Hundreds and probably thousands of books have been written on exactly this topic. It’s a complex mixture of science and design, testing, luck and more testing. However , there are some rules that if you follow you’ll be able to avoid the mistakes that so many even experienced designers make. One of the first and foremost things to remember is you’re building your site to make money, not just be pretty. This is one of the biggest mistakes people and especially designers make, they build a site that they believe is aesthetically pleasing, looks amazing, has lots of flash and video but yet never sells a thing. No matter how great your site looks you need to make sure you have a clear call to action above the fold ( a term referring to the main page without having to scroll) as soon as a visitor enters your site. Maybe it’s an answer to a question, the promise of clear result if they do an action, or short and brief information that they were looking for and the reason why they came to the site.
Loading speed is one of the biggest reasons why people click away as soon as they visit your site, if you have too much going on, video and flash etc it will slow your site down and frustrate your visitors. Also, stay away from overly bright colors, too much text, too many options, too many pictures, essentially too much of anything is bad. People end up not knowing what action they’re supposed to take, they become unsure of where to get the information they’re looking for and ultimately leaving. Remember why people are visiting your site. Is it to get more information about a service? Is it to get pricing on your product or service? Find out general information about a subject? If you know why people are visiting your site, what ad copy your using to get them there and what keyword phrases you’re targeting you should have a really good idea of the key pieces of information you should have on your home page.
Next, what is your objective from your site? How can you provide them great information and make sure you still make money?How can you meet your visitors desires as well as your objectives. Can you offer them the information they’re looking for in an easily downloaded ebook or white paper? Can you give them some great free content or answers to their questions and then expand on it from a downloadable ebook?
Your site should feel free and uncluttered with a couple specific points on the page that draw the attention of the visitor. Perhaps it’s a great picture that tells something about your site or service and then clear bullet points describing exactly what problem you’re going to solve and then a call to action asking for just a name and email address to receive the free information. Make sure you’re not trying to answer every question, show every product or one of the biggest ones is create a site full of long content for seo purposes. Sure you might start coming up on Google search but as soon as people visit your site they’ll leave because they’re so overwhelmed. If you want to build your seo make each page specific to just a couple keywords and spread it out below the fold still keeping the first top page to the point and making it clear to visitors who you are and what you’re offering.
Next, make your visitors know who you are and feel like they’ve made the right decision by coming to you. Any good press you’ve gotten, any great reviews, any positive social reviews, you’re going to want to tell people about. Logos of well known companies you’ve helped. Anything that shows credibility and that others trust you you’re going to want to put on your main page. Remember, unless you’re a large company chances are your visitors have no idea who you are yet, now it’s time to show them what an amazing product or service you have and how trustworthy you are. Social testimonials are great for doing this.
Right from the very beginning you’re going to want to know exactly what information you’re offering to your visitors and the keywords you’re going to want to compete with. Using this information and keywords write great keyword dense content, write a new blog consistently and keep adding to your site with more relevant content. Visitors ultimately keep visiting your site for new and interesting content and the more they visit the better chance you have of them becoming a paying customer. Everything you do on your site is about building credibility and getting the word out that you have vital, engaging information. Use social share buttons on all your blogs and pages, post your content on all your social media channels and keep engaged with your visitors comments.
Finally, make sure you have a great web host. This will be your biggest asset as they’ll have great templates to choose from in every style that are already proven, they’ll have all the plugins you’ll need to build your site and interact with third parties such as Facebook and Paypal. I use Wpengine as they’re templates are built to load super fast so you never have visitors getting frustrated and leave waiting for your page to load, they do all wordpress sites which I love and are used widely, their templates look great and they have amazing customer support. They also have some great plans that allow you to grow for a very reasonable price and guarantee that if you suddenly start hitting it out of the park and have huge traffic your site won’t crash. Another host I’ve used is bluehost which is also another great company that is a little less expensive than Wpengine. Both you can’t go wrong with and offer you lots of support.