1. Make your marketing message crystal clear

Your website design needs to quickly and effectively capture each website visitor’s attention from the very first moment they land. This means that each element of your website, from logo to strapline through the first sentences of your content, need to be compelling, clear and engaging.

Investing effort up front to get a short, snappy marketing message right will pay off in higher conversion rates.

2. Tell your visitor what you want them to do

Don’t rely on a visitor’s investigative skills to work out the best way to contact you, or to decide on the next steps they should take. Your website should guide them through a well defined journey to encourage them to take action such as contacting you, completing an enquiry form or picking up the phone.

While your call to actions should never veer into overselling, they should be visible and frequent enough to be there at critical decision points.

Experimenting with wording can help you to find the right balance between subtle and overbearing that works best for your customers.

3. Measure what matters

There is an incredible wealth of information available about your website visitors, from location, to the device they use to browse your site, to the time of day they are most likely to make a purchase. You can measure where they came from, how long they spent on each page, and where they clicked. You can even view demographic data on your visitors’ such as gender, age or interests.

However, not all of this information will be useful to all businesses.

First and foremost, measure conversions. This will give you a bottom line against which to measure all other factors in terms of effectiveness. Using these measurements to improve and build on your marketing efforts will give you the best return on your investment.

4. Tell your customer why you are right for them

Don’t take the title of your About Us page literally. This page is not a place for a bland  corporate overview of your company, but a key place to show your visitor how and why you are a great fit for their needs.

Think of your experience, accomplishments and skills in terms of how they benefit your customers.

By shifting the focus of your copy to the customer rather than your company will help this page to support their buying decision.

5. Inform, educate and engage your visitors

The concept that content’s primary function is to support search engine optimization efforts is a misconception that has led to the downfall of many a website.

Your content should be written with the goal of being genuinely interesting to your visitors.

From your page copy, to blog posts to the content of your emails and printed materials your content needs to be high quality, consistent in tone and crafted to deliver your marketing message in a way that makes people want to read more.

6. Looks matter

Let’s not kid ourselves; looks matter just as much as first impressions count so it’s vital that your website design looks polished, professional and attractive.

As well as making sure that the general look and feel of your website is consistent with your branding it should also strike the right emotional chord with your visitors.

Choose your colors, layout and design carefully to create a visually appealing experience.

7. Give them what they want

What are your visitors looking for when they come to your website? What information is most crucial to their decision to buy from you?

When thinking about navigation and layout of the content on your website, put your visitor’s needs first and make the information they want easy to find.

8. Don’t neglect any segment of your visitors

Creating a web design that looks great on a desktop without testing how it appears to visitors browsing with their smartphone or tablet is effectively delivering an inferior experience to a growing segment of your audience.

Your website should perform well across the wide spectrum of device screen sizes, as well as use the right type of code and graphic files for various operating systems.

A responsive website design helps to keep all of your visitors happy, however they choose to access your site.

9. Make sure you have enough muscle

You need to choose a website platform that will offer you all of the features needed to make maintaining and editing easy, fast and reliable.

It should offer peak performance across speed, SEO and functionality, and be agile enough to scale with your business as it grows.

10. Create and commit to a marketing plan

“Build it and they will come” just doesn’t hold true for websites. Unless you actively tell people about your business, they are unlikely to find it.

It’s important to have a strategy and plan in place for how you will get the word out. Include a mix of channels such as organic search engine traffic, social media, advertising and email marketing.

Once you have your plan, refer to it regularly to stay on track.

11. Choose the right partner

Your website designer has a key role in the success of your online presence. Research your options well, and choose a company that understands your vision and can clearly tell you how their website designs meet today’s demand for integrated marketing. This is a great article to use as a reference point when working with any web designer, called: The 11 Essentials of a Successful Website Design.