Common marketing missteps waste time and money. These 5 fixes are GAME CHANGERS.

Website Design Tips

Website Design Tips - Carolyn Daughters

A lot goes into the design and maintenance of a website that represents your brand, communicates key information, draws your target audience to you, and keeps them wanting more. Map out a clear strategy for your website so it speaks effectively to the right audience. Here are some key website design tips and considerations.

Skimping on Your Site: the Ultimate Phone-It-in Move

For many businesses, building a website is the most significant thing they can do for their business or brand. Yet I’m amazed at how often businesses cobble together a website with little or no knowledge of what it takes to build one that connects with their target audience. Many businesses treat their website like a throwaway, a box to be checked.

To be clear, I’m not talking about design, although design is important. I’m taking about the business goals and an understanding of the principles that go into creating something that isn’t about you. Heads up: Your site is about your prospects and the problems they want someone to solve. Unless you’re Elon Musk or Kim Kardashian, they’re not on your page to learn why you’re so fantastic.

(Even if you’re Elon Musk, people may be aching to learn about their next Tesla and less interested in reading your resume. Oh, and by the way? Elon Musk’s resume is one page long, while some business sites devote umpteen pages to talking about themselves. Just sayin.)

Let’s look at some specific website design tips.

Top 10 Website Design Tips

  1. Business Goals – Many companies use an “if you build it, they will come” mentality instead of first clarifying who they’re selling to and what problems they’re solving. Every page of your site should focus on your customers and reinforce your credibility. Focus on the 5 W’s: who, what, where, why, and when.
  2. Site Design – Your site should meet visitors’ needs. Just because you think your design and content are “good enough” doesn’t mean your visitors will. Your site needs to grab attention within seconds. If it lacks a professional, responsive (mobile friendly) design and clear, compelling, audience-oriented language, visitors will bounce. And that means lost revenue and business opportunities.
  3. Brand – Every page of your site needs to communicate your value to your people and deliver on your brand promise. Staying on message, making the reader’s job easy, and rewarding visitors for their time are key to keeping visitors engaged.
  4. Clear Navigation –  Prospects won’t take the time to try to figure out poor design, or a poorly written site, or poor navigation. Remember: start with them and end with you. What value do you provide? What are your offerings? Help them understand that in coming to your site they landed in the right place. Then, and only then, should you tell them ABOUT US.
  5. Headlines and Crosslinks – Headlines should clarify the focus of each page and make each page skimmable. Internal crosslinks should make it easy for readers to navigate your site and find the information they’re seeking. (Internal crosslinks also help with SEO. (Get SEO tips here.)
  6. Strong Calls to Action – What exactly do you want visitors to do? If you make them guess, they’ll bounce right off your site onto someone else’s site. After all, they’re online all day, every day. They’re too tired to do your job for you. Wherever possible, be sure to include a call to action above the fold (the part of the page that you can see without scrolling).
  7. Blog – I get it. Your mother/good friend/employee/neighbor told you blogs are dead. My mother/good friend/employee/neighbor told me the same thing. Well, guess what? They don’t know what they’re talking about. (Shocker!) Timely, thought-provoking content is king. Or queen, if you prefer. A blog isn’t a nice to have – it’s a must if you want organic visibility. Update it twice a week at a minimum.
  8. Contact, Signup, and Sharing – Few if any visitors will make a decision to buy the first time they land on your site. (Unless, that is, your site is Tesla,, Athleta, or Coke.) Getting folks to sign up for your blog, newsletter, or announcement list is a way to stay on their radar screen (it’s called permission marketing). It’s also a great way to encourage them to return to your site again and again. Make it easy for visitors to contact you, as well as to find you on all relevant social media sites. Stay on visitors’ radar by getting them to sign up for your blog or newsletter. Remember: If you don’t give them a compelling reason to return, they likely won’t.

  9. Email Lists – Yeah, I covered this topic above, so you may be thinking it’s a cop-out to include it twice. But it’s SO important that I’m going to have another go at it. Growing an email list is vital. Find your people, then hold them tight. Offer an incentive for signing up or at least promise to provide timely, high-value information. And then keep your promise! Make sure visitors can identify your sign-up link within seconds of landing on your site.
  10. Secure Sites Are Safe(r) Sites – I can’t believe how often small businesses neglect to create SSL (secure socket layer) sites. Still. In this day and age. It’s crazy if you think about it. Just look to the left or the right of the site’s URL (depending on your browser), and you should see a padlock. That padlock essentially means your passwords, credit card numbers, and other important information are private when sent to that site. Click on that padlock, and you’ll get warm, fuzzy information about the website and the organization supplying the SSL certificate if you’re interested. If the padlock’s missing, someone threw together a site without any concern about authentication, encryption, and decryption of data sent over the Internet. If you’re thinking, “yikes,” then you, Google, and I are on the same page.

Website Design Tips for Growing Businesses

Together, let’s make sure your website resonates with your audience and tells the best story possible. I have gobs of website design tips. Ask me to weigh in. It may be the best business decision you make all year.

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