In a lot of ways, a website is a marketing tool. A strong website can generate many leads for your brand and allow your company to stand out as a leader in the industry. On the other hand, a poorly designed website can result in many missed opportunities and a decrease in leads.

Often times, business owners from both small and large companies will say their website is “okay.” Unfortunately, just “okay” doesn’t cut it. Businesses that don’t succeed online typically fail to measure the amount of business they didn’t acquire because of the poor user-experience on their website. Whether it’s products or services that your brand offers, a good website should be the top of your list, because you will lose out to competitors if they have a better marketing tool than you do.

Below are some best practices that will allow you to build out a stronger digital presence and better-performing website. At the end of the day, don’t take your website design lightly — take it seriously. Many users and potential customers base their decisions on your digital presence — especially those that don’t already know you.

1. Responsive Site

First and foremost, your site must be responsive so that it adapts to the different screen sizes of the devices that your users may access your site from. Why is this so important?

Well, over 50 percent of searches begin on mobile devices, so if your site isn’t responsive, your entire site won’t show up as it is intended to depending on if users are visiting from tablet, smartphone, or desktop. By offering a better user-experience for your customers so that they don’t have to zoom in and out, do excessive scrolling, click button sizes that are too small, you’ll be more likely to convert users. While creating a responsive site takes time and money, don’t double guess it.

2. Concise Messaging With Value

Nobody wants to land on your site and read a paragraph of text. Generally speaking, users want brevity. If you’re showcasing too much copy right on your homepage, you’re going to lose customers because they won’t read all that you have to say. Focus on concise and compelling messaging that still showcases your value. The less text you have the more likely that users are to read it.

3. Calls to Action

A common mistake that many websites make is related to their calls to action (CTAs). If you don’t have a compelling CTA it’s difficult to encourage users to actually engage with the buttons.

Boring CTAs like “learn more” or “read more” are quite generic and give no real indication as to what the user can expect if they click on the button. To highlight this, consider a company within the financial services industry, using a CTA like “Get the best rates” is an effective way to entice users to engage with the button while still providing an expectation about what they will find next.

In the example above, Jet Blue uses compelling language like “LET’S GO” to entice users to click on the CTA while still remaining relevant in comparison to their business.

4. Forms

Onsite forms are a critical step for users to complete in order to garner conversions. On most websites, regardless of the industry, it’s essential that you follow best practices with the design, allowing you to have the greatest amount of form completions possible.

Forms should have big text and large fields, and only about four fields for the user. If you have too many fields for the user to fill out, you run the risk of users leaving your site after being overwhelmed by the excessive amount of steps they have to take. The most effective forms also provide a clear explanation of what the user will receive from filling out the form. In the example above from the Blue Fountain Media website, we keep the mandatory form fields limited, and show three clear indications of what the user can expect.

Ultimately, offering an excellent customer experience is what will help to make all the difference when it comes to generating qualified leads for your business. The better the experience with your brand, the more likely a user is to convert and eventually become a long-term customer.

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