I came across this video from Moz “Designing a Page’s Content Flow to Maximize SEO Opportunity – Whiteboard Friday”. I thought it was a good short video on designing a page to cater to the needs of a web visitor. Too often, content is buried or scattered throughout a page. This video does a good job of describing how to easily and effectively lay out a page.
A couple of the key questions that should be answered and considered are:
  1. What is a web visitor searching for?
  2. What are other intentions of a web visitor? What priorities?

Based on the priorities, a web layout should flow from satisfying the primary intent first – at the top of the page. As the page scrolls, then, layout content accordingly.

Check out the video.
Creating an effective landing page (or website for that matter) can be both art and science. Landing pages are used to test interaction and interest in a product or service. They are used to iterate towards higher conversions (whatever the call-to-action (CTA)).
The art of the landing page is the combination of several characteristics including images (or, literally, “art”), copy, call-to-actions, and user forms. It can be difficult to determine the right detail. Thank goodness for variant-testing from services like Landing Lion and Unbounce.
For today, I’d like to hit home on key aspects of the user form as it is oftentimes the critical step of conversion.
  • Know the audience. As in any marketing, product, or sales initiative, knowing and understanding the market is critical. It’s step one. Knowing the audience enables a landing page builder to employ the right semantics & style and ask for the right data points.
  • Ask for what’s needed. Per Eloqua’s benchmark data from 3Q 2011 (see image below, provided by Hubspot), 61.4% user forms have 5-10 fields and convert ~40% of unique visitors. Too few fields (assuming the “right” ones) hampers sales from engaging the visitors with personalization while disabling marketing from iterating their efforts for high conversion. Too many will scare off visitors from taking the time to enter info.
  • Check the CTA. Impact Boundsuggests making the CTA be both action-oriented and benefit-oriented. Help the visitor know what s/he is getting by completing the form.

The user form is just one part of a landing page/ website, but it’s the critical piece to converting a web visitor outside of direct contact (i.e. email, call). As mentioned before, test the user form with a landing page builder service.

Being a blogger (of many blogs), it makes sense many new and want-to-be bloggers reach out to me for advice. I’ve even recently launched another blog for another passion project. I’ve also helped at least a dozen start up sites. With each iteration, I’ve found my go-to recommendations on what to use.
If you’re looking to start a website or a blog, these are my recommendations.
  • Buying a domain – GoDaddyor Namecheap.Both are very simple. Go Daddy can offer as low as $2.99 for the first year of owning the domain with a 2-year commitment. The second and following years go up to $14.99. You can find domains on Namecheap for $10.69 annual (first, second, so forth).
  • Website builder/ content management system (CMS) – WordPress. This blog (as of 03/09/17) is built with Blogger. It was real quick to get up and running several years ago when I started. However, Blogger lacks the power of flexibility and a strong theme ecosystem to customize like WordPress. The themes make your site stand out, and many can be incredibly easy to implement “WOW” elements.
  • Hosting – Siteground.This is a new recommendation. I launched 100 Strangers, 100 Days with Digital Ocean. It was easy, but also had several hiccups. Plus, it’s expensive. I checked out Siteground, and found this to be WICKED easier. A few clicks, and you’re up. Simple, fast, and a fraction of the cost of other hosting services.
  • WordPress Template – Enfold. This theme is very simple and hugely powerful. It’s drag-and-drop capabilities are superior to what I’ve found on other sites. Meanwhile, you can customize the heck out of your site with very simple UI. The team has done a great job of still playing nice with plug-ins for even greater flexibility. Also, they back up their work with great support. Just select a demo template from their packaged theme, and go from there. Simple.
  • Emailer/ marketing – Mailchimp.It’s an Atlanta-based company bootstrapped from the start. Real quick to use this to capture emails, and notify your readers of updates.

With the above, you can launch a site and have a simple landing page up in a couple hours. It could happen faster, but you’ll likely noodle over color schemes, pictures, and the like. Know that with this set-up, you can take your time or be quick.

Drop me a note if you have questions.