8 Reasons Why Pageless Design Can Save You Time and Money and Increase Sales 

Here are the reasons why you should choose pageless design for your website

Among the web design trends that we saw coming in the past couple of years is pageless design. It fully utilizes its digital platform and creates a unique and enjoyable user experience that is intuitive, appealing, and with lots of options.

If you're at the brink of deciding on whether to use pageless design for your website, here are several reasons to do so:

(1) Motivates customers through storytelling

It's been said that storytelling is the best form for delivering one's message. Stories can inspire and motivate people to take action. A pageless format allows you and your design team to control the order of information that's being presented to website visitors. Since pageless web design uses a 'linear format', it helps in crafting the story while also delivering experience that's impossible to achieve using multi-page website structure.

(2) Improves user experience

Intuitive and simple navigation of a pageless design are achieved through scrolling. This eliminates the confusion and distraction that may cause your visitors to overlook the most important sections of your website content.

If you look at today's computers and mobile devices, they all have the scrolling capability which can help many users adapt to the technology. The smarter interfaces and simple navigation encourages visitors to continue perusing these sites, and eventually take action.

(3) Increases conversion rates

Generating new leads, growing your online community, and increasing sales are every website's objectives. A pageless website can help you achieve these goals, thanks to its simple and uncomplicated design that's coupled with compelling story and instinctive interactions among site visitors.

(4) Creates device uniformity

Scrolling your website on a mobile device or desktop doesn't have to be different in terms of user experience. Visitors can easily navigate using any device without the unnecessary constraints of dropdown menus and numerous clicks on page links. Best of all, it's cost-effective since you'll only need one design for both mobile and desktop.

(5) Decreases bounce rate and promotes sharing

The lack of complexity and distractions are just two of the main reasons why website visitors stay for a longer period of time. With a pageless design, your visitors can enjoy and focus on your storytelling.

Sharing your website's story is better than just sharing a particular page. This helps drive your visitors into an effective sales funnel organically.

(6) Enables faster, easier, and more effective iteration

Dealing a single page based on visitors' feedback and analytics makes it easier, faster and effective. You'd only have to tweak specific interactions in order to improve and make them more satisfying to your visitors.

(7) You save time and money

As mentioned earlier, it's more cost-effective to have a pageless website especially if you're developing one that's compatible with all types of devices. Traditional websites take a lot of time and tens of thousands of dollars to develop. You'll not only get a visually appealing website, but also one that actually gives you the best results.

(8) Use of interactive elements

Parallax scrolling, animations, videos and sliders are ideal features that make pageless websites more visually appealing. These features also initiate user-generated interactivity throughout your website.

As a business owner, you'd want a website that goes along with the ever-changing development and design objective. It needs to fulfill the primary goal of providing great user experience in order for visitors stay within the sales funnel, while sharing your site and returning for more.

Need a pageless web design for your own business website? Fast Track can help your business achieve one of today's web design trends. The first step is to contact us today.

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Posted by Sunday, May 24, 2015 10:31:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C landing pages SMB web design web development web trends website

Creating Better Converting Landing Pages 

creating better converting landing pages

When designing landing pages, there are a couple key challenges that you’ll face when optimizing your pages for the highest possible conversions. First, you’ll face various visitors from difference sources, whether through paid, social or email campaigns.  Remember to use the same language used in the campaign.  Visitors see this as “message match”, and this helps to develop trust with the customer and eventually convert them.

People who visit your landing pages need to be persuaded to purchase through the use of targeted messaging.  But with all of the different visitors, campaigns and locations, how can you set up landing pages specific to all of different targets?  They key is to generally define audience ‘types’ and then create landing pages with specific messages to these targets.

The next challenge is to capture the data that you need from the site visitor in the hopes of creating a conversion.  This usually involves having some kind of form on the page.  Asking visitors to fill out a form can be challenging, so the less fields to fill, the better.  Remember that people don’t give their information easily, so designing the page with branded visuals helps in portraying trust and authority for your brand.

Why take time to optimize your landing page?

It expedites the sales process.  Capturing data from your prospects helps you to expedite your sales process.  One you have their information, you can place them in to your sales cycle and eventually turn them into customers.

It will lower your cost per lead.  When your landing pages become more successful, your cost per lead goes down.  It’s important to drive traffic to your landing pages to promote their success.  A lot of time and money goes into creating your campaigns, be sure to make them pay off as much as possible.

What do you need to include on your page?

Here is a short list of items that should be on every landing page:

  • Logo
  • Offer.  The images and text on the page should answer this one question for your visitors:  “What can you do for me”.  This should be the first thing they see when they visit the page.
  • Large, beautiful image.  The image should relate to the text and offer in some way. 
  • Call to action.  Your call to action should be clear and concise.  Be sure to make the steps obvious and easy to do.
  • No Navigation.  If possible, remove any non-essential navigation on the page.  You want page visitors to focus on your offer.
  • Form.  The length and usability of the form is crucial in getting conversions.  Remember that the lower the number of fields in your form, the greater number of leads you’ll receive.

Landing pages should be usable, readable, and persuasive and appear trustworthy. 

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Posted by Thursday, January 15, 2015 11:51:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C content development inbound marketing landing pages marketing tips SMB web trends website

How to Turn Your 404 Not Found Page Into a Lead Generating Machine 

404 Not Found page

A 404 Not Found page is the eye-saw that’s shown to users when your web server can’t find the page that the user is searching for. The default 404 Not Found page is about as much help as a drunken tour guide and effectively tells users that you’re not open for business. Every person that hits a default 404 Not Found page is, without a shadow of a doubt, a lost lead1.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. What if you could take all of those users, and turn them into leads, or better yet, sales? Well, you can and it's actually not that difficult.

Before we delve into the specifics of how to turn your 404 Not Found traffic into leads, let’s take a look at what might cause this dreaded beast to rear its ugly head in the first place.

Why Do 404 Not Found Pages Exist?

404 Not Found pages exist to tell users that the web page they are searching for can’t be found on the server. Users will come across a 404 Not Found page when one of the following happens:

• You've deleted or moved the page in question2  

• You forgot to redirect an old link3

• A user misspells a URL3

• A user follows a broken or dead link

A default 404 Not Found page tells your user that they've hit a dead end. It's a locked door. It's a barrier preventing them from finding what they came there to find. They can scare casual and non-technical users and lead to a higher bounce rate1, which means lost leads.

Most of the time, when an unsuspecting user lands on a 404 Not Found page, it’s your fault as the website owner for not taking care of your site when you redesign it or make changes. So instead of slamming the door in your potential customers face and presenting them with a problem, you should instead try offering them a solution. That's where customized 404 Not Found pages come in.

Capture Leads With a Custom 404 Not Found Page

Through the use of a custom 404 Not Found page, you can provide alternatives that put the user back on the right track. Instead of showing them the problem, you can provide a solution.

What Makes a Good Custom 404 Not Found Page?

Keep it simple, don’t try and be too flashy. It is still a page that’s sole purpose is to let the user know that what they are searching for isn’t there and that they might be able to find it elsewhere. 

Here’s a few examples of some good 404 Not Found pages:

http://www.hardrock.com/error404 

http://www.bluefountainmedia.com/error404 

http://southpark.cc.com/error404 

http://www.tinsanity.net/404.shtml 

http://rbardini.com/p/404/ 

http://www.rollingstones.com/404 

http://www.darkpony.com/404 

http://www.cobalt.com/404 

The Fast Track 404 Not Found page4 is also a great example of a simple, straight to the point page that firstly apologizes for what’s happened (remember, it's mostly our fault) and then offers an alternative route for the user to try and find what they were looking for via the site map. This way, we don't loose the user’s attention and we instead tempt them into our site, rather than waving goodbye

.

There are plenty of techniques that the examples above have used to optimize their 404 Not Found pages and turn locked doors into potential leads.

404 Not Found Page Design Dos and Don'ts

DO:

• Apologize. It's probably your fault one way or another 

Explain what might have happened and how the user can correct it: 'the website you're coming from has an outdated link', 'this page might have been deleted’1, 'check the URL for misspellings’5

  • Provide a solution: include a site map, search facility and/or links to your most popular products or posts5. This will help users get back on track and will act as bait to attract potential leads
  • Use images or video to provide some positive entertainment 
  • Make sure the design and tone of voice is the same as the rest of your site1
  • Use a distinct, minimalist look6 - it’s still a 404 page after all  
  • Have fun - it's OK to have a laugh with it and show some personality as long as you're providing a solution

DON'T

  • Blame the user, it's not their fault7
  • Just link to your home page. The user was looking for something specific, not your generic home page. 
  • Use all the tabs and sidebars on your normal website
  • Redirect users to a ‘related' page8. There’ll be a disjoint in their journey. If I ask for an apple and you give me an orange, it doesn't make a difference if they're both round, you still haven't given me what I asked for. 
  • Provide a contact us option. Chances are, they haven't hit a 404 while they were looking for your contact details
  • Be too clever or crazy9 unless your brand personality allows 
  • Force-feed products and services - I know we're trying to increase leads, and forcing things down people's throats might have been how brands of the 90s did things, but it's not how to sell these days.

Show Respect and You’ll Gain Leads

A custom 404 Not Found page shows your users the respect that they deserve. It allows you to offer an invitation and a get out clause from the blockage that they’ve unwillingly found. It’s a chance to repair the relationship before it breaks down and an opportunity to earn your user’s trust. By following these guidelines, you’ll do just that and give yourself the best opportunity to turn strangers into friends.

 

References

1 http://perishablepress.com/pimp-your-404/

2 https://yoast.com/thoughts-404-not-found/

3 http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2293339/404-Page-Best-Practices

4 http://www.fasttrackteam.com/pagenotfound

5 https://yoast.com/404-error-pages-wordpress/

6 http://alistapart.com/article/perfect404

7 http://www.blogussion.com/design/404-error-page-exist/

8 http://www.rimmkaufman.com/blog/seo-and-404-pages/01022013/

9 http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/5-tips-to-make-your-404-page-more-usable/

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Posted by Wednesday, September 3, 2014 12:58:00 AM Categories: landing pages web design website

Landing Pages Vs Micro Sites: Which Should You Choose? 

Landing Pages Vs Micro Sites

Micro sites and landing pages are often used interchangeably. However, to get the most out of either, you need to understand the benefits and pitfalls of each. 

In our opinion, there are specific instances where micro sites will provide more value than landing pages and, conversely, occasions where the opposite is true.

What Is a Micro Site?

Micro sites are typically temporary websites, often with 2 or more pages1 that are created for specific marketing purposes such as:

  • Promoting specific products
  • Limited edition or anniversary products
  • Sales, deals or offers
  • Lead generations
  • Email subscriptions
  • New product launches
  • Re-releases
  • Brand awareness exercises

So What’s a Landing Page?

Similar to a micro site, a landing page can be used for the same marketing purposes, although landing pages tend to consist of a single page, often with a prominent call-to-action (CTA) or a form of some kind2.

Both landing pages and micro sites can lead to the generation of leads, conversions and sales by engaging users and providing value, but which ones should you use and when?

When to Use a Micro Site

Micro sites are better suited for times where you need to do some convincing. Let’s say, you’re releasing a new product into the market that no one is aware of. You’re likely going to have to convince those that land on your site that this product is right for them. Micro sites are great for this, as you can dedicate a page to each feature, provide tutorials of how to use it, screen shots or images, videos, stories, social recommendations and any other form of content that might persuade the user to make a purchase or enquire.

With micro sites, you have more time with your user and, if you make something that’s engaging enough, you’ll have more attention. You can turn a sceptic into a friend right there and then if you’re respectful, provide genuine value and don’t ask for too much too soon3.

Micro sites are best placed following a relatively subtle CTA, such as a flat banner ad, a Tweet or a ‘find out more’-style prompt. When the user lands on a micro site, they ought to be inquisitive. This gives you the opportunity to engage them by allowing them to prod around and investigate. All the while, you’re priming them to convert, so the more dynamic and personalised, the better4.

When to Use Landing Pages

Landing pages, on the other hand, are best served when you've already convinced someone or if the convincing is done somewhere else. For example: if you see a 'Free Coke, sign up today' label on a Coke bottle, then a landing page could be used to simply finish off the transaction. Or if you’re having a flash sale or you’re discounting an existing product, you can use a landing page following a strong CTA, such as “Get 25% off X when you sign up today”. Here, the user has already been convinced as they:

  • Know the product,
  • Are aware of the offer
  • Have built up some interest in the deal
  • Understand what they need to do to benefit (i.e. sign up)

Again, a landing page can be used here to seal the deal.

Landing pages, then, should be free from distraction, include a strong CTA and be consistent with the preceding interaction. If the user sees “Free Coke, sign up today” in red and white with an parasol and sunglasses on the Coke bottle, then the landing page should use the same design, the same tone and reinforce the same message.

Alternatively, you can use landing pages following content where the user has already spent time engaging. Here, the user has again already been sold to elsewhere, such as a blog post about your product, or a rich media ad where users can interact with your proposal. When they land on your landing page following an engagement elsewhere, they are again in a position where they have an urge to convert. All you need to do with your landing page is help them over the finish line.

Micro Site Pitfalls

Both micro sites and landing page aren’t without their faults. Those most notable for micro sites include:

  • They’re typically more expensive to implement,
  • They take longer to create, as there’s more content,
  • They’re harder to maintain for the same reason,
  • They take longer to analyze,
  • More pages = more room for drop outs,

If you don’t position micro sites correctly, you’ll have trouble, too. For example, if you have a strong, long or informative CTA leading up to the micro site, and the user is ready to convert when they land there, they could be distracted by the content, loose momentum and drop out. So go easy on the convincing in your CTAs, let the micro site do the work.

Landing Page Pitfalls

Alternatively, with landing pages, if you don’t provide sufficient motivation or incentive before the user lands on the page, you’ll have a harder time converting users through a single page. In this instance, the inclusion of additional content such as videos will help increase the conversion rate of landing pages with poor CTAs preceding them.

Landing pages are relatively quick and cheap to create, so plenty of brands don’t put as much thought into landing pages as they should. They can sometimes be an after thought or a rushed job. Be sure to take enough time, do your testing and optimising first and strive for a high single digit conversion rate5.

The Choice Is Yours

Although seemingly similar in theory, micro sites and landing pages are two entirely different beasts in reality. Choosing the right one to use in your given circumstance could be the difference between generating leads and making sales and crying yourself to sleep at night, thinking about the money you’ve wasted.

Don’t make the same mistakes as everyone else and get it right first time.

References

1 http://www.slideshare.net/Regalix/the-success-of-microsite-marketing-strategy

2 http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-a-landing-page-ht

3 http://www.slideshare.net/marketingexperiments/webclinic-microsites-testedv6-25273142
4 http://www.marketingprofs.com/8/improve-lead-capture-conversion-turn-landing-page-into-microsite-parsa.asp

5 http://dannybrown.me/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Landing-Page-Handbook.pdf 

 

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Posted by Wednesday, August 6, 2014 1:40:00 AM Categories: B2B content development inbound marketing landing pages website

15 Tips To Optimize Your Social Media Marketing 

By Steve Hoag

tips to maximize your social media effectiveness

Social media marketing is one of the most important components of internet marketing. If it isn't already part of your marketing, it should be. Here are 20 tips to maximize your social media effectiveness:

1. Post regularly.

2. Post when your customers are most active. E.g. 9 am - 5 pm

3. Ensure you have company accounts on all social media channels that your customers utilize.

4. Always respond to mentions, comments, etc.

5. Thank people for sharing your content!

6. Don't only post your content. 

7. Use Google Alerts and custom list searches to quickly identify articles to share with your network.

8. Google Alerts and custom list searches are also useful for finding leads.

9. Ensure that you have a database to store lead information on.

10. Use social media management tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck to post and manage your accounts.

11. Use free or paid analytics tools to track click throughs. Bit.Ly or HubSpot are great free and paid options.

12. Use landing pages and forms to capture leads when people access your content.

13. Adapt your content and messaging based on your click throughs/engagement.

14. Establish which metrics to monitor on your social media accounts.

15. Keep track of these metrics, and create monthly reports to track progress!

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, April 16, 2014 6:35:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise inbound marketing landing pages SMB social media social media marketing
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