taken to a landing page. A landing page is where you convert prospects into leads by having them complete a form in exchange for an offer or provide information about themselves. Things that should be on a landing page include:

  • A headline and possibly a sub-headline
  • A short description of the CTA offer
  • At least one related image
  • A form
  • Little else should be there. You want the prospect to take action without distracting them with anything else. And having them take action is the entire reason you want them to be on that page.

Landing Page tips:

  • Keep the page simple
  • Don’t use your homepage as a landing page
  • Remove main site navigation from the page so prospects don’t wander
  • Make the offer clear and irresistible
  • Use a form that collects only the information you need. Each new field makes more work for the prospective client. You want to make it easy for them.
  • One other way to collect some information about prospects is by offering a newsletter. Not only will it help you to continue to educate and inform people, but it will also give you email addresses for prospects interested in what you have to offer and help you nurture a relationship that will end in a sale.

So there you have it. Four simple must-have elements for a killer website. Some 40% of companies still don’t have a website, so think of how far ahead you will be by having one. And you’ll be even further ahead by making a commitment to doing it right. By doing it right, you’ll create opportunities and have the ability to make the most of those opportunities.


About Michael Conway and Means-of-Production

My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition. Contact me for a free-of-charge consultation and marketing review. It takes about 40 minutes and you'll be provided a list of actionable improvements designed to solve your specific marketing problems.

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