The following is a guest post written by Ardelia Lee. Thanks, Ardelia!
Your website design is an important, and often overlooked, factor in content strategy. Whereas a strong content strategy will get people to your website, strategic web design will help them stay here. The longer your visitors stay on your website, the more they get to know you, and the more they start to like and trust you.
To encourage your visitors to explore your website more, work some basic web design principles into your content strategy.
Decide on Your Website’s Goal
Before you can strategically design or tweak your website to support your content strategy, you need to know what the ultimate goal of your website is. This tells you what you’re working toward, so you’ll know when you get there.
To choose your one major goal, ask yourself what your business needs from your website to survive. (Hint: It’s probably clients, right?) Once you’ve decided on your major goal, make sure everything on your website points to that goal. Every page you have should support your overall goal in its own way.
Map Out Your Website Journey
After you’ve decided on your main goal, it’s time to map out the journey you want your website visitors to take. (I’ve found that a pen and paper come in handy at this stage.) Mapping out your desired website journey sounds kind of complex, but it’s not.
All you’re doing is looking at the individual webpages and deciding how they fit together. Ideally, your website journey should be seamless, meaning that a visitor can enter the journey on any webpage and not feel lost while navigating through the other pages of your website. This is where you get to use some design tactics to keep them navigating longer.
Use Compelling Calls-To-Action
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are a great way to keep people reading. CTAs are simple, clear statements that tell your visitors what to do next. They also keep people on your website longer.
Without a CTA, someone who lands on your About page and reads all the way to the bottom might think, “Well, that’s nice.” and then leave. However, if you put a CTA at the bottom of your About page that says “Read the blog,” then that same visitor is likely to click on your CTA and go read your blog.
The best way to construct a CTA is to use verbs (action words) in them. CTAs like
- Read the blog
- Join the program, or
- Get the latest episode of [your podcast here]
are more compelling because they tell people what to do. Believe it or not, people are more willing to act when you specifically instruct them as to what to do next.
Link Between Blog Posts
Another great way to keep visitors on your site longer is to link to other blog posts you’ve written. If you’re writing a blog post on the top seven business tools for creatives, and you have a blog post that walks people through how to use one of the tools on your list, link to it.
Interlinking blog posts makes it easy for your readers to find great information, explore your blog, and get a better sense of who you are. This is a situation in which everyone wins.
To keep up with this practice, go back through your blog posts every few weeks and look for blog posts that are related or that directly support each other. Link them together with a compelling CTA like “For more info on how to use this tool, check out my walkthrough.”
Keep Your Pages Easy to Read
It’s no longer 1995. Web pages that are an entire wall of text won’t fly. They’re headache-inducing, and no one wants to read them. Make your visitors’ lives easier by formatting your pages in such a way that encourages them to read.
- Use headers where possible to break up the text and draw your visitors’ eyes down the page.
- Bullet points or numbered lists help underscore points without going overboard.
- Use eye-catching graphics.
- Use paragraphs to break up your text and keep things bite-sized.
The Powerhouse Combination
If you pair an awesome content strategy with an intentional web design that supports your strategy, you’ll have a powerhouse combination. You’ll be able to get visitors to your website easily, and you’ll be able to keep them there longer. If you haven’t given much thought to the role your web design plays in your content strategy, now’s the time. What changes can you make to improve your site’s design and keep visitors on your pages longer?
Ardelia Lee is a strategic copywriter and Human Design Projector on a mission to humanize the online business world. She focuses on helping entrepreneurs infuse more of their personality into their content and create deeper connections with their audiences as a result. Ardelia also hosts That Projector Life podcast. You can follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.