Your website is the door to your digital business, and your homepage is the welcome mat. When someone clicks on your homepage, what they immediately see influences 90 percent of their decisions and within seconds they decide whether to stay for a tour, or  head to your neighbor’s (the competition) beautiful house next door.

Luckily, 7 simple steps is all you need to build an engaging website and not only get your visitors through the door, but have them inviting friends with them next time they visit.

If you are a business in today’s fast-paced environment and don’t have a website, it’s never too late; setting up a website is a powerful and inexpensive way to reach new clients, generate leads and improve conversion rates for your product or service.

So, here are 7 simple steps for how to build an engaging website, increase traffic and improve conversion rates.

  1. Your logo

When it comes to website design, the old adage is true: you only get one chance to make a first impression. Your official logo is the first indicator visitors use to judge the quality of the site and the professionalism of the business. Try to avoid using free themes and logos, as this can make your website look and feel generic (we’re trying to build an engaging website). If you can’t afford the services of a professional graphic designer consider outsourced sites, where creative professionals offer their services as a low-cost “gig.” There are pros and cons to “looking cheap,” so be sure you pick what is right for your brand.

  1. Relevant Content

In order to attract and keep visitors on your site, you need to provide fresh, relevant content (*cough* This article *cough*). Your web pages need to engage the reader, not offer them a hard sell. Pages filled with sales language like “Buy Now,” “Why we are the best,” and “We are #1,” versus “Educational tips,” “content blogs,” “video,” and “Testimonials,” has far greater value. Provide useful content that lets them know they’re in the right place. Position yourself as an expert in your field by presenter yourself as an educator, not a salesperson. This is also vital to increase your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).

  1. Images and Clip Art

When using images and clip art on your site, make sure you use only royalty-free artwork or work you own the rights to. Be wary of sites that offer free stock photos. Many of them allow uploading of stolen images that the “author” has no rights to. Always make sure you get permission from the true owner of an image before using it anywhere on your site. We like to use Shutterstock.

  1. Videos

Video marketing the hottest trend for internet businesses. It easily engages your visitors and offers a more direct message than words. A professionally made video will add an extra layer of professionalism and credibility to your product or service. Videos that use whiteboard animation are especially effective in engaging their audience. Best of all – you do not have to be in the video to have a video! Whether you are promoting a product or service, offering customer testimonials, or just want to show your passion for your topic of choice, videos engage and entertain your visitors. Here is an example of a whiteboard video

  1. Embed Social Media

Today, shareable content is what visitors seek. Make it easy for your visitors to engage with your website and share content with others by including social media sharing buttons on your website. This will draw even more visitors to your site from platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more. Social networking is also an excellent way to market your business. Remember, when using social media the intent is to engage and entertain, not sell. People who like your social media profiles will click through to your website out of sheer curiosity. And if your site provides something of value, they’ll check it out further and become a loyal follower, or share your content and become a brand ambassador.

  1. Maintain a Web Presence

Help improve your website’s ranking in Google and other search engines by formatting your content properly. Long blocks of complex information can drive your visitors away. Break up your content by adding sub-headers, numbered lists, and bullet points. This will make the content easier to scan by readers and search engines alike, and improve your web ranking. Of course, this all begins with selecting a well-researched keyword. Use keyword tools (Google Adwords, Keyword Explorer) to select keywords for your site that don’t have too much competition, but enough people searching for the term to make your website visible. Make sure you have someone on your team that understands the fundamentals of what drives your site to the top pages of search engines.

  1. Encourage Your Visitors to Come Back

The best way to encourage visitors to come back is to offer them something. An e-newsletter, contests, freebies, logo merchandise – the list of ideas is endless, and only bound by your creativity.  We love using Constant Contact to build our e-mail distribution list as well as stay in touch with our followers.

Online marketing isn’t comprised of just one task, but many put together. By following the above tips, you should start to see more visitors to your site and an improvement in search engine rankings before you know it.