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Video: Why Are Inbound Websites Important? (2:24)

Learn what makes a website an inbound website and how it relates to the inbound methodology.

Hi there! I’m Angela with HubSpot Academy. Think of your website like your handshake. It’s the first interaction with a visitor and your chance to make a great first impression.

A clear, confident and trustworthy website can be a great way to start off a business relationship, just like a firm handshake.

You may wonder what makes a website an inbound website? What’s the difference? An inbound website places the right content, in front of the right person, at the right time. It allows website users to navigate smoothly to find the information they are seeking.

From attracting visitors to your website, converting visitors into leads, closing leads as customers and delighting your customers into promoters of your brand, your website is an important tool in each stage of the inbound methodology.   

The website tool in HubSpot is capable of providing a personalized, individual experience to a website user with smart content.

Professional and Enterprise levels of HubSpot are able to tailor content on any website page to fit the user. Smart content allows you to create different experiences for a first-time visitor and a returning customer.

To explore all of the smart content possibilities, feel free to try the contextual marketing certification course.

It’s important to note that while your blog and landing pages are accessible from your website, this class will not go into detail about them.

If you want to learn more, there are courses on both blogging and landing pages, so be sure to check those out. We’ll be focusing on your homepage, Contact Us page, About Us page and Products and Services pages in this class.

A website that uses a content management system or CMS makes content creation simple. And HubSpot’s platform is just that. Easy to use.

HubSpot’s Content Optimization System not only allows you to manage your content, but also allows you to optimize it for search engines and website users alike, and easily analyze your website’s performance. Your HubSpot website is fast, secure, and easy to edit with the inline editor.

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Blog Post: 4 Examples of Fantastic Inbound Marketing Web Design

Looking for some inspiration as you build your next website? Here are four examples that exemplify effective web design.

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Video: How Do You Create a Successful Inbound Website? (5:31)

You'll learn about best practices and the elements that make up an inbound website.

In order to create a successful inbound website, there are some recommended best practices, so let’s discuss those now.

First you’ll define your page goal by addressing the following: What is my website is about?  What do I want my website users to experience immediately? Where will they want to go next in my website?

You’re aiming to solve a single goal on each page -- one page, one goal. As soon as you start trying to solve for many different things on one page, things get complicated, cluttered and unclear.

A good place to start is by asking your colleagues and maybe even your customers “What should this page be aiming to achieve?”

After defining goals for your pages, you may want to develop a writing style guide. This rulebook will establish a consistent tone of voice for your reference when creating content.

Your style guide can be as detailed or concise as you'd like. Do a little research to see how to create a writing style guide and you'll find what works best for you.

An easy way to test how well a page’s goal is defined, is by using the Blink Test. Within ten seconds of arriving on your page, a user takes in your content and decides whether or not to keep reading.

If you’ve defined the page goal well, a website user should quickly understand what your business does and what that page is for.

A relevant image will help you pass that Blink Test. According to 3M Corporation, our brains process visual content 60,000x faster than text. So use images to help your visitor understand your page right away.

For more complex concepts, you may choose to add a video. Rather than having a website user read hundreds of words, can you explain the concept in a video instead?

Using video can help you captivate your audience. Attention spans are short. Aim for a video that is 90 seconds or less to maximize engagement.

The next best practice is to guide the user’s navigation around your website. Think through where you want a website user to go after a specific page and keep the buyer’s journey in mind.

The needs of a first-time visitor are different than a customer’s, so you’ll need to have multiple next steps available on each website page. This is accomplished in three different ways.

First, you’ll create a navigation menu to guide the user around your website. There are different approaches you can take to creating a navigation menu. Some companies choose to include all of their pages in a top navigation, others choose to have a more detailed navigation menu in the footer, and some choose to have a different navigation on mobile devices.

Through testing your website, you’ll determine what’s the best approach to navigation for your specific website users.

Second, you can encourage the user to visit specific pages by placing a CTA or call-to-action towards the top of a page. Consider where you’d like a user to go next.

You’ve provided them many options in the navigation menu. The CTA allows you to provide a specific option to help the user learn more about your company. Place the CTA near the top of the page so it grabs the user’s attention.

Third, by using logical URLs and page titles, you’ll help your users navigate from page-to-page. Have you ever clicked around a website and found yourself wondering how you arrived on a specific page?

Be consistent in naming your pages and their URLs. When page titles and URLs follow typical patterns, users will be able to navigate more easily.

Next, you’ll want to provide multiple ways to connect with your company. Including your social media or even a phone number and physical address can be a great way for users to connect.

It’s recommended to place this information in a secondary spot on the page, such as in the header or footer. A user shouldn’t have to work hard to connect with you. Provide different ways for a user to engage with you and they’ll choose their preferred method of contact.

Don’t forget that you’ll create landing pages to collect specific information about your users, which provides yet another way for users to engage with you.

This brings us to our last best practice for all website pages, which is to evaluate the mobile experience. Responsive design is a website necessity.

Data shows that around 50% of web visitors are on mobile devices and tablets. Your inbound website should respond and resize to the user’s screen size.

Fortunately, your website page templates are responsive by default on HubSpot, without any coding required.

However, it’s a great practice to take a look at the mobile experience since half of your visitors may not browse your website from a desktop computer. This is easily done in the preview when you’re creating the page.

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Quiz: Perform a Blink Test on Your Homepage

Put your homepage up to the test -- the blink test, that is!

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Blog Post: How to Make Sure Your Website Passes the Dreaded Blink Test

Review this checklist to see if your website passes the blink test.

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Video: How Do You Create Successful Website Pages? (5:04)

Learn what elements are important to have on your homepage, "Contact Us" page, "About Us" page, and "Products and Pricing" pages.

Your homepage is the first page any user will see, so it must be as clear and direct as possible.

The most important thing for your homepage to have is simple, action-oriented content.  Explain yourself clearly - What are you offering? What are the benefits? What are the key features?

Simplicity here is key – you don’t want to have paragraphs and paragraphs of text. Website users won’t necessarily read it. Remember the Blink Test -  just a few seconds to take it all in.

Let’s perform a blink test on a homepage. You’ll have ten seconds to evaluate the page. During that time, you should be able to understand the nature of the business, some of their products and services and key benefits to you.

Time’s up. Were you able to determine what the business does and some of their key product offerings? Using a blink test on every page is a great simulation of a user’s experience. Be sure that the key messaging is conveyed in just a few seconds.

Hopefully you’ve included ways for website users to connect with you on every page. But it is a common practice to include a “Contact Us” page as many users expect to see one in the navigation menu.

Your “Contact Us” page should anticipate the needs of your users.  So ask yourself – why do your leads contact you? Are they looking for more information? Do they need to schedule a consultation? Once you figure that out, then you can build the most effective page.

You may choose to use a form to allow a visitor to describe what they need from you next. Give them everything that they might need. Perhaps even a map to your location and your business hours.

It’s important to make your contact us page feel personal. People like doing business with people. Make your visitors understand that there are real people at your company who want to help them rather than just asking users to call your company’s main telephone line or write an email to info@yourbusiness.com.   

Your “About Us” page is critical to the success of your website as well. Your users aren’t going to start looking at your products and services until they trust you. They want to understand who you are.

So use the “About Us” page to explain why you’re in business. This is your chance to tell your company’s story. Keep your message to 150 words or less to ensure that users actually read it. If your company has a lengthy history, you may choose to use a video here.

Also, your “About Us” page is a great place to show your organization’s personality. Is your company easy to work with? Meticulous with details? Maybe even has a sense of humor at times?

Follow your writing style guide and keep the page humanized so that your company story resonates with users.

If your buyer persona is new to your industry or products, you may want to limit the jargon. On the other hand, some personas prefer language that is industry-specific.

If you haven’t defined the tone of voice in your style guide, now’s a great time to do so. Your style guide is flexible and should be added to regularly.

Finally, your Products or Services pages will round out your inbound website. Today's buyer is self driven. CEB estimates that nearly 60% of the buyer's journey is complete before they ever talk to a salesperson.

That means your products pages need to satisfy the questions a prospective customer has. Think about how you position your product or service on this page.  

There are two main approaches to positioning your products or services: feature-based or benefit-based.

Feature-based positioning tells you exactly what the product does. And benefit-based positioning focuses on what the product makes possible. The choice is yours in choosing which approach is right for your inbound website.

It’s also recommended to include pricing on that page. Anticipate the needs of your prospective customers and help them in their research.

Any buyer is going to search for price as part of their purchase decision. If there's a pricing conversation going on, don't you want to be a part of it?

Of course, there are a few instances when a pricing page on your website doesn't make sense. If your pricing is customized for each customer, then make that clear here too. Consider giving your users another way to get a sense of your rates before making them take the time to call.

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Blog Post: 12 Critical Elements Every Website Homepage Must Have [Infographic]

Looking for more traffic to your website and hoping to generate more leads? Check out these 12 essential elements every homepage should have.

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Blog Post: 10 About Us Page Examples That Are Probably Better Than Yours

Get inspired by these remarkable 'About Us' page examples from real companies.

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Blog Post: How to Talk About Pricing Without Scaring People Off

When and how to talk about pricing -- a guide for marketers.

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Tool Walk-Through Video: Creating a Website Page in HubSpot (2:08)

This video walks through the details of creating a website page.

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Tool Walk-Through Video: Navigating the Content Editor (2:01)

Take a tour of the content editor.

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Tool Walk-Through Video: Publishing a Website Page (2:12)

See the settings and options for publishing a website page.

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User Guide: How to Set Up Your Site's Navigation Menus

Learn how to set up a navigation menu for your inbound website.

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Tool Walk-through: Analyzing a Website Page in HubSpot (2:14)

See how to analyze the performance of an individual website page.

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Blog Post: 16 Reasons Why People Leave Your Website

Are you getting traffic to your website, but very few of visitors are converting into leads and customers? You might be making one of these mistakes on your website. Here are 16 reasons people leave your site without buying.

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Tool: Website Grader

Website Grader is a free online tool that grades your site against key metrics like performance, mobile readiness, SEO, and security.

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Blog Post: Guide to the Web Analytics Dashboard

See an overview of all the information you can see on a the webs analytics dashboard in HubSpot.

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Blog Post: 10 Tips That Can Drastically Improve Your Website's User Experience

Here are 10 easy ways to improve the user experience of your website without having to redesign your website.