What makes a great website? While perfect website design is constantly evolving, these 5 website elements are critical in converting your visitors into qualified leads. Be sure to add these web design elements on your site.
1. First Impression – Your Opening Message
Create your website quickly and easily using WordPress or Wix (affiliate link), our two top recommendations to make a great website without hiring a designer.
Of all of the website elements that make a great website, your opening message is the most important.
Your visitors will judge your website in the first few seconds and decide whether to stay or leave, known as a bounce. That is why the messaging on your home page must be welcoming and inviting, as well as informative.
Your first impression should answer this question that is in your visitor’s mind at the moment they land on your website: what does your company do that will benefit me?
Website Elements That Create a Strong First Impression
Images – Post images of your products that make website visitors want to learn more. If you sell consumer products, show happy people using your products. For business products, use screenshots of attractive visuals such as charts, graphs and information that will benefit your visitor. Use free stock photos to enhance your website’s look and feel.
One Line Benefit – In one line, preferably no more than 8 words, encapsulate the key benefit that your visitors will get by engaging with your company. This can be different than your company’s tag line. Examples:
- Look like you’re wearing a $500 dress for under $100!
- Protect Your Business From Hackers
- Peace of Mind Bookkeeping Services
- Headache-Free Small Business Accounting
You can make a sales pitch on certain special items, but try not to hit visitors with too many “buy” messages right away. Your messaging should focus on welcoming your new website visitor so they want to click around to learn more.
2. Call to Action to Capture Leads, Not Just Sales
Your website’s eventual goal is to create long-term relationships. Some people will make a single purchase and never contact you again. However, your best clients will make repeat purchases and spread the word about your business.
For those visitors who are not ready to buy something right away, create a compelling offer to capture their contact information. Call to action website elements allow you to nurture visitors by building a relationship through an email newsletter or a drip marketing campaign.
Website Elements That Capture Contact Information
Irresistible Offer – Next to your one line benefit message, add an irresistible offer to capture your visitor’s email address. Examples:
- Download an IT Security Checklist
- Get a Free Guide on Setting Up Your Accounting Software Properly
- Attend our Free Webinar on Web Design Elements
- Download our Free eBook on Do-It-Yourself Home Repair
Coupons – If you sell a product or service that allows for pricing flexibility, offer a coupon to first time visitors in exchange for their email address. Examples:
- Get a Coupon for 20% Off Your First Order
- Get a Free Dessert with the Purchase of an Entree
- Tell a Friend and Get Both of You Get 10% Off
To add these website elements, use email marketing services like Campaigner or MailChimp, which create simple code that you can copy/paste onto your website and automate the outbound email offer.
Contact Form – Sound website design includes a way for online visitors to easily contact you for sales or support. That not only means creating a specific contact page with your business address, phone, email, and possibly specific individuals to contact, but also a phone or email at the top and bottom of every page on your website.
Your call to action and contact form is one of the most important web design elements for website conversion optimization.
3. Extremely Clear Navigation Bar Elements
The top of every page of your website should include your business name and logo, and a navigation bar that makes it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for. Think through your navigation bar options very carefully. If your visitors have trouble figuring how how to find something that benefits them quickly, they will leave your website.
Website Navigation Elements That Improve Usability
Action Words – Help visitors find what they want fast using action words. Avoid using terms like “Who We Are” and “What We Do” because, frankly, your visitors don’t really care. You can post that type of information in your About Us page. Your visitors want to know how you can help them.
If you provide services other businesses, use terms like these in your navigation bar:
- Case Studies
- Pricing (if appropriate)
For consumers or online services, try these navigation bar examples:
- Try It Free
- Order Now
- Design Tips
Sticky Horizontal Navigation, not Vertical – Make your navigation bar horizontal across the top of the page rather than vertical down the side. Vertical navigation bars take up a lot of empty space along the side of your web page as a visitor scrolls down.
Also, make your navigation bar sticky so even when someone scrolls, the navigation elements stay at the top.
4. Deep Information About Products and Services
As noted above in your website navigation bar, make your product or service offerings easy to find. What makes a website great is depth. Richer, deeper content also helps you improve your search engine rankings.
Web Design Elements for Your Offerings
One Page per Product or Service – Instead of jumbling too many items on one or two web pages, create a different page for each of your products and services. If you have a plethora of products, you can also create a general “catalog” style page with a link to each product.
Learn More vs. Buy Buttons – When you sell products, visitors are sometimes reluctant to place an order without first learning more about the product. Research by the Nielsen Norman Group who tests website elements found that you should offer two buttons: Learn More and Order Now. This gives your visitors a choice and not a single option that they may not be ready to undertake.
Be sure you have a professional image of your products, and provide a clear, tight description of each.
5. Resources That Educate
If you went to a dinner party and met someone for the first time who only talked about themselves, how would you feel? You’d probably want to get away from them because they’re too self-absorbed.
Your website is no different. If all your visitors see is information about you and how good you are, they may not understand your value to them.
Websites that educate are able to create long-term relationships with customers because they build trust. When prospects and clients value you as a trusted resource, they will start buying from you – and even better, they will tell their friends to buy from you.
Website Elements That Educate Prospects and Clients
Blog – Creating a blog is free and easy. A blog can greatly improve your search engine optimization (SEO) with frequent updates using specific keywords that pertain to your business. You don’t need to write a post every day, but a regularly updated blog one to three times a week gets noticed by search engines. It also portrays your company as a trusted resource.
Our favorite SEO tool is SEMrush (affiliate link) which can help you identify what to write to increase your chances of getting found on search engines. Here’s how we use it to identify topics to write about: Content Discovery and Easy Content Marketing.
Resources – Provide a list of tools, guides, how-to tips, checklists, or other resources that can help your customers achieve their goals. This can be tied to your call to action or it can be a page of links to helpful information.
Every product and service can have a list of resources. A restaurant could share insights into how they source ingredients. A clothing store can talk about fashion ideas and trends. An IT company can share ways to stop ransomware from infecting a company’s network. A bookkeeper can provide a list of tools that can help a company stay organized.
Website Elements for Perfect Website Design
Add all of the 5 web design elements above to your website and you will answer the question “what makes a great website?”
The combination of your first impression, call to action, navigation bar, product and service descriptions, and educational resources will help you create the perfect website design for your business.