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Website Optimization Playbook for Agile Marketers


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We all know how critical a website is to your business strategy, but what does it really take to have a great website that drives traffic, generates leads, and converts them to revenue?

This free unfunnel playbook is the ultimate resource to having a killer website. With it, you'll learn...

1. How to get found online with new SEO tactics, linking strategies, and more
2. The essentials of UX design and web usability
3. How to use content to drive traffic to and keep them on your website
4. Easy ways to use your website as a lead generating machine...including Calls-to-Action, Landing Pages, and Form optimization methods

Published in: Design, Technology
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Website Optimization Playbook for Agile Marketers

  1. 1. Website Optimization Playbook Design = Traffic + Leads = Revenue
  2. 2. GET FOUND ONLINE 1. GET FOUND DESIGN + USABILITY CONTENT CONVERSION 3. CONTENT STRATEGY • Linking Strategy • Messaging • On-Page SEO • Blogging • XML Site Maps • Social & Shareable Content • 301 Redirects • Other Forms of Content 2. DESIGN + USABILITY 4. CONVERSION • First Impression • Calls-to-Action • Consistency • Landing Pages • Imagery • Forms • Navigation • Newsletters • Accessibility
  3. 3. Gone are days where all it took was a URL, Flash, and an expensive ad campaign to temporarily boost traffic. The reason for this shift? Changing user behavior. Today’s user consumes information when and how they want, often without the involvement of a sales pitch. They want to be educated – not sold.
  4. 4. New forms of content are a life-saving vitamin in the customer lifecycle. We need to integrate each of them into the web experiences we create.
  6. 6. • Female, age 65 – post graduate, married w/ 2 grown children • Annual HH Income = $125,000 “The internet is a functional tool, I don’t want to express myself online. I like emailing, checking the news, sport & weather but also online shopping. I’m not very interested in running my social life online and I’m worried about privacy and security. I’m older and have been using the internet for a long time.” INTERNET USAGE & COMMUNICATION - Over 50% smartphone owners; < 20% tablet - Communication Preferences: Email, website, social media (Facebook) - Purchase Behavior: Travel, flights, computer hardware, software, books EFFECTIVE TACTICS - Email blasts/newsletters/response, Facebook, organic SEO, Pinterest, website features - Most likely to convert: 9:00 to 9:30am
  7. 7. • College-educated Female, age 45 - Married with 2 older children, 1 in Household • Suburban, Annual HH Income: Over $100k “I use the internet to gain knowledge, information and to educate myself about the world. I’m not a big user of social networks but I do want to hear from like-minded people especially to help me make purchase decisions. I’m very interested in the latest thing.” INTERNET USAGE & BEHAVIOR: - Over 50% smartphone owners; < 20% tablet - Communication Preferences: Email, website, social media, SMS/mobile, online communities - Purchase Behavior: Travel, gifts, software, books, telecommunications, banking, insurance EFFECTIVE TACTICS: - Email newsletters/response, SEO/SEM, social media, website features, blogging, web video - Social Tactics: Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Twitter
  9. 9. Social Media - Profile Links / Nav - Bitly links in Posts - Social share meta tags Blog + PR + RSS Feeds Cross-Site Linking on Social Bookmarking - Directories Delicious, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc. Brightcove + YouTube - DMOZ - Campaign Links in YouTube Channel Navigation - Local - Push campaign promo videos to YouTube - Blogs - - Review Sites Optimize YouTube for clicks to the site • Tagged bitly links • Call-to-Action overlays and / or annotations
  10. 10. • Pick a primary keyword for each page • Place keyword(s) in headline & subheads • Image file names & ALT tags • Header Tags (H1 – H6) • Page URLs • Keyword density of body content But remember to write for humans first …Search engines second.
  11. 11. Title Tags - The ONLY remaining meta tag that affects Google rankings - NEVER begin it with the brand name Meta Description - Unique for every single page - While it can’t boost, duplicate meta descriptions can significantly hurt your search ranking Keywords - Improve on-site search rank & SEM - Too many tells Google SPAM
  12. 12. Not the public HTML sitemap used as an index for content, but rather a dynamically built sitemap that updates on a regular basis to include the most current pages of any site as we create them. Typically, this is only available for subdomains ( or campaigns that have a separate URL ( • Separates the campaign from holistic site to reduce clutter • Tells search engines to rank campaign over for certain keywords • Prioritizes landing pages by user intention - Home Page = title search - FAQs = informational / inquiry search - Register = decision search - Donate = Conversion-style search query
  13. 13. 1. Easy way to prevent 404 problems – with Google & the user 2. Tells Google that many different URLs are all one page  improves ranking 3. Friendly URLs (e.g., also help keyword ranking and the overall user experience with the campaign site
  15. 15. Tips for Great Web Design - Your site represents who we are and what we offer the user. When people see it for the first time, they’re thinking… 1. Is this credible / believable? 2. Is it trustworthy? 3. Is this a REAL business / event / product? 4. Is this company stable? 5. Does this site make me feel welcome? 6. Am I in the right place? Proper use of colors: Use the right colors for your audience to draw attention to select elements. Don’t try to make everything jump out – or nothing will stand out. Avoid a chaotic mix of colors and instead pick 2 to 4 colors for your web templates. - Animations, gadgets and media: Avoid anything unnecessary. No Flash animations, no animated background and NO background music. - Layout: Create a clear navigation structure and organize page elements in a grid fashion (as opposed to randomly scattered). And don’t be afraid of white space – avoid clutter!
  16. 16. Consistent design elements such as Logo, Navigation, Links & Colors
  17. 17. RELEVANCE Effectiveness increases as connection between image and perceived value becomes clearer. Choose images with direct implication of value. Most important…NO STOCK IMAGES! REALITY The force of an image increases with authenticity. Images bring realism that reduces the “virtual distance” between an offering and the user’s perception of its value. Choose images that help the visitor see and touch the core value. RELATIVE WEIGHT Image effectiveness increases with relative graphical proportion. Used properly, images should draw the natural eye-path of a visitor, bringing more force to the value communicated by the image. Too many visual elements only confuse the visitor. I’m a happy customer!
  18. 18. • Keep the structure of primary navigation simple • Don’t offer too many navigation options. (and near the top). • Don’t dig too deep –it’s best to keep your • Include navigation in the footer. navigation to no more than 3 tiers. • Use breadcrumbs when needed, so people are aware of their nav trail on bigger sites. • Include links within your page copy and make it clear where the links go. This is also great for SEO! • Include a Search box near the top so visitors can search by keywords. • Avoid use of complicated JavaScript and (especially) Flash. Mobile devices hate Flash – so does Google. And so does the user.
  19. 19. In order to gain significant traffic, your site needs to be compatible with multiple browsers and devices. Make sure anyone visiting your website can view it no matter what browser or application they are using.
  21. 21. Questions to ask yourself about any web experience… 1. Will the user know what the campaign does for them – within seconds? 2. Will they understand what page they're on and what it's about? 3. Will they know what to do next? 4. Why should they sign-up or convert to your offer over any other?
  22. 22. 1. Create a few headlines and sub-headline ideas for your most important pages. Use a powerful value proposition and avoid clichés, gratuitous poetry or corp-speak. 2. Include clear call-to-actions and next steps. Include links in your copy, next step links at the end and calls-to-action where appropriate. 3. Test your copy. For the most accurate indicator of winning headlines, use A/B testing to see which variation drives the most conversions.
  23. 23. • In donation-specific content, speak to your audience. Use words like “you,” and “we.” Be transparent. Make yourself sound human. Speak their language. • Write as if you are helping them solve their problems. Avoid “we are the best” or “Brand X was blah blah blah” speak. • Offer more than just the ask. Instead, use “this is how we help you Provide calendars, eCards, videos, and ______ with _____” other value-added content. This nurtures prospects until they’re ready to buy. Plus, they get a story – not a sales pitch.
  24. 24. • Provide unique content. People love it • Evidence when needed. If using facts, and so do search engines. awards, testimonials, etc., back up with sources and give credit when it’s due. • Write for humans, not search engines. People don’t read like robots. • Know your subject well. You probably don’t want a mechanic writing about • Provide value with educational content brain surgery. Accurate equals quality. that helps others. • Keep content fresh. Having news that’s two years old still on your home page probably gives visitors a bad feeling. • Know your audience. Providing content specific to users makes it more relevant for them, and in turn, higher quality.
  25. 25. Avoid “Gobbledygook”  Next Generation  Flexible  Robust  Scalable  Easy to use  Cutting edge Be Clear, NOT Clever. If awareness is one of your goals, then step 1 is ultimately to be understood. Just be clear with what you want people to do on your site.  Ground breaking  Best of breed  Mission critical  And so on…(I think you’ve had enough)
  26. 26. Reasons you need a Blog: 1. Creates fresh content and more pages of unique content, which is great for SEO 2. Establishes you as industry thought leader 3. Helps drive more traffic back to your website – and captures more leads than ANY tactic 4. Enables lead capture via “Subscribe” or “Sign Up for Updates” calls-to-action 5. A great way to get inbound links!
  27. 27. • Product Reviews - on content, products, • Become a Social Network - Do donors and campaigns. Let donors fundraise for log-in on your site? We have social signus with insights next to info we provide. in for updates, information, or support. Why not offer social features like forums, reviews, etc., using the same tools? • Encourage Commenting - Allow user comments and ideas – give ownership via blogs, forums or a My Starbucks Idea, where feedback drives programs. • Allow Users To Curate Content – A website full of new content is hard. Give users power to submit content they create or find. • Plant social sharing across all core offerings and calls-to-action.
  28. 28. Visual Content Types: 1. Imagery (e.g., Infographics) 4. Online Utility Tools (e.g., Giving Calculator) 2. Video 5. Games 3. Audio 6. You name it!
  29. 29. • Provide authentic customer stories and don’t hide these behind a form! • Place real, short and powerful testimonials on your site. - Consider placing testimonials on certain topics on the pages relevant to them • The more proof you have – the better - Make it part of strategy to collect case studies and testimonials when possible • Leverage other online sites that provide reviews like Yelp or Google
  30. 30. PART 4: CONVERSION
  31. 31. • Make them bigger and bolder than most elements, but don’t overdo it. • Make the CTA look clickable. Use buttons or add a hover effects. • Consider colors of the CTA, whether it is a link, button or image. • Less is more. Keep it simple and clear what is being offered. • Offer CTAs that provide value, like events, reports, rewards, donations, sign-up, etc. • Test when possible. Different colors, effects, shapes, words, and placement. “Contact Us” is the worst form of a CTA
  32. 32. Segment offers by Customer Lifecycle. Place lead gen offers (newsletter sign-up, download) on top-level pages. Next-level CTAs (demo, event register, free trial) as user digs deeper. CTAs both above and below the fold. Above the fold area gets the most views. Be sure to add some at the bottom and within body content as well. Some studies suggest placing CTAs to the right of the page work better…but testing this will ultimately determine what’s best for your website.
  33. 33. Use Thank-You Pages for Additional CTAs. Seen right after someone completes a web form. There’s often plenty of real estate to offer more CTAs. Once a prospect completes a form, don’t stop there. Offer them additional ways to help (demos, trial purchases, social shares, 1x versus Membership, etc.). Test, Test, Test! It’s unclear which version will drive the conversions. Test different placements to know which one works best for your site.
  34. 34. • • • • • Main navigation has been removed Logo remains in the top left corner. Clear headline describing the offer. Clear image of the offer. Social share icons (bottom left - not shown) • • • • Brief description and bullets to scan. Form directly on page with sub-head reemphasizing the offer. Content focuses on value. Not too long.
  35. 35. • Only ask for the information you need for your CRM. Avoid asking for sensitive info they may not want to give. • Consider the value of the offer. The more valuable an offer, the more information you can ask for in return. If it’s a newsletter subscription, only ask for email address (maybe first name). • Reduce anxiety. People are resistant to give up their info. Add a privacy message (or link to privacy policy) indicating their email will not be shared or sold. • Don’t use the word “SUBMIT” on your buttons! No one wants to submit anything. • If download is your CTA, fulfill instantly. Include confirmation link and next-level CTA on the next page (e.g., “Thank You” page), with an auto-responder email as well.
  36. 36. Not all CTAs need to be big offers. You should definitely offer a newsletter subscription on your website. Newsletters or mailing lists are the perfect way to collect email addresses so you can nurture leads over time to become customers. Just make sure it’s easy for people to find your subscription form!
  37. 37. Join us…