March 10, 2021
Case Study

Website Marketing: 10 tips for effective webpages (with specific examples)


Working on webpages day after day can stifle your creativity. It’s all too easy to follow the same well-worn path over and over and over again.

To help spark a new idea, we asked around for marketers’ top piece of advice for creating a successful web page.

We received 106 ideas and winnowed them down to bring you these 10 tips. 

Read on for tips about keeping customers waiting, image quality, understanding the visitor experience and more. If even just one of these tips helps you develop a new idea for your webpages, hopefully the article was worth the time you took to read it.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Website Marketing: 10 tips for effective webpages (with specific examples)

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

Tip #1: A webpage is a conversation

Some webpages do not communicate a complete thought. So quick and quippy, they don’t even allow the visitor to understand what value they can get from it.

Others are tedious monologues that do not respect the visitor’s time and attention, overly focused on what the company wants to say and callous to what the potential customer needs to hear.

A webpage is a simulacrum of a real, in-person, human interaction. As such, to be successful, it should replicate those interactions on some level.

Learn how to apply this concept to your pages in A Webpage is a Conversation: How to improve the thought-sequence of your value proposition from MarketingExperiments (MarketingSherpa’s sister publication).

Tip #2: The experience of waiting is more important than how long people wait

“Domain.ME [is] the international tech company that operates the domain extension ‘.me.’ When redesigning the .ME homepage, special care was given to how the domain search process works for the client, as that is our bread and butter, and the first thing people see when they come to our website. We have gone through extensive testing and many scrapped redesigns of this process through the years, settling on a redesign that has consistently given us 27% more registrations than the previous one.

For something that requires a data exchange between multiple parties, we have made our domain search process as fast as possible.

First, we have eliminated page reloads and replaced PHP posts with on-page AJAX search experience. This allowed us to minimize the amount of data exchange and keep the user on the same web page during the entire process.

Upon initiating the domain name search, the status indicator [appears below] the search bar. The animation used to make this attractive also cuts off a portion of the wait. We know that a large part of the process is taken by something that cannot be granulated into finer percentages. For example, the indicator would stop at 10%, then jump to 80% after 1.5 seconds if we relied on straight-up data.

Creative Sample #1: Status bar on domain name search

Creative Sample #1: Status bar on domain name search

However, we estimated that wait and interpolate the in-between percents. This way, the user can see the bar moving at all times, thus assuring them that the result is on its way and that the delay is expected.”

– Predrag Lesic, CEO, Domain.ME

Tip #3: Understand how visitors experience your webpage

“This simple little trick increased the conversion rate for our client (a music agency) from 5.01% to 14.87%.

We created a great webpage to showcase their wedding pianists. The page is super useful, rich in content and long (15,000 words). The webpage ranks well and generates a lot of organic traffic.

At first, our client was getting a 5.01% conversion rate. Using heat maps, we discovered that 30% of the visitors were making it at least halfway down the page. This was great, but why were they not making an enquiry?

I asked the client to get their sales team to call some of their recent leads and find out how they were viewing the site. From the calls, we found out that they were visiting the site whilst:

  • waiting to pick up children from school
  • riding the tube (subway) home from work
  • chilling on the sofa whilst their fiancé watched the football

You can imagine how easily someone could become distracted in the above scenarios. That got us thinking...

...perhaps life kept getting in the way of our other site visitors? You can imagine the school bell ringing and attention having to swap from phone to child. Maybe users just didn’t have the time to scroll back up to find the contact form.

To test this theory, we added a “check availability” CTA button at the bottom of the screen. The button appears just after the user scrolls past the contact form.

Creative Sample #2: CTA button on mobile version of wedding music website

Creative Sample #2: CTA button on mobile version of wedding music website

Overnight, our client’s traffic conversions increased from 5.01% to 14.87%. We now include a mobile CTA button on every long webpage we develop for all of our clients.”

– James Hughes, Founder, Digital Marketing 4 Leads

Tip #4: High-quality images are more important than fast-loading images

“An incredibly underutilized part of creating a highly-engaging webpage is improving the quality of your images, especially the featured cover. It sounds obvious, but time and time again, whether it’s a landing page or informational content, I’ve seen marketers waste opportunities from otherwise well-developed webpages by using a featured image that is either not captivating to the end-user, or too low resolution.

Marketers and SEO developers are often told to keep image resolution to an absolute minimum for page speed purposes. However, I think that if you’re serious about optimizing your pages, you need to be testing high-res images. Nearly every time I or my key contacts have done so, we have seen improved results in the metrics for the page in question.

Take a recent example. The featured image currently on the page is of decent artistic quality and high resolution.

Creative Sample #3: Featured image on article page

Creative Sample #3: Featured image on article page

I previously had combinations of this post with a more generic featured image that was less emotionally captivating to the target audience, as well as also trying a lower resolution version of the current image.

Using the generic image resulted in a 76% bounce rate and 2:42 average page duration.

Using the current image at a lower resolution resulted in a 66% bounce rate and 3:27 average page duration.

Using the current image at its present high resolution resulted in a 55% bounce rate and 4:20 average session duration.

No other changes were made on this page during these tests.

Not only has this page seen a dramatic upswing in conversions with its new image, but the improved metrics have resulted in higher SERP (search engine results page) rankings for its target keywords. I have gone on to use this piece/image as the featured article on the What in Tech’s homepage, which has also markedly decreased users bouncing away from the site after clicking to the home. [This] has increased average pages per sessions by 0.11.

Last but not least, I have seen comparable results across many different articles in different niches. Yes, there is a balance to make sure page speed stays low. But many, many pages are currently too skewed towards lower-quality images and make no mistake, potential customers will judge the quality of your site on the first thing they see.”

– Kaelum Ross, Founder, What in Tech

Tip #5: Your headline can make or break the success of your webpage

“Capturing a visitor’s attention and demonstrating what you offer in a way that benefits the reader is vital. You must do it straight away. In our experience, your headline can make or break the success of your webpage. By changing our headline, we reduced our bounce rate 52% – but more importantly we increased conversions 79%. All that changed was our headline.

We went from ‘Improve your tennis. Get feedback from the world’s top players and coaches’ to ‘Record yourself playing tennis and get coaching from the world’s best players.’

I think the second headline worked better because it explained the promise, how it works (makes it sound easy) and the result quickly. The first headline left you wondering how it worked and as a reader you probably assumed it would be hard since you are getting expert coaching.

Working with a copywriter we overcame the objection of ‘how hard is this’ and ‘how does it work’ within the one sentence. Helping to get rid of big questions or objections early almost always increases conversions. Because your headline is so important, I always recommend working with experts.”

– Alan MacLachlan, Founder, Improves

Tip #6: Systematize your understanding of what your potential customers’ get from competitors…

“If a budget allows for it, we will go through the following process to inform us while working on a wireframe for a client:

1) Identify the top-performing websites in our client’s niche

2) Make a spreadsheet that will show the PURPOSE of each ‘section’ on their home pages

3) Use that info to inform us while we are mapping out what should be included on our home page.

Creative Sample #4: Competitive website evaluation spreadsheet

Creative Sample #4: Competitive website evaluation spreadsheet

Every client is unique and may want to be painted in different lights (thought leaders or the cheapest or the friendliest etc...). We in no way intend to use this spreadsheet to copy other brands. We use this to inform us what is working for other successful websites and then compare that to what we are suggesting. This will oftentimes show us gaps in our work or inspire us to consider home page features we may not have thought of otherwise.”

– Rodney Warner, Owner, Connective

Tip #7: …but don’t let competitors dictate your strategy

“I run a safari business. I used to have a webpage where I looked at what my competitors were doing and I set up something very similar. I then thought, let’s use a company like Ahrefs to see which of their pages were getting good traffic and then write about something similar and I will be on my way.

Well, in five years of doing that I can honestly say I never ever was able to compete with any of those high-yielding pages. I just could not keep up.

I then started analyzing my website and found that portfolios and pages that I had put together and put hardly any SEO effort into and that were unique were bringing in 90% of my traffic.

It is very easy to get completely obsessed with SEO and lose track of a fundamental truth for any website – be unique and write about what you are passionate and knowledgeable about.”

– Shaun Taylor, Owner/Manager, Moriti Private Safaris

Tip #8: Make it easy for users to get in touch

“Make it easy for the customer. In the material handling industry, our goal is to gather leads for our sales funnel so that the sales team can do what they do best – design novel solutions for a customer’s problems.

Prior to a relaunch of our website in early December of 2019, all of our company contact information was contained on the contact page. This meant the visitors would hit a landing page and would have no way to submit their information as a lead unless they called us or visited the contact form page.

When we relaunched the site last year, we included a contact form on each page, an active chat with a representative ready, and a banner with our contact phone number and email.  Previously, a visitor only had two ways to get in touch – now our site captures leads through five methods: contact forms, online chat boxes, contact pop-ups, direct phone calls and direct emails.

By making it easy for users to get in touch, we’ve increased the number of leads off our site by well over 100%. Make it easy, keep it simple, your customers (and your bottom line) will thank you for it.”

– Devin Ahern, Marketing Manager, Mid Florida Material Handling

Tip #9: Don’t overlook your page title

“This is an unglamorous ‘blocking and tackling’ tip – pay attention to your page title!

Careless page titles look sloppy. They are a nightmare for SEO and screen-reading accessibility.

I have had pages submitted to me from developers that still had another firm’s name in their title. 

I have had a bunch of senior executives’ biographies all submitted to me with the developer’s name in each page title as he had forgotten to take out his dummy HTML.

I have had entire micro sites created where every page was called  <new page>.

It’s like going to a conference and wearing the wrong name tag.”

– Maureen O'Gorman CSM, former Vice President of Advanced Technology Group, State Street Corporation

Tip #10: Provide extensive value to readers

“In my experience, the most important thing that defines a webpage’s success is the value that it brings to the readers. When site visitors arrive on a page, they are typically looking to solve a problem. Giving the solution to that problem in an engaging and easy to follow way is key to achieving success, no matter if that success is related to conversion rate, visitor count, or measured with other metrics.

Web pages that provide a lot of value are more likely to receive backlinks and perform well in rankings that can be beneficial to SEO – for example, the visitor’s time spent on the page. I often see increased social sharing on these pages as well.

One example is an article on my site that teaches people how to fix their Playstation 4’s HDMI port. This is a widespread problem and there are a lot of people looking how to fix it. By giving extensive information on how to do this, this page pulls in nearly 5,000 additional visitors a month.”

 – Tim Koster, Founder, Clever Creations

Creative Sample #5: Example of extensive level of value on a webpage

Creative Sample #5: Example of extensive level of value on a webpage

Related Resources

Marketing 101: What is a vanity link (or vanity URL)?

Webpage Optimization: Back up your claims or don’t make them at all

A Webpage is a Conversation: How to improve the thought-sequence of your value proposition

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