11 steps to create an effective business website

Regardless of the type of small business you have, an effective and engaging website is critical to your brand’s success.

With almost 2 billion websites on the internet and U.S. users visiting more than 130 web pages per day, you have stiff competition to not only attract users to your website but convert them into customers as well.

Whether you’re building a new website from scratch or want to improve your existing site, the following are 11 steps to consider.

Lock in a good domain name

“Good” is subjective, but your domain name (otherwise referred to as your website address) can greatly impact the success of your site. It’s often the entry point to your site, so you want to have a domain that’s easy to use and remember, as well as benefits your search engine optimization (SEO).

In general, this means that you want it to:

  • Be easy to spell
  • Use the proper domain extension, such as .com rather than .net unless it’s more appropriate to use .gove, .edu or .org
  • Be as short as possible
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens
  • Be unique (so that you’re not too similar to another website’s domain or breaching any registered trademarks) and memorable

Dive deeper with our Domain Name 101 guide for beginners.

Purchase proper website hosting

Simply put, a website hosting provider (or website host) offers the technology and services necessary for a site to be viewed on the internet. Ultimately, your domain name gets connected to your hosting provider so that when users visit your website address, they see (and can interact with) your website, which is stored on your hosting account.

Website hosting services vary in cost from about $2 to more than $100 per month, depending on what you’re looking for.

Essentially, there are three server types to consider:

  • Shared server, which can cost the least but can be problematic because you’re sharing a server and its resources with other customers. This can impact the performance of your site. Plus, if another website that’s sharing your server gets hacked, you risk getting hacked as well.
  • Dedicated server, which can be the most expensive but offers the best possible website performance. It’s when the physical server machine is entirely dedicated to your site, so all the resources are yours, which offers more security as well.
  • Virtual private server (VPS), which is somewhat of a compromise between shared and dedicated servers. A VPS is one machine that is partitioned to act as multiple machines, which makes it more affordable (like shared hosting) but with better security and performance potential (like dedicated hosting).

In addition, you’ll likely want phone and/or chat support available from your website hosting provider in case you experience an issue, as well as an easy-to-use server interface. This allows you to more easily view and make changes to your server contents without having to hire a professional server administrator.

Some popular website hosting providers include (but are not limited to):

Clearly describe your business in a prominent place

No matter how dynamic your vision is for your website, don’t forget the basics. Who are you? What is your business about? How do you help customers?

A business description must be prominently displayed on your website so that it’s the first thing visitors see. All imagery should be visual representations of your brand and services or products. While the text needs to be as concise as possible, visuals can really help convey exactly what your business is about.

In addition, ensure that “About Us” web page links are displayed in both your main and footer navigation menus. This makes more in-depth information about your business easily accessible for visitors who want to learn more.

Select your content management system

To put it simply, your content management system (CMS) is a software program or application that you use to create and manage your digital content within your website. A popular CMS that you’ve likely heard of is WordPress. But others include Wix, Squarespace and more.

A good CMS will help you maintain your website without requiring you to have a lot of technical knowledge. Of course, different systems are used for different reasons, such as available features and your budget.

Thoroughly review available CMS platforms that you find interesting. Will you get all the features you need for a price you can afford?

Pick an e-commerce platform (if you’re selling online)

Not all small businesses sell products or services online, but if you do, you need the right technology to do so. An e-commerce platform allows users to financially transact with you online.

Some popular options include (but are not limited to):

Design your website for engagement, efficiency

Designing your website can feel overwhelming at first, but it’s helpful to do your research first. Identify sites that you like. What aspects of their design can you incorporate into your own website? How do your competitors’ sites look?

Once you have a sense of the design features and functionality you want, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Use compelling visuals and easy-to-read, large-enough fonts
  • Avoid any clutter
  • Compress your graphics for faster website loading
  • Keep your target audience (and what they’ll use your website for) in mind throughout the designing process
  • Maintain your branding throughout the website
  • Keep your menu navigation system simple and intuitive
  • Make it easy for visitors to understand what your business is, how to contact you and where to find you

Optimize for SEO

Once you have designed your website, you’ll want to consider your website’s SEO, which is a set of practices that ensures search engines both index and rank your website appropriately so that it appears when users search for terms (i.e. keywords) related to your business.

The better your website design and content is, the higher your website will appear in search engine result pages.

SEO is an ongoing process. It’s never a one-and-done or set-it-and-forget-it approach, not if you want to be successful. 

Check out our 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners, as well as seven tips to improve your website’s domain authority.

Install key webmaster tools

Being able to monitor the performance of your website is critical to your success. You can analyze traffic data by installing Google Analytics. We also recommend Google Search Console.

These tools can help you understand:

  • How many users visit your website in any given period of time
  • The bounce rate of your website, which is the percentage of users who arrive at your website but leave after viewing only one page
  • How many views the pages of your website receive
  • How long users spend on your website
  • If there are any broken links on your website
  • How long it takes your web pages to load
  • Any keywords that are leading search engine users to your website

See our nine tips to get the most out of Google Analytics. Plus, find out how to check your Google Search rank for free.

Optimize for mobile responsiveness

More than one-third of all American consumers shop online via a mobile device. In addition, Americans spend about 3 hours and 15 minutes per day on their smartphones. These numbers will only continue to grow. 

You must optimize your website to deliver a great user experience on mobile devices. If your web pages take too long to load or if the mobile version of your site is clunky, cluttered or confusing, you will immediately lose your  visitors.

Check out our 16 tips to make your website as mobile-friendly as possible.

Create (and publish) quality content consistently

Content is king, as they say. And the days of a static website with little to no content publishing being enough are long over.

Consistently publishing content that resonates with your target audience matters to search engines. This can be done through a blog section of your website, for example.

Content can include customer testimonials, how-to articles and more.

Check out our seven tips to level up your content marketing on your website and beyond, as well as our 19 tips to drive traffic to your new blog.

Create a maintenance plan for your website

Once you create your small business website, your work isn’t over yet. Not only do you want to regularly publish new content, but you also want to ensure that everything is in working order and that all technology being used is up to date.

Proper website maintenance is important. This can include checking your webmaster tools data consistently, confirming that your software is always up to date, running security scans to confirm there is no malware or hacking and backing up your website regularly.

In conclusion

Your small business website should be a dynamic representation of your business that engages visitors and easily enables them to find key information about your business or even purchase from you.

Remember that throughout any website creation or updating process, you’ll want to collect feedback from colleagues and customers so that you can tweak anything necessary to improve the user experience. When in doubt, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and look at your website with a fresh set of eyes. What can be improved? What can be made more clear?

As you’re creating or optimizing your website, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

4 ways to sell advertising on your website

Selling advertising space on your website can create an additional revenue stream from your online presence.

U.S. companies are spending about $79.75 billion on programmatic digital display ads, which is about 86.5 percent of the total digital ad spending. And the average person sees about 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day.

Of course, how much money you can make varies widely depending on multiple factors.

But how do you begin selling advertising (otherwise known as “ad zones” or “ad inventory”) on your brand’s website? First, we’ll share six recommendations to boost the quality of your website so that you can sell ads but also so that you can make the most money possible from doing so. Then, we’ll walk through four ways that you can sell advertising on your website.

6 website recommendations for selling advertising

Overall traffic

Clearly, the amount of website traffic you generate directly impacts your ability to sell advertising.

Some ad networks and affiliate programs do have minimum traffic requirements. Others will basically only earn you pennies a day without decent and consistent web traffic. When applying to Google AdSense, for example, the earnings estimate calculator begins at about 50,000 page views per month.

Traffic matters because the higher the traffic, the more potential ad impressions you can deliver to advertisers on your website. Impressions are the number of times each ad is delivered and viewed by a website visitor.

Check out our eight tips for driving more organic traffic to your website.

Audience loyalty

While high website traffic is great, loyal website traffic can be even better. Think engagement, which is a valuable asset for advertisers who could be willing to pay more to get their message in front of a returning group of engaged, loyal website visitors more than once.

Of course, you’ll need to use your website performance data and more to prove this level of engagement to advertisers, including:

  • Any website content comments
  • Email click rates
  • Email response rates

Quality content

Great content isn’t just a recommendation for selling advertising on your website, it’s truly needed for any amount of success in content marketing and larger digital marketing efforts.

In other words, your content matters.

Aim for original content that addresses the needs, wants and challenges of your target audience. Specifically, consider the topics and angles that can help your website stand out from others.

Once you decide on your content niche, see our eight tips for creating an effective content calendar to help you stay organized.

Doing this not only helps make your website more valuable for visitors, but it also can specifically help advertisers understand the type of visitors your website is getting.

For example, a DIY auto-service blog could appeal to various automotive advertisers.

Functional website layout and design

Of course, a well-designed website benefits visitors, but it also benefits advertisers.

Simple navigation helps users explore your content easily. 

For example, you can include “related content” sections to increase clickthrough rates and time-on-site rates. Clearly, the longer a visitor is on your website and the more web pages he or she views will lead to more ad impressions.

For the ad placement itself, aim to be as undisruptive as possible while also maintaining visibility. You want ads on your website to be noticed, but you don’t want them to interfere with the user experience (especially if it causes frustration and causes visitors to leave your website entirely).

Pay attention to your website loading speed as well. Get advice on this and more mobile optimization since a mobile-friendly website will set you up for overall success.

Website transparency

Would you do business with someone without knowing a thing about him or her? Probably not.

Advertisers are the same way. They want to know about who they’re buying ad space from.

Be sure to include a variety of information on your website to be as transparent as possible:

  • Who owns the website
  • Where the website is hosted
  • History of the website
  • Core values of the website
  • Any relevant website traffic metrics that make sense to share (which can be shared in advertiser communications privately as well if needed)

A great way to cover all of this and more in the name of transparency is to create a media kit. In the simplest sense, a media kit is a package of information, assembled by a company, to provide basic information about itself.

Obtain an ad server

Ad servers automatically make and manage decisions about which ads to show on your website, depending on the known details about a website visitor.

This technology also collects data (such as impressions and clicks) that can then be used to report on the ad performance. Plus, they store and manage the actual “ad creatives” files themselves.

Often, you can install an ad server by simply copying and pasting a simple piece of coding into the backend of your website.

4 ways to sell advertising

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising is essentially a technological ecosystem that automatically manages the process of buying and selling ad space. This helps save time by eliminating the need for manual negotiations.

You will want to connect to an SSP (which is also known as a “Supply-Side Platform” or “Sell-Side Platform”), which is your gateway to programmatic advertising.

Connecting to an SSP also enables access to:

  • Real-time bidding
  • Header bidding
  • PMP (also known as “Private Marketplace”), which allows only invited advertisers to bid
  • Programmatic Direct, which bypasses auctions to sell ad space at a fixed price

Learn more about programmatic advertising and how it differs from native advertising.

Ad networks

Ad networks are actually part of the programmatic advertising ecosystem, but you can interact directly with ad networks outside of that.

Simply put, an ad network connects you with advertisers and indexes a wide range of available ad inventory into easily searchable lists.

It can be considered a simplified way of ad purchasing through a conveniently managed platform, which can be appealing for beginners. For example, if you only want to sell ad space exclusively through a particular ad network, all you have to do is use an ad server owned by that ad network.

On the flip side, of course, you are limited to the formats and options within that ad network. Keep in mind that ad networks take a cut of your ad revenue in exchange for their convenience.

Affiliate marketing

For beginners, affiliate marketing is by far the simplest and likely most appealing method of selling advertising on your website. 

Affiliate marketing is specifically the process where an affiliate (you and/or your small business) earns a commission for marketing another’s products.

Can you believe that more than 80 percent of brands have affiliate programs? In other words, there are a lot of opportunities out there, and affiliate marketing is especially low risk. Either you’re successful and generate a commission or you’re not. There is no upfront cost (outside of your time and effort spent marketing the affiliate offer). As long as you find the right fit for your own brand and audience, there is a real potential for achieving additional revenue.

For the most part, all you need is a link from an affiliate program to start, and you typically can start for free.

Of course, this is a performance-based marketing method that can pay you based on:

  • PPS, paying per sale (the most popular)
  • CPA, a cost per action
  • CPC, a cost per click
  • CPM, which means “cost per mile” but refers to a cost per so many impressions delivered

Affiliate programs can pay between 30 percent and 50 percent commission rates on sales, but you’ll want to do your research to find the best fit and compensation for your website.

Selling advertising directly

While selling ad space directly to advertisers can be complicated, it can also be lucrative. By avoiding the middleman, you can avoid fees, negotiate your own prices and create custom contracts with advertisers.

Remember that there is a number of factors you have to manage when selling advertising directly:

  • Finding and researching potential advertisers
  • Contacting potential advertisers
  • Negotiating your contract terms and pricing
  • Setting up the ad campaign based on the agreed contract
  • Uploading and managing ad creatives manually
  • Delivering performance reports to advertisers

You can set up a self-serve ad portal on your website to help with at least some of this workload, but ask yourself whether you have the time and resources to handle direct selling. Some businesses do, but others do not.

In conclusion

As you’re reviewing the advertising options for your website, remember that there’s nothing wrong with starting small (and simple) and building from there.

The effort will be well worthwhile as you grow advertising revenue over time for your business.

As you’re exploring advertising on your website, consider leveling up your digital marketing process with DailyStory, which offers automation, audience segmentation and more for all your marketing needs. Schedule a free demo with us today.

8 tips to increase organic traffic to your website

While digital advertising likely has a recurring portion of your budget, not all website traffic has to be paid for.

It is possible to increase your web traffic organically.

Keep in mind that 51 percent of website traffic is organic, while internet browsers opt to use organic search results (versus paid results) about 94 percent of the time.

There is power in optimizing for an increase in your organic traffic, as well as a payoff when prioritized regularly.

The following are eight tips to help you boost the organic traffic to your website.

Think about humans over search engines

It’s easy to dive head-first into all things search engine optimization (SEO), but don’t forget who you’re trying to reach and engage with. Humans.

Yes, search engines determine your ranking, but search engines are paying more attention to user behavior and activity on your website than you might realize, such as time spent on pages and the pages visited.

For example, if visitors are spending a lot of time on your website and browsing several pages, that’s a positive signal to search engines.

When you forget about humans in the design and content of your website, you risk a high bounce rate, shorter amounts of time spent on your site and/or few pages visited within a session (if the visitor hasn’t already bounced).

That all leads to lower rankings on search engine result pages.

Create a blog

You might have noticed more blogs on business websites lately. This is because content serves as the gravity to pull more visitors into your website (like a planet).

In addition to increasing organic traffic over time, a consistent blog can help boost your website’s authority on the topics that are important to your audience and within your industry.

Always think about a question or pain point that your audience might have and use that to decide topics for your blog posts. Doing so helps keep your content relevant and effective.

It’s important that once you begin to publish a blog, you’ll want to keep posting consistently. Determine a schedule in advance that works for your time and available resources.

Check out our seven tips to help level up your content marketing specifically.

Refresh and update old content

The older your blog gets, the more opportunities you’ll have to refresh out-of-date content.

It’s important to set a schedule to regularly review older content for updating. Consider:

  • Any dates
  • Statistics used
  • Other outdated information
  • The structure of your page (considering user intent)

Beyond the updating, you can consider repurposing existing content as well to increase your website’s relevancy and draw. Check out our 13 tips for repurposing content like a rockstar.

Keywords still matter

In terms of SEO, keywords might feel played out at this point, but they still matter.

Consider your target audience. When they’re searching in a search engine, what would you want to appear for? Stick with the most relevant keywords, and remember to always think of the user experience on your website. Don’t overstuff keywords on your pages.

Take a look at these 11 free SEO keyword search tools, which can help.

Optimize for the featured snippet

A newer feature, especially on Google, is the featured snippet. This is the breakout box that appear at the top of your search results to provide you with direct answers to your search query.

Appearing in that can’t-miss spot at the top of the search results will generate more organic traffic.

How can your website get selected for the featured snippet? Some suggested best practices include (but are not limited to):

  • Using lists to answer a particular search query directly, whether it’s bulleted or numbered.
  • Offering short, to-the-point answers. 
  • Including your core keyword in your content.

In other words, it’s about having clear, direct information that answers specific questions. Think skimmable content.

Don’t forget about your title tag and meta description

Think about the results you see when you enter a query into any search engine. What do you do with the results?

Commonly, internet users skim the headlines and descriptions of each result until they find what they think satisfies their search the best.

Therefore, it’s not hard to underscore the importance of title tags (search result headlines) and meta descriptions (the paragraph below each headline).

This pair can make or break the organic traffic to your website. You should think of them as the “advertisement” to browsing internet users, trying to convince them to go to your website instead of all others.

For the title tag, try to keep it at 60 characters or less, with the core keyword up front and an engaging angle as much as possible.

For the meta description, strive for 160 characters or less, with both your core keyword and a reason why users should click on your website. This is an opportunity to offer insight into the value of your search result.

Dive deeper into the difference between on-page and off-page SEO.

Quality backlinks are worthwhile

Backlinks are links to your website from other websites. Quality backlinks boost your site’s authority from the perspective of both search engines and internet users.

They can boost organic traffic by:

  • Sending website visitors from other sites to your website directly.
  • Increasing your SEO and thus your search ranking on results pages.

Check out these seven tips to grow quality backlinks to your website.

Embrace social media

Successful websites don’t rely solely on just a blog and SEO to maintain strong organic traffic. Think multi-faceted content marketing and multi-platform.

Enter social media.

Depending on who your target audience is and what your goals are, your business might be on a limited number of social media platforms.

That’s fine. It’s definitely best to do one or two things well than to overextend and not do anything particularly well.

Resist the temptation to cross-post the exact same content across platforms without at least some tweaking to each post to better reflect the platform it will appear on (to better engage the intended audience on that platform). In fact, if you can curate unique posts per platform, even better.

What works well on Twitter wouldn’t necessarily work on Instagram, and so on. Be mindful of what you’re sharing and how you’re sharing it on each platform.

But ultimately, success on social media is like extending the gravitational pull of your content beyond what your SEO is doing for you.

Dive deeper into the seven ways your social media can influence your SEO.

As you’re working to increase your organic traffic, be sure to review the 13 most common SEO mistakes you could be making right now. The last thing you want is anything to be working against your website.

Looking to level up your digital marketing process? Consider DailyStory, which offers automation, audience segmentation and more to help your business be more efficient and successful. Schedule a free demo with us today.

What is the difference between exit rate and bounce rate?

When it comes to exit rates and bounce rates, it’s very easy to get confused.

However, they do have subtle differences that make both valuable metrics to use and better understand what’s happening on your website.

What’s the difference?

As far as definitions, exit rate is the percentage of exits on a page, while bounce rate is the percentage of single-engagement sessions on your website.

In other words, the exit rate reflects the number of people who exit your website after landing on a page and compares it to the total number of views the page generated.

On the flip side, the bounce rate is calculated from the number of “bounces” compared with the total number of pageviews on a page. “Bounces” happen when a visitor arrives on a page of your website and then exits without visiting another page on the website or interacting with any of the elements on that page.

A visitor can bounce in several ways, including (but not limited to):

  • Clicking the “back” button, navigating back to a previously visited website
  • Closing the browser window entirely
  • Typing another URL into the address bar of the browser

Exit rates and bounce rates still sound pretty similar? Here’s a key difference: The exit rate is tied to the visits that were the last in the session, while the bounce rate is tied to the visits that were the only one of the session.

So, exit rates are calculated regardless of what a visitor did previously on your website, whereas you can consider bounce rates more of a “one and done.” 

Simply put, all bounces are exits, but not all exits are bounces.

To dig deeper, check out Google’s definitions.

Which rate is more important?

Technically both.

But just as with every other type of metric, the context matters.

For instance, you might expect a high bounce rate on the contact information page of your website. It’s not a bad thing for someone to arrive on a page like that and then call or email you. (In other words, the preferred continued interaction with you is no longer measurable through your website.)

Of course, in general, a high average bounce rate on your website could signal visitor dissatisfaction (a possible reflection of your content, loading speed, website design and so on). A high exit rate, on the other hand, would generally reflect problems in your conversion funnel.

Consider an ecommerce website, for example. The visitor may arrive on the homepage, then navigate to a category of your products, ultimately clicking on a particular product and perhaps even adding it to the shopping cart. But, in the end, exits the website without making the purchase.

Therefore, while a visitor was originally interested in making a purchase from you, something happened along the way. Of course, what that might be could include (but is not limited to):

  • The price of the product
  • Your shipping options
  • The design of your shopping cart page itself

So, if one rate was going to be more important to you, it likely comes down to what your goals are. Plus, if one rate is significantly higher than the other, that should be a red flag for your attention.

How to reduce your exit and bounce rates

The following could be aspects of your website that could be addressed to help reduce your exit rate:

  • Poor website and/or page design that can confuse your visitors
  • Distracting content (such as music, obnoxious pop-ups and so on) can turn off your visitors
  • Slow loading speeds can especially cause mobile visitors to give up and leave after about 3 seconds
  • Difficult navigation can lose your visitors who have a reason for being on your website but can’t find what they’re looking for

Consider the user experience in every aspect of your website. You need to give them a reason to purchase and convert into a customer (usually the ultimate goal for most). However, you also want to give visitors a reason to stay on your website longer.

Remember that there is always room for improvement on every page of your website.

Dive deeper with our 18 exit-intent tips to convert website visitors before you lose them.

You also might want to consider these eight tips to drive more organic traffic to your website.

While you’re examining your bounce and exit rates, don’t miss out on the opportunity to level up your digital marketing process. Consider DailyStory, with such features as automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

12 strategies to capture more email leads without annoying everyone

The last thing any smart business wants to do is accidentally annoy or “chase off” website visitors in the pursuit of capturing email leads.

Why capture email addresses?

About 80 percent of business professionals say that email marketing increases customer retention, according to HubSpot. That and 59 percent of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions, according to SaleCycle.

The good news is that there are many ways to capture email leads without annoying people on your website, 12 to be exact. And you can pick any of our below recommendations that make sense for your company’s website. 

Spoiler alert: We offer suggestions beyond just less-intrusive pop-up ads.

Tip #1: Your pop-up doesn’t appear until the end of your content

A common practice is to have a pop-up ad appear within so many seconds of a visitor landing on your content. 

This runs the risk of losing your visitor before he or she has had time to be won over by your content itself.

By waiting until the content is over, that patience can lead to a higher conversion rate of those who finish your content. It appears more like the call-to-action (CTA) that it is rather than a barrier to your content.

Dive deeper with our eight tips to get more leads out of your pop-up ads.

Tip #2: Embed a subscribe box at the end of your content

This is the same idea as the pop-up at the end of your content, except that when you embed a subscribe box, it’s not popping up at your visitor.

It’s an even less intrusive way to achieve the same thing.

You can design and embed the same subscribe box at the end of each of your blog posts, for example.

Tip #3: Slide in your request after so much of a page scroll

Not to be confused with “sliding into your DMs,” you can set up a slider pop-up at the bottom of your webpage that literally slides in on the bottom corner of the screen after a visitor scrolls through a chosen person of the webpage.

This is less intrusive and also appears at a time when your visitor is most engaged and more likely to want to subscribe to your newsletter for more content.

Tip #4: Your pop-up doesn’t appear until a user is about to exit

You may or may not be familiar with exit-intent technology since it’s relatively newer. 

If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.

Exit-intent is behavioral technology that understands the movements of website visitors and detects when they’re going to leave your site without making a purchase or giving you their information, according to Omniconvert.

Therefore, exit-intent pop-ups appear at just the right time. Again, they’re not perceived as a barrier in any way. They’re intended to catch that visitor’s attention before they leave, and they can be very successful.

See our 18 exit-intent tips to convert your website visitors before you lose them.

Tip #5: Offer a content upgrade to engaged visitors

Smart content marketers know that they shouldn’t give everything up for “free.” 

One way to generate leads without annoying your website visitor is to offer enough content to engage and then deeper content in exchange for his or her email address.

For example, you’re reading our tips about capturing more email leads without chasing away your website visitors. We could offer you through a pop-up a more detailed email-capturing strategy guide that can be emailed to you. 

Upgrades can include, but are not limited to:

  • eBooks
  • Webinars
  • Free tools
  • Templates
  • Email courses
  • Checklists

It’s about the allure of upgraded content for the visitor. The promise of value is upfront.

But to be clear, this does not have to be a pop-up. This can be as simple as an in-line link within your content.

Of course, this can be expanded to any number of content offers.

Dive deeper into premium content and how you can leverage it in your digital marketing.

Tip #6: Feature a permanent sticky top bar

As an alternative to deciding on the timing of a pop-up, you can have a standing, permanent top bar at the top of your page the entire time the visitor is engaging with your content.

The pro is that it’s constantly in your visitor’s sight while also not disrupting his or her experience.

The top-of-the-page sticky bar itself can be simple. You don’t have to overdesign it. Just make sure that it’s a clear CTA.

Tip #7: Consider a feature box on your homepage

A feature box is similar to the top-of-the-page sticky bar. It can vary in design, but typically, it’s a call to action that is on top of everything at the bottom of your screen usually when on your homepage.

Just like any other form of opt-in, it needs to be clear and compelling.

Tip #8: Experiment with a welcome home gate on your website

What’s a “home gate,” you might be asking?

Consider it as a splash screen that’s part of the homepage of your website, which typically is the most visited page of any website. 

It’s an immediate CTA just below your navigation menu, designed to be eye-catching that you can still scroll past for more content on the homepage itself. Keep in mind that it’s not a pop-up. It’s basically the top portion of your homepage.

Tip #9: Create a dedicated landing page

What’s better than an entire webpage dedicated to the conversion of email subscriptions?

If designed well, the conversion rate can be high.

Key aspects that your landing page should have:

  • An appealing offer to drive subscriptions (the sky is the limit here, depending on your brand and what makes the most sense)
  • Clear call-to-action
  • Clean, bright design
  • Feature testimonials if applicable

Tip #10: Include a sidebar next to your content

Another less-intrusive way to capture email leads is to include a sidebar for subscribing next to your content.

Just like the top-of-the-page sticky bar, it can stay in sight of the visitor throughout, depending on the layout of your webpage. 

Be sure that it’s eye-catching for the visitor and not an element that’s easy to overlook. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.

Tip #11: Your pop-up can wait until the second pageview

Similar to waiting until the end of your content or when a website visitor is about to exit, you can wait until the second pageview for a pop-up to appear in order to capture email leads.

Doing so is an acknowledgment of the fact that a lot of your first-time visitors are likely arriving through a Google search in the hunt for an answer to a question that they have.

A pop-up immediately just gets in the way of their mission, but a pop-up on a second pageview on your website is a bet that this visitor is now more engaged with your content specifically. And therefore, now is the time to suggest subscribing to your email list.

The risk is that you will lose the opportunity to “catch” everyone who only appears on your website one time. 

Tip #12: Impress visitors with a full-screen pop-up

A full-screen pop-up can be risky when it comes to annoying your website visitors and effectively capturing email leads.

It has to be well-designed and a very compelling offer to truly “wow” your visitors instead of annoying them. 

A big giveaway could be enough to warrant a full-screen opt-in experience.

Just like with any other pop-up, keep the timing in mind. Avoid anything that is immediate.

It’s important to audit your website with fresh eyes. Where are the opportunities to capture email addresses from those arriving on your site? Remember that less can be more when first starting out, and you’ll want to start out simply, evaluate the performance and build from there.

A number of email lead acquisition tools are available through DailyStory. Schedule a free demo with one of our digital marketing experts today.

Plus, check out our 18 low-cost marketing ideas for your small business.