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Web Design Tips That Will Boost Your Conversion Rate

There’s more to building a website, publishing good content, and encouraging people to sign up for your email list when you want to be successful. And, while what you’re doing right now may be working, and even generating you sales in your online shop, there’s always room for improvement.

Many marketers put all their focus on things like SEO, lead magnets, and building a strong social media presence. But while these things can help drive traffic to your website, if the design of your site is all wrong, you won’t see nearly as many conversions as you would like.

A high converting website is the ultimate key to your success.

That’s why today we’re sharing with you some of the top web design tips you should follow when creating your website, so your traffic remains high, and your conversion rates follow.

1. Have a Clear Value Proposition

People want to know immediately what your site is all about once they land on it. Even if they willingly click on your site from a search result, and have a good idea what you have to offer them, they want to be reassured once they get there.

Since competition in the eCommerce world is so tough, you need to come up with a strong value proposition that people can relate to when they visit you site.

For example, Uber does a great job of using a catchy value proposition (Get there – Your day belongs to you) that lets potential customers know they mean business when it comes to their services.

uber - value proposition example

In one quick phrase you know what Uber is about and what they offer you. Your value proposition should be your brand’s selling point, so make it count.

Need help creating the perfect value proposition?

Check out CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. All you have to do is enter your headline, get a score, and make improvements.

headline analyzer example

 

2. Follow the Rule of Thirds

Many marketers will tell you that this well-known design trick photographers use works well for websites as well.

In short, the Rule of Thirds claims that you should break your image into thirds so that you have 9 equal parts. In the grid that you’ve now formed, you should focus your site’s main points of interest at the intersections created in the middle of the image.

rule of thirds grid

 

This is where people will focus most of their attention. That means those intersections are the best places to grab your site visitors’ attention and get them to convert.

Take for instance Rockstroh Drums’ homepage:

rockstroh drums - rule of thirds example

Their value proposition is nearby two of the intersections, their call to action lays directly on the line leading to an intersection, and the image that brands their company (along with the company name) sits perfectly on another one of the main intersections.

In addition to following the rule of thirds, be mindful of the natural F-pattern people follow when on websites. This is where people tend to look for the most information, so giving it to them easily will help guide them to your call to action and through the rest of your website.

tuts web design - f layout

Hotjar is a great tool for heat mapping how your site visitors navigate your site, so you can put the most prominent information in the line of fire so they definitely see what you have to offer.

3. Pay Attention to Color Schemes

It’s natural to want to brand your company as completely unique to everyone else out there vying for your same target audience. And, one of the best ways to do this is to utilize the power of different color schemes.

That said, there’s been a lot of research done on the psychology of color and how specific color schemes can encourage people to take action, which is what you want to happen on your website.

In fact, it has been suggested that certain color schemes improve:

  • Readability
  • Site comprehension
  • Learning ability
  • And of course, conversions

Joe Hallock believes this is the breakdown of colors people feel instill the most “trust” in them:

color schemes and trust

When making your calls to action buttons stand out on your website, remember to use only one color so as to not confuse site visitors, keep the color scheme (whatever you choose to use) consistent, and maintain plenty of whitespace so you don’t overwhelm people’s senses and cause them to abandon your website.

4. Grab People’s Attention

Just because someone has landed on your website with a little bit of interest in what you have to offer doesn’t mean they are fully engaged. It’s your job to continue to impress people once they get to your site and convince them that you have what they need.

To do this, consider the following best practices:

  • Use eye-catching imagery that represents your brand, products, or services (keep images big and bold)
  • Make all calls to action buttons large and clear, with copy telling people exactly what to do
  • Incorporate multimedia including text, animation, video content, and audio
  • Use hover effects so people can tell the difference between plain text and links
  • Use power words to trigger excitement, a sense of urgency, and interest

Lastly, use exit popups, such as the ones you can create using OptinMonster to re-engage those who have lost interest and are about to leave you site.

For instance, The Accelerator does a good job of trying to get people to subscribe as they exit their website:

the accelerator - exit popup

After all, these give site visitors one last chance to convert, even if they were on the way out.

Another great tool for gaining more conversions is the Hello Bar. It’s free to use, doesn’t take up a lot of retail space, and gives people ample chance to sign up if they want to.

hello bar

Final Thoughts

And there you have it! 4 of the best web design tips that will help drive traffic, boost conversions, and net you more sales than ever before.

Remember, SEO, lead magnets, email marketing campaigns, social media, and killer content are all essential to scaling your business and becoming successful. But if people come to your website and don’t like what they see, your chances of reaching your full potential will fall short – every single time.

And when you realize you’re starting to get more conversions than you know what to do with, make sure to check out FeedOtter so you can automate RSS-based emails and create beautiful email newsletters with ease to accommodate your growing audience.

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How to Create a Killer Company Newsletter

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The dreaded newsletter — It’s something that every company strives to send but also wonders if it’s worthwhile.

Most of the time your newsletter list consists of current customers or maybe even leads that weren’t ready to buy. A company newsletter is a great way to maintain brand awareness with your customers. Newsletters can also be a great asset to stay in front of those leads who are not ready to convert. It’s a subtle way to stay top-of-mind while keeping your company brand relevant. When putting together a newsletter, there are two major items to consider. 1) The design and 2) the content.

01. THE DESIGN

The biggest mistake companies can make with their newsletters is the design. While graphics and pops of color can look appealing, they should definitely be kept to a minimum. Here’s why:

  • Too many images increase the likelihood of your email ending up in spam/junk
  • Excessive code in emails can break how they render in different email inboxes
  • Heavy design elements like color, graphics, and custom fonts may not display properly on mobile

Newsletter templates should have a simple yet aesthetic design. It should easily allow readers to move their eyes throughout the content. One great way to accomplish this is by using different content sections or blocks, which can also help organize your newsletter.

                    newsletter1

These email templates are provided by BEE Free and are available for free on their website. Read our blog The Top 3 Free Email Builders to learn how to import this newsletter template into your email marketing platform.

02. THE CONTENT

The type of content within your newsletter will depend on your audience and company brand/voice. If your company voice can be fun and playful, a newsletter is a perfect place to portray it. For example, if your company is a financial institution and your newsletter audience includes clients, it may not be the greatest idea to use a playful voice. Your audience is expecting professionalism and valuable resources in your newsletter.

Contingent on your audience, the following types of content are great for peaking interest and may be a great fit for your newsletter:

Promotions

Promotional offers are one of the most common types of content in newsletters. Offering discounts or special promos can help encourage repeat business but can also help bring in new sales. Social sharing buttons or referral programs make it easy for your readers to share with fellow friends while helping you capture new business.

Resources

Resources like blogs, case studies, and ebooks are just a few examples of the valuable content you can offer your audience in newsletters. For B2B industries, it’s likely that customers will be interested in the material they can relate to their own business efforts. For example, a case study on how another company has overcome the struggle of increasing lead conversion may be valuable for others in the same position. By offering these types of resources you are encouraging your customers to build their knowledge base and in turn, customers will associate value with your company.

Spotlights

Whether you’re adding a new team member or introducing a new client, spotlights are unique content pieces to share with your audience. Employee spotlights could consist of industry related tips, fun facts, reviews, and more. Showcasing a new client may involve a brief introduction but also what your company will be doing to help them. If industry appropriate, spotlights are a great place to get fun with your company personality.

Industry/Company Updates

Reviewing the latest and greatest news in your companies industry is extremely important. By sharing industry updates you’re not only educating them, but you’re also showing your readers you keep up with industry trends and you’re ready to compete. It proves your business is continuously learning and making strides to remain relevant. Updates may also include software or application announcements, especially if your business works with the applications or are widely popular within the industry.

Events

Events are a timeless resource that can hold huge value with customers. Types of events can vary and may include: webinars, networking, fundraising, educational workshops, tradeshows, and more. Newsletters can be a great space to announce these types of events as the email list typically includes the mass majority of your database. Many times hosting or attending an event can also help capture new leads.

If you’re already a pro at email newsletters, check out 8 Valuable Content Marketing Tools You Can’t Live Without.

How to Create an Editable Marketo Email Template Using BEE Free

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In my last post I showed you how to create a one-off email for Marketo using the BEE Free site which is always a great, easy option when you’re tired of the Marketo editor. But, what if you want to re-use one of those emails just like the pre-built Marketo email templates? Not a problem! And no, you don’t have to be an expert developer to do so. I’ll show you exactly what you need to do.

Creating an Email Using the BEE Free Site

If you don’t already have an email in your Marketo instance that you want to make editable, then I suggest choosing a template you like from the BEE Free site. The site is very intuitive and easy to navigate but be sure you deselect the “pro” option when sorting through the templates. This will ensure you’re only viewing the free options. Once you choose the template you would like to use simply click “get started”.

An editor will open allowing you to fully customize that template design. Now, because we plan to use this as a Marketo email template you don’t necessarily need to fill it in with real content just yet. However, you will want to edit things like background color, text box and image locations, fonts, etc. in order to get the design exactly how you want it.

BEE Free Editor

When you’re finished editing, simply click the “save” button in the top right-hand corner. This will take you to a new page offering the Pro version of their services. The Pro version offers storage so you can save your template inside the BEE Free site. For our purposes however, we really don’t need that so you can simply click the “I just want to download it” button.

Download Template

Adding the BEE Free Email to Marketo

First, you’ll need to open your computer’s “downloads” folder and locate a folder that’s named “beefree” followed by some random letters and numbers. Open that folder and click on the .html file inside. This will open a webpage. Right-click anywhere on this page (except on an image) and select “view page source”. Highlight and copy ALL of the text on that page. This is the coding behind your new template.

Next, you’ll open your Marketo instance, create a new email in the design studio, click “edit code” in the editor and replace the existing code with the new code you copied earlier. The reason I recommend creating an email here rather than a template is because it is easier to verify the edits we’re about to make to create editable fields. This will make more sense as we move through the next steps. Once you’ve replaced all the existing code with your new code, click “save”.

Making Your New Marketo Email Template Editable

Now that your email is created in Marketo, you’ll need to make it editable. To do so you simply need to add <div class=”mtkEditable” id=”section_name”> tags to each section of code. Editing code may sound scary to some at first, but it’s really not once you have a basic understanding of what html is.

So to start, open your new email in Marketo and get to the edit code page. In the code, your email is broken into sections. Each section is housed within <div> tags as shown below.

Example of Code Sections

Example of Code Sections

 

Also, keep in mind that the code of an email flows in the same order as your design. So if you’ve got a text block in the middle of the template you want to make editable, you’ll find the block of code for it toward the middle as well.

Example of code location

Making an Image Block of a Marketo Email Template Editable

If you want to make an image block editable, look through the code for an <img> tag. This is noticeable by the URL linking to the image and the <img> start tag. I typically use control-F to search for the URL of the image. For example, if I know the image is titled “wine” then I search the page for that term and will be taken directly to that portion of the code. Once you have the correct image located, back up through the code and find the <div> tag that comes directly before the <img> tag.

example of image location in code

You’ll notice that in my example this <div> tag already contains a “class=” designation. Since you can only have one of these designations per <div> tag, you’ll need to remove what’s there and replace it with class=”mktEditbale”. Also, Marketo requires every editable section to have an “id” designation. They use this as the section name in the “content” column on the right-hand side of the email editor. So you’ll need to add id=”header-image” (or whatever title makes sense for your email) directly after your new class designation.

To test to see if you added it in the correct location, click save code to get back to the Marketo editor and if when you hover over that section it highlights it or you see the section in the right-hand column, then you know it is editable and your edits to the code worked!

verify your work

Making Text Blocks in a Marketo Email Template Editable

You’ll need to repeat the step above for every section you want editable. For text blocks, the easiest thing to do is to hit control+F and search for some of the words in the text of your email. In the example below that would be “Lorem Ipsum dolor sit…” That will take you directly to the appropriate section of code. Then you’ll again locate the <div> tag directly before the text and add class=”mktEditable” id=”section_name” like below.

locating text block making text editable verifying in Marketo

Finalizing Your New Marketo Email Template

Once you have all the editable areas in place and your email looks just how you want it (again actual content isn’t necessary just yet), you’re ready to save it as a template in your Marketo instance.

Click edit email to open the email editor for your new email. Once in the editor, click the email actions drop down in the top left corner. Choose “save as template” and set your desired location and name. Then hit save.

save as template in Marketo naming your template

You now have a brand new Marketo email template ready for use. Go to your Marketing Activities and locate a program or campaign you’d like to add an email to. Create a new local asset. Choose email and you’ll new see your newest Marketo email template in the template picker.

Plus, as an added bonus, you can now say you know how to edit HTML code!

5 of the Best WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugins

Starting a WordPress blog is not hard to do; but handling the content you want to post on your site can become overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. After all, you need to find a competitive niche, come up with blog post ideas, craft killer headlines, draft your content and publish consistently, and drive traffic to your site, all while hoping that your content is good enough to for site visitors to stick around and read.

Though many factors affect how successful your content marketing efforts will be, one of the most important ones is the scheduling of your site’s content.

Whether you plan to publish a new blog post once a day, once a week, or even once a month – the key is consistency. But without a strategy for planning your content’s publishing schedule, staying consistent can be challenging.

That’s why we’re here to share with you some of the top WordPress editorial calendar plugins on the market today so you can start planning how often you’re going to post on your website and develop a long-term (and very consistent) schedule.

What is an Editorial Calendar?

When it comes to content marketing, an editorial calendar is a tool used to help you organize the content creation process from start to finish.

Though it can be looked at as simply a calendar for scheduling when your blog posts will go live, a good editorial calendar will have features designed to help you with:

  • Coming up with blog post ideas
  • Assigning tasks – such as topic creation, post drafting, imagery, and editing – to members of your team
  • Accessing blog content for quick edits
  • Scheduling which posts will go live on your site and when
  • Posting your site’s content to other channels such as social media

As you can see, a solid editorial calendar solution will help streamline the content creation process and organize things so you always know the status of every blog post that will be published on your site.

So, now that you know the main goal of an editorial calendar, let’s see what solutions are available.

1. Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar is a simple WordPress plugin that is suitable for those that self-publish or have a small team of writers. See an overview of your blog, when each post is scheduled to go live, and even check out this cool demo to see if this is the right solution for you.

Editorial Calendar Example

Enjoy features such as:

  • Calendar view of all posts and their respective statuses in the WordPress dashboard
  • Easy drag & drop functionality to rearrange posts
  • Draft management with the new Drafts Drawer
  • Quickedit of post titles, content, and times
  • Management of posts belonging to different authors

PRICE: FREE

2. Edit Flow

Edit Flow

Edit Flow is another great editorial calendar plugin that helps you collaborate with your team inside the WordPress dashboard. It is customizable so you can make changes to fit your needs and has everything you need to stay on track with your content marketing plan.

Edit Flow Example

Additional features include:

  • Month-by-month look at content schedule
  • Custom statuses to define your workflow’s stages
  • Threaded editorial comments so your team can communicate
  • Editorial Metadata for tracking important details
  • Automatic notifications when anything changes
  • Upcoming content in traditional story view for easy printing
  • User groups for managing team members and their roles

PRICE: FREE

3. CoSchedule

CoSchedule

CoSchedule is a premium editorial calendar solution that is full of helpful features for agencies, solopreneurs, small businesses, and in-house marketing teams. This all-in-one marketing calendar brings content creation and social media together into one useful platform so you can manage everything blog post related from one place.

CoSchedule Example

Take advantage of features such as:

  • A centralized marketing calendar for viewing the status of all content with drag & drop functionality
  • Social media scheduling to automatically share content across multiple channels
  • Marketing campaign creation for special occasions when your content schedule is going to vary
  • Email marketing management with popular email service provider integrations
  • Detailed analytics to monitor your content marketing strategy

PRICE: $20-$1200/month

4. Oasis Workflow

Oasis Workflow

Oasis Workflow is a WordPress editorial calendar plugin that’s perfect for those who run blogs with multiple authors, website owners in industries such as healthcare, law, and education, and businesses where tracking every stage is mandatory and crucial to its success.

Oasis Workflow Example

With this unique editorial calendar, you get:

  • The ability to assign, review, and publish from one platform
  • A Visual Workflow Designer with drag & drop functionality
  • User role control for accountability
  • Exclusive inbox and easy sign off when a task or project is complete
  • Custom statuses to define each stage of the workflow
  • Access to process history, complete with all comments
  • Due date and email reminders to keep everyone on track

PRICE: FREE (pro version offers features such as multiple workflows, auto-submission, front-end shortcodes, starting at $79)

5. Nelio Content

Nelio Content

Nelio Content is a robust editorial calendar solution that helps you create, schedule, and promote your website’s content on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Nelio Content Example

Other features include:

  • Editorial calendar showing posts, social messages, and tasks in one place
  • Creation of content, scheduling of posts and social media messages, and drag & drop functionality to make changes
  • Automatic sharing on social media platforms of your choosing
  • Analytics for determining your best content and promoting it
  • Content Assistant to help with imagery, content tags, and internal and outbound linking to improve quality

PRICE: FREE (pro version comes with features like priority mail support, editorial tasks and comments, and social templates for $29/month)

Final Thoughts

And there you have it! The top 5 best WordPress editorial calendar plugins to help you get your content marketing strategy on track so you can post to your blog on a consistent basis.

Managing your site’s content doesn’t have to be difficult, so long as you invest a little time into making a plan. This is especially true as your blog following or business continues to scale. The more you have to handle at once, the more crucial an editorial calendar becomes.

Take a look at each of the editorial calendar solutions mentioned above, weigh the features against your individual needs and start planning right away. If you do, you’ll see a significant rise in traffic, subscribers, and even sales.

And to top it off, as you become more successful, and continue to ramp up your email marketing efforts, make sure to check out FeedOtter so you can automate RSS-based emails and create beautiful email newsletters with ease.

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The Top 3 Free Email Builders

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As a content marketer, one of your most valued duties includes creating content and sharing it. However, using different marketing software may present as your biggest challenge. Picture this, you’re up against a tight deadline to launch an e-newsletter containing this month’s featured content, but you’ve run into a snag because your email template just doesn’t translate the way you imaged or worse isn’t rendering correctly.

If you’ve ever found yourself in this scenario, this blog is for you! By the end of this piece, you will know how to use the top free email builders and how to import your new design to use in Pardot.

 

BEE Free

BEE Free is one of the easiest email builders to use. You can drag and drop content onto email templates, including buttons, text blocks, images, and more.  With BEE Free, marketers can design sleek and modern emails with ease. This site also offers a way to export HTML to transfer into email marketing platforms.

To begin building your email template, head over to the BEE Free homepage and “Start Designing”. The site will prompt you to start your own design from scratch or select a template where you can filter through an abundance of free templates, usage types, and different industries.

 

Once you’ve selected a template you’re now ready to customize it! The drag and drop email builder gives you a seamless user experience. Once you’ve got the look you desired you want to “Save” the email template. However, if you’re using the free version, BEE Free will ask if you’d like to sign up for a paid plan or if you’d just like to download your template – you want to choose to download it.

 

After selecting to download the email, a zip file should load where you will find an image (holds all the images to the email template) and .html file. You’ll want to open this file and right-click to reveal the drop-down for “View Page Source”. This will allow you to view the code of the whole page. This is the code we’ll later copy and paste into Pardot.

 

In the Pardot email builder, you’ll want to paste the code from the page source into the HTML tab in Pardot.

 

*Note: You may receive the following alert: HTML message: An unsubscribe tag (%%unsubscribe%% or %%email_preference_center%%) is required somewhere in the body of the email. This can be done by highlighting the text you’d like to link for unsubscribers and selecting the hyperlink icon to choose the unsubscribe tag as the link type.

 

Once the HTML code is added I suggest previewing your email template and making revisions. Please note if you’re adding images to the BEE Free template, you will need to readd them to the Pardot template.

 

TOPOL.io

Similar to BEE Free, Topol.io allows users to design emails with a drag and drop tool and it’s “sooooo easy”. In comparison to BEE Free, Topol.io also provides a number of email templates but not nearly as many. One feature I believe Topol.io does better is the process of exporting the email HTML. Topol.io automatically creates a download of the .html file, rather than a zip file.

 

After selecting your email template to design, you’ll want to “Save & Download”, which will prompt an automatic download of the HTML. From here the same process as stated above should be followed to import the email HTML into Pardot.

Stripo.email

Unlike our first two contenders, Stripo requires users to sign up for a free account and caps off at 4 free downloads each month. However, Stripo.email states the download limits get reset every month. By selecting “Email Templates” in the navigation bar, you’re able to select from numerous email templates and filter by type, industry, and season.

 

“Try Out” your email template once you’ve selected the right fit and begin to make your revisions. When you’re ready to export the HTML, you will save the email template which will then prompt you to create a free user account.

 

When your new account has been registered you will be brought to an overview screen of all your email templates. Select the one you’d like to export the HTML and proceed with selecting the “Export” button > HTML > Download HTML file.

 

Not a Pardot user? Here’s a similar article for Marketo.