Website design

How to Develop a High-Performing Website

Is it time for a website re-design? A few months ago, it was for me. Being a martech consultant, I knew there are a lot more than good design that goes into a successful new website.

This includes things like speed, security, search engine optimization, lead generation, marketing automation, legal compliance, and much more.

And so when my website www.unemyr.com needed a facelift a few months ago, I turned to Justin Meadows from TunedWP in Australia. We had met at a conference in London a few months earlier, and I got confidence in his skills in website development.

I hence let his company develop my new website. I was very pleased with the result, and decided to interview Justin on his recommendations for a successful web design project.

Here is the interview:

Justin Meadows, CEO & Founder of TunedWP

What is TunedWP’s Background?

I founded TunedWP in 2009 as a solo consultant and quickly built a team around me to leverage my efforts and help more clients. We currently have a team of 15 with a mix of talents and skills and I remain the sole director of the company.

I started this company about 10 years ago as a lifestyle business. With a young family living in a small country town I wanted the flexibility to keep my lifestyle and still grow an international business.

Myself and everyone in my team work remotely from home and enjoy the flexibility to be with our families for those special moments. I am a strong believer in the importance of family, a few people in the team are siblings.

Before I started I had developed skills to promote my own websites online especially in Google using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and realised I could use these skills to help other businesses promote themselves. 

The company has evolved a lot since then. Initially the focus was SEO consulting services, but I quickly realised that the clients often needed to improve their website to maximise the results from my SEO efforts.

Soon I discovered that providing website development and support services was a better business model for me. It was easier for me to grow and leverage a team in the website arm of the business. 

Now the website development and support is the focus of the business and we have recently rebranded and restructured our services to be the best we can be at delivering these services. We have some solid frameworks and structures in place to make sure we deliver effective websites.

What Problem Does TunedWP Solve?

We remove your website issues to allow you to focus on growing your business, and we help your website grow with your business so that it is not holding back your potential.

How Do You Create a Super Fast WordPress Website?

To speed up your website there are a large number of factors, but here are the main items:

  1. Good theme and plugin selection (having too many plugins or a bloated theme can slow down your website.)
  2. Fast hosting, located close to your target audience.
  3. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to serve up copies of your website files closer to the user.
  4. Use a good caching plugin to condense your websites files, helping it load faster. There are a few good plugins, some are better for different types of websites.
  5. Optimise the size of your images. Image data can be condensed so that you still get the same quality of image with a smaller file size
  6. Delay the loading of video scripts by using a video button image and a delayed script, rather than embedding the video directly on the page.
  7. Delay the loading of other scripts and elements further down the page that don’t need to load to show the top of your website.
  8. Implement Google Tag Manager to manage your tracking scripts, such as Analytics and Remarketing.
  9. Tidy up your database from time to time, as you make changes to your website the database gathers unused entries over time. Keeping this clean keeps the site fast.

WordPress Security And Hacker Proofing: What Are The Best Strategies?

  1. Secure hosting selection. Cheap ‘shared hosting’ is less secure because there are hundreds of websites on the same server, often some will have bad security practices and some malware can infect the other websites on the server.
  2. Use secure passwords for everything; long passwords are more secure than ones will different characters. The best password is a long sentence, several words that you can remember. Adding a couple of other characters helps too, but length is most important. Using a password manager such as Lastpass/1password etc is a good practice.
  3. Use a firewall plugin on your website. We use Wordfence, even the free version of this has robust security features.
  4. Put good spam protection in place to block bots from creating accounts on your website. This also reduces clutter and annoyance for you.
  5. Make sure the plugins and theme you are using are well supported and listed in the WordPress repository. This is a good indication that any security vulnerabilities will be patched quickly. As a general rule, avoid marketplace themes and plugins. Often the support for these can be unreliable.
  6. Keep your Theme, WordPress and Plugins all up to date. Monthly updates are what we recommend but when security patches are released, these should be installed immediately. We monitor the feeds of many security and plugin developers so that we get announcements early of any vulnerabilities found and we can quickly patch them on our clients websites.

How Do You Optimize a Website For Lead Generation?

  1. For lead generation, first you need to be clear on the CORE problem that you solve and the main person that you solve it for. Then you can create a lead magnet offer that starts them on the journey of solving that problem.
  2. It is best if this lead magnet offer is something of high perceived value to the client and you should write a strong CTA for this offer with a clear button that stands out to grab attention and encourage action.
  3. Make sure the offer is relevant to the problem and the page they are on, for example if it is placed an article on your blog, it is best if the offer is relevant to the content of that article.
  4. Having an image of what you are offering helps to increase its perceived value and generate more interest and curiosity. For example a PDF can be shown as a 3D brochure image, or a screenshot can be used for a mindmap or spreadsheet. Still images of a video generate interest as well.
  5. If you have space, explain the benefits of what you have to offer, how if will improve the clients lives.
  6. Don’t have too many distractions or competing offers on the page, overwhelm can cause paralysis and clients will not take action. Be careful to guide people logically to the next step.
  7. Try to segment your audience so that you are making the right offer to the right people by offering relevant lead magnets on your different service pages or ad landing pages. Perhaps use a ‘chooser’ or ‘wizard’ to help people select which of your solutions is right for them.
  8. Install tracking such as Google Analytics, Hotjar to get more information about how people interact with your website and get clues on how to improve your offers.
  9. Use Remarketing and Retargeting codes on certain pages and add tags to your CRM from the lead magnets to only give relevant offers to prospects.
  10. Make good use of your Thank you pages to encourage further action and segmentation

Do You See Marketing Automation Becoming More Essential?

Yes, making the most of marketing automation gives you the power to have a 24/7 salesperson working for your business and you don’t have to pay them a Salary!

Also with marketing automation, you can be hyper-relevant to the people you are communicating with. And that allows you to stand out and cut through the noise of distractions bombarding everyone on a daily basis.

How Do You Make a WordPress Site GDPR compliant?

I think the most important thing with GDPR compliance is to stay true to the spirit of the law; you shouldn’t try to deceive users, you should be as transparent as possible with everything you offer and how you will communicate with them and how you use their data.

  1. If you are using cookies, you should get consent from users, there are a few plugin options for this, Cookiepro is a good one and use Google Tag Manager (GTM) to deliver the cookies.
  2. Avoid using the word ‘Free’ with your lead magnets, and avoid a ‘Bait and switch’ where you offer one thing and clients realise later that they have signed up for something else.
  3. Use correct legal terminology, and make it clear in your offer that you will email them if that is what you intend on doing.
  4. Get a lawyer to advise you one the wording of your privacy policy, terms and conditions and legal pages on your website.

SEO: How Do You Optimize a New Site For Search Engines?

  1. Firstly, you should get clear on how your market will search for the things you offer or the problems you solve.
  2. Incorporate this same language into the pages of your website, and have a dedicated page for each problem, question or solution. Using a blog allows you to cover a lot of sub-topics.
  3. Make sure each page on your website has a mix of media (text, lists, images, videos, PDF, audio etc) all relevant and labeled correctly. Keep your text easy to read and chunked into small paragraphs. Each page should be focussed on 1 core topic.
  4. You want to make your content highly valuable to users and if possible, something that is good enough to share.
  5. Encourage sharing with share widgets and share your own content to social media websites.
  6. Use an SEO plugin such as YoastSEO or SEOPress to optimise the pages, you should write a ‘magazine headline’ style of SEO Title for you pages, hitting the key topic and generating interest.
  7. Writing a description that explains the page further and encourages uses to click and find out more.
  8. Keep your website fast, Google rewards fast loading and informative pages, they want users to get to the answer or solution they are looking for as fast as possible.
  9. Keep your website updated with fresh content on a regular basis.
  10. Look for opportunities to add value to other websites and have them link to your website as a reference.
  11. Don’t over-do any 1 keyword, Google will penalise ‘keyword stuffing’ and don’t try to trick or game the search engines, they are very smart at noticing it. Be natural and helpful to your audience.

In Your Mind, What is the Future of Digital Marketing and Marketing Technology?

It is hard to know exactly where technology will lead us, but I see AI and automation being more widespread and smarter so it is important to learn and pay attention to it. But I think one thing will stay the same – people want to deal with people. Don’t forget to add some personality to your marketing, be real and approachable.

I love this quote:

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.” – Bob Burg

Offer genuine solutions to people’s problems, make sure you are improving their lives. Then use the new technologies to leverage and amplify your ability to do this.

Do You Have Any Other Thoughts on Website Development and Marketing Technology? 

There are so many tools and so many moving parts to successful online marketing. It is impossible to be really excellent at all of them.

I see most full-service marketing agencies struggle to try and cover all the bases. And business owners will need to hire a full in-house marketing team to do it all successfully themselves.

The industry has evolved to a point where your best and most cost-effective option is to hire specialist service providers to work on the individual markets of your marketing. Specialist will know their field far better than generalists and can make the small changes that deliver big results.

I hope Justin’s recommendations can be useful in your next web design project. Should you be interested in marketing automation, read more here.