9 Major Elements Every Business Website Needs to Prosper in 2017

Posted by Sunday Ely Mar 22, 2017

With new marketing technology today, there are many ways to stand out from the pack. In fact, there are so many tools and resources you can incorporate into your strategy, it can seem overwhelming. It’s important to identify the absolute best practices to excel your website reach and satisfy your website’s needs. With that said, let’s zero in on the 9 major elements that every business website needs to prosper in 2017.

1. Plan

It's time to bring things into focus.

Does your website have a function—a purpose? Is your site just a placeholder, marking your digital real estate online? Or is your site a curated platform optimized for inbound marketing set-up with strategy to deliver value to your prospects and personas?

Your website plan and its effectiveness can be clearly seen given your current site traffic and site engagement metrics. If you are experiencing the following, you need a revitalized plan:

  • High Bounce Rate
  • Low Web Traffic
  • Low Content Engagement

Go ahead, map out your business needs and pull out your buyer persona profiles. With every step of the design phase, you want to make sure you are designing with your buyers in mind. Identify their needs and pain points, strategize short-term and long-term goals, and then set attainable, timely deadlines to reach your goals.

With a solid, time sensitive plan, you are well on your way to having a prosperous website.

You may be thinking your company needs a total website rehaul. No worries, check out our detailed checklist for your next website redesign.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Create a search engine optimization strategy.

The bullseye here is keyword. Yes, you did read that correctly.

Keywords that you have researched for your industry need to be incorporated into your website content. Here are a few locations on your site to include keywords for search engine optimization:

  • Website Copy
  • Page Titles
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Header Tags
  • URLs

While SEO is very important, it is crucial to keep your personas top of mind when optimizing your site for maximum visibility. You don’t want your SEO to interfere with user experience.

Pro Tip: As a rule of thumb keep personas and prospects top of mind.

3. Responsive Design for Mobile Traffic

Mobile readiness is standard for business website best practices.

Since 2015 Google has set their sights on mobile as the new frontier and search engine device of choice for the majority of internet users. Now in 2017, if you have not established a mobile-friendly site you are behind the curve.

Without a mobile-friendly site, you deny your business mobile traffic. Denying your business mobile traffic is significant seeing that in fall 2016 mobile internet usage surpassed that of desktop usage for the first time. What if more than 50% of your potential leads are leaving your website because it’s not mobile responsive or not engaging via mobile viewing?

What features on your site help your site to shine in this mobile age? Is your site responsive? Are you implementing any 2017 mobile design trends? Have you ever tried to access your site via various mobile devices? Does everything flow and function in an optimized manner for your viewer?

Mobile is not the new frontier it’s the current frontier. For your website to prosper in 2017, it must be responsive and apt for mobile users.

4. Website = Community = Sales?

Your website is your hardest working employee.

Think about it—your website is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is awake promoting your business, giving value and capturing leads. That is pretty powerful.

When thinking about elements to prosper your business, sales are certainly a part of that equation. After all, it’s the thing that keeps you going. However, in today’s digital age, don’t start out only focused on sales. When you lead with a sales approach it shows and can come off as unwanted solicitation when not timed appropriately.

Instead, think of the following:

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Use a dynamic website to cultivate, encourage and foster community. Your community includes:

  • Social Media Followers
  • Blog Commentators
  • Page/Website Visitors
  • Email Outreach Lists
  • Lead Captures

These prospects are in different stages of the buyer's journey but the key word here is journey. Deliver value at every stage of the buyer’s journey to your personas. When they are ready, your prospects will identify themselves within your community and close the sale.

If you would like to read further view these helpful posts:

Improve Your Website Using Lead Generation Website Tips
How to Use Your Website for Sales Enablement

5. Dynamic content

Not just regular content—dynamic content.

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Think of strawberries. We all know how a strawberry typically looks. For a second, imagine you are hungry and you’re searching through a crate of strawberries. You pick this huge strawberry out of the crate (oh yes). As you lift it to your mouth you notice it is a bit indented. Then you notice that it’s oddly shaped and the color is not really a vibrant red but a bit brown on the right side. What do you do?

Most people would discard that strawberry and start over. This is what your prospects are doing as they search the internet to satisfy their hunger for someone who can supply their need.

If your website content is difficult to navigate, doesn’t deliver a lot of value or is too minimalistic, you won’t satisfy that hunger for most prospects in 2017. Users want to interact with your website, poke around and stay a while. With limited or no dynamic content (or read user interaction), prospects are bouncing off your website quicker than they need to.

Enhance your website with dynamic content tips:

  • Easy Navigation
  • Innovative Content Layouts
  • Bold Colors
  • Strategic Typography
  • Interactive Media (Video, Audio or Animated Images)
  • Call-To-Action Banners
  • Content Offers (ex. free E-books)

Give your prospects a reason to stay on your site; get them involved. Provide options and depth. Give your buyer personas interactive content.

Content marketing is like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date.David Beebe, Vice President, Global Creative + Content Marketing, Marriott International

Check out this video on Content Marketing Tips:

 
 
 
 
 
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6. Video

Video marketing is really in the driver's seat for 2017.

With an attention span shorter than a goldfish, about 7-8 seconds, you want to capture your prospects attention and do so quickly. To do this incorporate video.

The play button is the most compelling call to action on the web.—Michael Litt CEO at Vidyard

Market research shows users want to see more and more video. With the saturated market and influx of information via the internet, video helps cut through the information overload and displays content in a condensed format. Your viewers can learn about your business, your services, and your products through compelling visual storytelling.

Video has really opened the door for unlimited possibilities. Including video in your inbound marketing strategy is wise. Give your viewers what they want—give them video!

Do you already have video but want to know how to increase engagement through best SEO? Check out our blog on Engage Your Audience with These Video SEO Practices.

7. Social Media

Social media can maximize exposure and allure new prospects.

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How can you polish your social media marketing? Do any of the following items resonate with your business:

  • What are the 2 social platforms your buyer personas engage with most?
  • What is your social media strategy?
  • What is your current analytical data suggesting?
  • Are you experiencing any gaps between your objectives and current traction?
  • What is your timeline to meet new objectives?
  • What slight aesthetic changes can you make to enhance your user experience socially?

These are just a few suggested questions to assist you in refreshing your 2017 approach to a corporate social media strategy.

In addition to having a contextual strategy, you want to ensure you have developed unique and dynamic graphics for your site and social platforms. This includes your social media icons or newsfeeds incorporated on your website.

8. Calls To Action

Have clear "calls to action."

  • Use concise and directive language to guide users to take action on your website, e.g., your navigation bar, your content offers, your landing pages, etc.
  • Make it easy for users to navigate.
  • Be transparent.
  • Let prospects know where your call to action opt-in will lead them.
9. User Experience

Your site should be user-focused.

  • Think Mobile—remember that over 50% of all internet searches are done via a mobile device. When considering your user experience, design with the mobile visitor in mind. For example, images and video might be best for mobile viewing than long-form blogs.
  • Confirm your product or service within the first few seconds of prospects visiting your website. Make it easy.
  • Clearly present information allowing visitors to make an informed decision about whether your product or service is right for them.
  • Be creative in your storytelling. Raise the bar and deliver information in a compelling way.

Visual content, more creative storytelling, and interactive content contribute to experiences that inform and create an emotional connection with buyers. Brands are still creating more content, but it’s held to a higher standard by customers.Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing

Enable user-friendly navigation.

  • Less is more. Simple and easy user-navigation that is designed with mobile in mind will create a pleasant user experience.
  • Navigation trends for 2017 are simple. The industry standard is to design for mobile first and carry that over to the functionality of a desktop website. 

If you’re in need of a website redesign or you just want to know some quick insight into what makes a successful, effective website, watch the following video:

 
 
 
 
 
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Provide valuable content that answers what your website visitors are looking for by incorporating these 9 major elements for your success in 2017.

 

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10 Step Website Redesign

Suggested Links:

FAQ Friday: Planning a Website Redesign [Checklist]

Mobile Website Design Trends 2017

FAQ Friday: Questions About Responsive Website Design

Thought Hive: How to Use Your Website for Sales Enablement

FAQ Friday: Why Does Inbound Link Building Matter for My Website

Thought Hive: Improve Your Website Using Lead Generation Website Tips


Topics: Online Design, Website Development, Thought Leadership, Inbound Marketing

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