Your website is the heart of your online marketing efforts. Every other tactic that you undertake should drive visitors back to your website. It’s the one corner of the internet that is all your own. It’s where you can share your brand story in the way that best represents who you are and what you do.
But having a great website goes beyond creating great content. There are some technical elements that you need to nail in order to keep things running smoothly, give visitors a great experience, and easily keep track of leads. Here are the five tools that every business owner needs in order to create a website that works wonders for them and their customers.
1. A Tool to Host Your Website
First thing’s first: You need a way to get your website out there! There are a lot of web hosting services, but they are not all created equal. A bad host can hurt your website. Bad hosting can slow down load times on your site, which drives prospects away. In fact, a one second delay can result in a seven percent reduction in conversions!
Security is also a major concern nowadays. Having an HTTPS certificate for your website is an essential part of trust-building. Google now calls out websites that aren’t HTTPS by labeling them as “not secure” in big red letters in the address bar. If that’s the first thing a customer sees upon clicking on your website, chances are they’ll think twice before handing over any sensitive information to you on your site. Some web hosting companies include HTTPS certificates at no additional charge, while others will try to upsell you for this necessary element.
For my part, I swear by Pressable WordPress Hosting. They provide super-fast and secure web hosting, and their customer service team is on hand 24/7 so that you’re never left in a lurch if you have issues with your website.
2. A Tool to Design a Beautiful Site
As much as we may hate to admit it, looks do matter when we’re browsing websites. Sites with outdated designs and hard-to-read formatting are a major turnoff for customers. And if your business isn’t big enough to have a full-time web designer on hand, it helps to have a tool that allows you to make changes to your website so that you can keep information current and include all the elements you need in a modern site.
A tool like Thrive Architect can help you get it all done. They have simple drag-and-drop layouts that allow you to control the content and design of your site without a computer science degree. And it’s about more than just adding texts, images, and video; they have conversion-focused elements that you can easily incorporate into your pages.
3. A Tool to Generate Leads
Speaking of conversions, a great website needs a way to collect and generate leads. You can have the fastest, most secure, and beautiful website on the internet, but if you don’t tell visitors what they’re supposed to do once they get there, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Yes, your website should include your promise and story, but you also must tell visitors what you want them to do next. Do you want them to sign up for your mailing list? Register for a free trial? Providing a call to action, where you ask visitors to take one specific move, is the first step in the process of generating a lead and moving them down the marketing hourglass.
Thrive Leads is a simple WordPress plugin that helps you do just that. It allows you to create forms using simple drag-and-drop design so that you can capture the information that you need from your visitors. Getting this information is step one to building a relationship with a prospect. Without that information in hand, you can’t possibly move forward with other tactics to move them further down the hourglass. And the Thrive Leads plugin has advanced testing, targeting, and analytics so that you can measure the success of each lead generation effort.
4. A Tool to Integrate Email and CRM
Once you start collecting these leads, you have to do something with them! Housing all of the information in one centralized location is an important first step—that’s where a CRM comes in. I love ActiveCampaign, which brings together CRM, marketing automation, and email marketing tools all under one roof.
Having all of your prospect and customer information in one place allows you to begin an effective email marketing campaign. You can also design targeted search and social media marketing campaigns, with messaging designed to speak to various segments of your audience.
5. A Tool to Design Custom Landing Pages
Once you begin to undertake marketing efforts beyond your website, the end goal is still to drive traffic back to your online home. But you don’t want to send paid search and social media ad traffic back to your homepage. It’s far more effective to have a custom landing page for each and every campaign you run.
Landing pages allow you to tailor the information to the specific offer that’s featured in the ad. When your audience clicks through and finds only the most relevant information on your website, conversion rates go up, and you get the greatest return on your advertising investment.
A tool like ClickFunnels can help you create these highly customized landing pages. Like the other tools I’ve recommended, they have a drag-and-drop design feature that makes it easy for you to build a page with the layout and messaging you want. Their focus is on lead conversion, and they have the strategies and tools on hand to help you create the most effective landing pages possible.
Building a great website means incorporating a lot of different elements—from superficial things like design elements to behind-the-scenes pieces like proper security. Fortunately, there are lots of tools out there that make it simple for any business owner to create a strong, effective, secure online presence for their business.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.