The 5 Second Website

How SEO Web Design Gets You More Business

– In less than 20 years the World Wide Web has gone from the province of academics and tech nerds to the commercial use for the general population, including your grandma (hardly a techie). Now everybody is on the web either showing, sharing or looking for something. The rise of Google as a corporate titan is testament to how the web is used today. That’s why your business has a website, right?

Your business website, as a promotional tool and an integral part of your overall marketing strategy, functions as the face of your business. You know what they say about first impressions – not only do you have to look good and professional, but also convert searchers to buyers. It’s quite possible that your current website is not performing as it should, because if that beautiful website isn’t showing up in search results how are people supposed to find you on the web? Yes, there are many and much more capital intensive (read: expensive) alternatives to drive traffic to your website. However, it has been proven that traffic from organic SERP (search engine results placement) is the most cost effective, the most profitable by far and the best ROI for a myriad of reasons, starting with web design, and a focus on LPO (Landing Page Optimization).

You Have 5 Seconds

Let’s say that you are ranking high enough in the organic SERPs to get a decent amount of traffic (sessions). Now what? With so much content on the web competing for attention, your website has 5 seconds to answer 3 questions:
1) Were am I?
2) What can I do Here?
3) Why should I do it?

Effective web design will answer all three and hopefully to the searcher’s satisfaction (can’t please everybody, but we try). So let’s explore this-

Where Am I

For number one, it’s in your branding, and for business large and small that means your logo. How it’s designed and where it’s placed on the page is critical to conversion rate.

Logo Design

The visual design cues will illustrate the product and/or service that you provide, so that the searcher, using keywords in search queries to find your website, will recognize your logo, even if they have not seen it before. That’s the magic of visual communication. You do not want to pinch pennies here!

Logo Placement

Where your logo is placed on the page is primarily dictated by the marketing science of thought process and eye path. Millions of corporate dollars have been invested in design, testing and market research of logo placement. What that means for the small business is, the big boys have already spent the money so you don’t have to! That’s why most web design is “monkey see, monkey do”. You’ll notice that design and layout of commercial websites all seem to follow the same pattern – kind of like the way modern cars seem to all look alike (mainly because of federal laws and design to meet the requirements).

Because nobody wants to be left behind (like page 6 of search results, where NOBODY goes), the more competitive search engine marketers and web designers will reverse engineer a top online competitor’s website to find out how they got high organic search ranking in Google. We (they) then apply what we (they) have learned in the process. That’s another reason that aside from important visual cues like your unique logo and value proposition, most websites seem to look similar.
Another reason is, a website has to be familiar, like a car. Anybody should be able to just jump in and drive. The gas pedal is where it should be, the steering wheel and gear selector in their proper places (even in the UK and Japan, the gas pedal is to the right of the brake pedal, although it’s on the wrong side of the car!).
That dictates your web page layout, the critical placement of visual and text elements to best communicate your offer, concisely and convincingly.
Proper web design will implement those strategies, known as UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) to best answer the “where am I?” question, with the added benefit of answering the “who” question.
Next-

What Can I Do Here?

Your Value Proposition

Or, more to the point, “what’s in it for me?”
The Business Dictionary states what the “Value Proposition” is best (IMHO):
“An analysis or statement of the combination of goods and services offered by a company to its customers in exchange for payment.”

In other words, it can be as simple as, “I’ll give you this if you give me that”. Somewhere in that statement you have to communicate value. That’s what professional ad copy writers are for – sometimes a plain spoken businessman can say it best.
Then you make that value prop (as I call it) Google readable, part heading and part paragraph so the Google bots get what the webpage is about. If you can sell the viewer, you can sell Google (and possibly rank higher).
Bottom line: your value prop should be prominent on your homepage and clearly communicate benefits, right after they see your logo. That answers the Who, Where and the What, now let’s explore the WHY?:

Why Should I Do It?

You also have to visually illustrate your value proposition (i.e. benefits, etc) with a background image that clearly communicates the offering, demonstrating the “why” . Smiling faces always seem to work.
This bit of the website is best designed by somebody who understands advertising, marketing and sales. (as a shameless plug, I am well versed in all three).
Because of the intricacies of the Value Proposition, a lot of testing is involved to see which design or textual content gets the best conversion rate. For a large company with a marketing budget, they can afford such A/B testing. Most small to medium business have a limited budget for such things. That said, it is best to hire a web design company with experience in such matters. If you have to go with one value prop for a certain period of time, then go with one that has been developed with all the testing and research behind it. NicksWebWorks subscribes to MECLABS (Marketing Experiments) and websites like Search Engine Journal. We do the research so you don’t have to. That’s how a NicksWebWorks website can bring you more business.

How It’s Done

Using the NicksWebWorks website as an example, you will notice that all this has to happen “above the fold”. You want your unique identifier and your value proposition along with your all important “call to action”, or CTA to be right there. Its very simple. What you want to avoid is too many options. That’s one of the reasons NWW stopped using “sliders” years ago. Sometimes they can be useful for “on-page” SEO, but can also be confusing and reduce conversion rate.
Remember KISS– Keep it Simple Stupid
What I’m saying is we have to make it simple for the customer in terms of allowing them to feel safe about saying “yes” and buying quickly, or compelling them to take action to learn more.

And that’s what the 5 Second Website is all about.

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