Websites used to primarily be online brochures. Many websites still are. And they aren’t even attractive to look at. What a waste!
Your website should be one of your most effective lead generating tools.
If you aren’t generating leads with your website, then you’re basically leaving money on the table. It’s comparable to having a store with no salespeople, so that when shoppers come in and want to buy something…they have no way to do so!
We’ve created a list of 13 ways for you to capture more leads on your website. Some of them might require the help of a designer or developer. If you’ve got some design and web development skills, or if your website is built with WordPress, you can try making the changes on your own.
We’ve divided the list into 3 parts: SEO, Design and Content.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your content visible to search engines. Search engines look for various signals to determine what your content is about and whether it’s worth showing to search users. It’s up to the content creator to insert the right signals for search engines to process.
In this report we’ll be focusing on On-Page SEO — which include the things you can to your existing content right now to make it search engine friendly. The more people who find your site via search, the more visitors you’ll drive to your website and the more chances you’ll have of converting them into leads.
If you’re using WordPress for your website, there’s a great free plugin called Yoast-SEO that makes the On-Page SEO process much less complicated.
#1. Title Tags
Every piece of content you post on your website has 2 titles. One title is what you see displayed on the page. The other is contained in a piece of code or tag and is for search engines to process. It is one of the primary signals the search engine uses to determine what your page is about. It is also what is displayed in the search results.
The title that is displayed must grab your reader’s attention and convince them to continue reading. The search engine title (or title tag) needs to contain your keywords and be constructed in a way that makes it easily searchable. The title tag should describe what the page is about. It should answer a question that your target customer is searching for.
Let’s use your homepage as an example. Open up your homepage on your browser. Now hover over the browser tab. You should see your title tag. What does it say? If you’re like many website owners your homepage title tag might say, “home”, “welcome” or the name of your company. In fact, it might seem sensible to have your company name in your title tag, since it is your company website.
Now think about what potential leads are searching for. Are they typing in your company’s name into Google search? If they are then they’ll find you even if your name isn’t in your title tag. In any case, if they already know your name then they might not be the new lead you’re after.
What you should have in your title tag is a phrase that describes what you do or sell and that uses keywords you’ve identified as words people use to find your type of product or service. Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag, so it’s best to keep your phrase within that length. If you have the space you could include your company name, or part of it, as a branding element.
You can always modify your title tag and optimize it based on ongoing testing and research.
Your title tag is located in the <head> section at the top of your html page code. If you don’t know where that is or how to change it, you’ll need a developer.
Remember, you should optimize the title tag on every page and post on your website (not just your homepage).
If you’d like to dive a little deeper into this subject, here are 2 great articles and tools:
#2. Title Tags
These are the short blurbs that appear beneath your title on search engine result pages (SERPs) that tell the searchers a bit about your page and convince them to click on your title and head over to your site. Although meta descriptions do not directly influence search engine rankings, they are important for getting your page link clicked on by the searcher. In addition, any keywords used in the search will be highlighted in your description on the SERP.
Think of your meta descriptions as teaser copy, whose purpose is to pique the reader’s interest enough to make them want to read more (on your website). Your homepage meta description should clearly describe what you offer and why the searcher should want to use you.
#3. Keyword Usage
In SEO, keywords are the words and phrases that users type into search engines to find what they’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking to purchase airline tickets you might type “airline tickets”. You might also include your destination – “airline tickets to boston”. Or maybe, “cheap airline tickets to boston”. Each individual word is a keyword, and each individual phrase is a keyword phrase. Before creating your content you should identify the keywords you are targeting to reach your potential customer.
Then use your keyword in your content, which shouldn’t be difficult since it does represent your main focus. But don’t overuse it (known as stuffing) or just stick it in out of context. That can cause the search engine to view you as a spammer (bad, very bad).
Read more about keyword research here.
#4. Image Alt Tags
Every image on your website has an HTML coding tag called an Alt tag that contains text that will be displayed in the event that the image doesn’t show. Since search engines cannot read images, they rely on the Alt tags to determine what the message of the image is. You should fill every Alt tag with descriptive text, preferably containing one of your keywords, to have a better chance of getting found by search engines.
#5. Internal Linking
Search engines use programs called spiders to crawl the pages of websites and add them to their indexes. Linking content to other content within the same website helps these spiders find and index all of your pages.
#6. Descriptive URLs
Search engines use URLs to find relevant content. Therefore the URLs, or web addresses, of your web pages should include your keywords and be descriptive of your content. Most content management systems, including WordPress, allow you to edit your URLs, so you can tailor them to your content.
You have just seconds to capture the attention of a visitor to your website. If they don’t like what they see or have trouble seeing it they’ll bounce to the next site (possible your competitors) in a flash. The look and design of your website plays a huge role in gaining the trust of your potential customer and establishing your authority and professionalism.
Think about the last time you visited a website that was poorly designed and looked like it was thrown together by a high school kid at recess. Did you feel confident about giving them your credit card number or doing business with them? Didn’t think so.
On the flip side, over designing your site could make it difficult to use and slow to download.
For our discussion, we’ll assume that you have a reasonably professional website design. Here’s how you can increase your probability of retaining your visitors so that you can eventually convert them into leads:
Visitors to your site want to find the information they are seeking as quickly as possible. If they can’t find it, or if it takes too long, they’ll find it on someone else’s site. Your website’s navigation bar should be clearly visible. If it’s hard to find or if it blends into the page to the point where it’s difficult to see, you must fix it. The easier you make it for visitors to navigate your site, the longer they’ll stay on it and the more likely they’ll be to become leads.
Your website navigation should contain the 5 or 6 main category pages. Subcategory pages should fall under one of the main categories. For example, assuming that you offer eight different services, you should probably have a general “service” navigation link which would then open the 8 specific service links. Having too many primary navigation links is messy looking and confusing.
#8. Pop Up Windows
Do you hate it when you go to a website and immediately get a popup window in your face? Most people do. It’s annoying. In addition, many browsers have popup blockers. If you have something important to say, then say it directly on your page. Pop Ups are a nuisance. The only time they can be used is as a way to ask someone to join your email list as they’re leaving your site. There are plugins like appsumo that provide that feature.
#9. Auto Start
Audio or video that starts playing automatically when you open a web page is even more annoying than a pop up window. Just imagine you’re sitting at your desk surrounded by dozens of co-workers quietly at work. You click over to a certain website and suddenly…the silence is shattered by the sound of a video. At this point you couldn’t care less what the voice is saying. All you want to do is make it stop, and the quickest way to do that is to close the page. Bye bye lead.
A slider rotates images and texts at regular intervals. They’re usually located on the top half of a homepage and rotate through 3 or more slides. Most clients love having them on their websites because they look super cool. The question is: do sliders help generate more leads?
We don’t think so.
- Sliders can slow down your page speed. Downloading several images (usually large ones) takes longer than downloading a single image. And as we already mentioned, how fast your site downloads can determine whether your visitor sticks around to learn more about you or leaves to learn more about your competition.
- Sliders can distract visitors from doing what you want them to do: learn about your company and fill out a contact form. Do you want your visitor to sit there looking at rotating images, or do you want them to read your content so that they can make the decision to contact you?
- Most people don’t wait around to view all of the images on your slider anyway, so why slow down your site and add distraction?
- They don’t look good on mobile devices, which is where at least half of your visitors will be viewing your website.
Unless you can prove that a slider will not slow down and actually help your retention rates, get rid of it.
A great way to test the speed of your website is with the free Google PageSpeed Insights tool. Just type your URL in the search box and it’ll give you a score for desktop and mobile. It will also give recommend things you can do to improve your score.
Make your content easy to read. Use a font size of at least 11pt. And leave plenty of white space around your text. Break your content into short paragraphs, which are easier to read than long blocks of text. If your text is too small and difficult to read, most people won’t.
#12. Make Lists
Research has proven that readers like lists, especially when they’re reading off of a screen. Short attention spans make it imperative for you to find a way to get you reader to stick around and read. Lists draw reader’s eyes by breaking up content into visibly digestible snippets of information. So break up that long paragraph of pointers or suggestions into a list, and keep your readers engaged.
#13. Call to Action
A call to action (CTA) is an instruction to a reader to take a specific action. The action could be downloading an ebook, subscribing to a blog, submitting a contact form or making a phone call. Every page, article or post on your website should contain a call to action. The CTA could be at the beginning, middle or end of the page. It could be in your header, footer or sidebar. You should test to see what location works best.
Your call to action advises the visitor who likes your content what the next step is that he should take. A popular method is to offer a visitor something of value, like an ebook, in exchange for his email address or whatever contact info you ask for. You can also ask him to subscribe to your blog or newsletter in order to receive updates and special offers.
The simplest call to action is to prominently display your phone number and ask the visitor to “call me”. If they do, you’ve done better than generate a lead. You’ve got yourself a hot sales prospect. Since not every visitor is ready to engage in that sales call right off the bat, you need to capture their information and nurture your new lead through your sales funnel until they are ready for a sales call.
If you’re looking to generate more leads on your website (who isn’t?), then optimizing your website by implementing the 13 suggestions we’ve explained in this post is definitely a great start. You need to combine great design, coding, content and SEO to turn your website into an effective lead generation tool.
If you need help doing any of this, or all of it, please contact us.