Web strategist and host of The Profitable Website podcast, Wes McDowell, shares 8 keys to creating a highly effective website. In layman’s terms, how to make sure your website actually converts traffic to leads or paying customers.
We’ve been talking a lot recently about best content and SEO practices, and this talk really takes all that home and to the next level. Wes has a keen eye for design and conversion based principles and shares some absolutely GOLD in this talk including some of my favorite quotable design sayings which I know you’ll find intriguing 🙂
In this episode:
03:12 – Welcome to Wes
04:42 – Web designer to strategist
09:33 – Capitalize on content
15:50 – Use pics in a post
17:05 – Benefit of videos
21:02 – Why “three”
24:44 – Tips to avoid the “cheese”
26:42 – Deep level of content
28:42 – Planning content
31:36 – Homepage direction
36:52 – Longer content
42:32 – Readability
50:57 – What to do with content
58:04 – Showing expertise
1:02:06 – Quantity over Quality
1:04:04 – Social media help
1:08:53 – Linking benefits
1:16:31 – Final thoughts
You can also view the full transcription of this episode below.
Connect with Wes:
Featured links mentioned:
Episode presented by:
Learn Conversion-Based Web Design
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• Learn how to have an EYE FOR DESIGN even if you're not the "creative type"
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"Josh takes you through the thought process when working on designing a website. He untangles the complexity of arranging the content and shows you how to bring the client’s service or product to the foreground. The course is easy to follow and has extra resources."
"I’ve been in web design for over 20 years and I got this course because I’m always looking for new ideas and resources to create sites that not only look good but actually do what they’re supposed to do, make sales, get leads and inform. This web design course that Josh put together does all that and more."
What’s up, everybody? Welcome into Episode 59. In this one, we’re going to be talking about how to create a highly effective website. And more specifically, we’re going to go over eight really important keys to making sure your website converts. And it’s not just something pretty to look at, because you can get all the traffic you want. But unless you’re actually doing something with that traffic unless your web, visitors are moving forward, whether it’s a contact form or a number or going through your website, your website isn’t doing its job. So creating an effective website is super, super important. And that’s what we’re going to do in this episode. Now for this talk, I wanted to bring somebody in who is extremely knowledgeable in this arena. And this you actually may have seen this gentleman before, if you listen to the podcast, on Apple or on iTunes or whatever, if you look below on a related podcast, you’ll likely see this guy, Wes McDowell. He has a podcast called the profitable website. And I’ve been listening to him for several months now. And I just reached out to see if he’d be interested in coming on and sharing some really super high level valuable tips on creating effective websites. Because Wes is not just a website designer. He’s actually a web strategist. And you’ll hear all about the difference between the two in this episode. But Wes is an awesome guy. And you know, it’s funny, just as a side note, before we dive in, I look at competition very differently now because Wes is kind of a competitor of mine. In some ways. He’s a web design mentor. However, instead of looking at Wes, like a competitor, I look at him as a colleague, because he had a lot of great stuff to share. And I’ve been trying to do that with all of my other colleagues and competitors as well. And the Debian WordPress Well, I’m really big on coopetition. So yeah, they might we might have some competition in some areas, but by golly, there’s no reason we can’t work together and, and build a good relationship and share what we know with our other with each other’s audiences. So that’s why I wanted to have Wes on. Wes was awesome, he dishes out some amazing gold nuggets, some of my favorite little quotable web design hacks and tricks you’ll hear in this one. So really, really great interview, can’t wait for you to dive in. Now, if you are looking to create more conversion based websites, I wanted to make sure you knew I do have a website design course, that is specifically around conversion based design. So if you liked this talk and you’d like to know more, check out my website design course, I’ll have the link to that in the show notes, because I share some of what I talked about in that course here in this episode. But we can take it to a whole other level through that course. Alright, guys, well, without further ado, enjoy my talk with Wes McDowell. And buckle up because you’re going to learn some super, super fun tricks in this one enjoy.
Wes, great to have you on the show, man. How’s it going?
Doing great, Josh, thanks for having me.
We were just talking before we went live, I’ve actually been wanting to reach out to you for a little while now. because inevitably, I look at my podcast, and I see the Related podcast and your face has been under my podcast as like similar podcasts for several months now. So a couple of my students and following actually was like you should check out Wes too. And I was like I have I’ve listened to his show and, and I was like you know what I’m gonna reach out, see if you want to come on and share some of your wisdom as a website strategist with my audience. So really excited to have you on man. Thank you. I’ve been seeing your face under my related as well. So it’s a similar story. Yeah, go live life. It’s about time we got together here and had a good combo. So you know, there was a ton of things that we could talk about. And I asked you what you’re passionate about and interested in. And you have. And we’re gonna ask you a little bit about how you became a strategist. But one one topic that you mentioned was keys to a highly effective website. And I think that’s gonna be super beneficial. So you kind of listed out eight keys for me that we’re gonna dive into here. So super pumped about that. Before we dive into it, though, would you like to let my audience know where you are and what you do?
Yeah, so I’m in Chicago. I moved here about five years ago, right by Wrigley Field. So it’s a it’s always fun around here. I mean, we’re in weird times now. But it’s normally a very fun city, right by the lake. And I’m a web strategist. So what that really means is, I know most of your audience are web designers. And I started that way as well. I started off in graphic design segway into web design. And at a certain point I started focusing less on the visuals like the design, they when people think of design, they think of just the prettiness the aesthetics which is still very important to not I would never discount that. But I started switching my focus into the strategy part, which is usability persuasion, like that’s the thing. It’s It’s so many psychological principles that I’ve really started becoming a student of over the past 10 years, and weaving all that stuff in with the design to really take websites up to a level where it goes from this thing that costs to business money to a thing that makes the money.
Oh, that’s beautiful. Well said, yes, it is huge. I know, it was a big new chapter for me when I learned about conversion based design and got really serious about words, as opposed to just visuals with, like you said, equally important, super important as far as engagement and some things that we’ll talk about here. But images, create interest, but word sell. And I really found that to be true. I’m actually curious, what Did anything happen in your journey as kind of a backstory? Did you Did something happen? Where you ended up deciding to go from web designer to web strategists? What did that look like for you?
Take websites from a thing that costs them money to a thing that makes them money – Wes
Yeah, I mean, I can’t really say it was a toggle switch that went off at any point. But what it was, is basically, you know, we’re all trying to get case studies, we’re trying to get results for our clients. So we can take that and parlay it for our next client and say, Hey, this is what I’ve done for for client A, I can do the same for you. So when I was trying to do that, I found pretty quickly that I was going to these old clients and saying, so what are the results you got? And they’re like, pretty much nothing. So and that’s because I was treating every web design project, kind of like, you know, Burger King, like, your way any way you want it, basically. And I was just asking them, what do you want your website? What colors do you like? What other websites do you like and why? So basically, I started seeing what I was doing was getting nobody anywhere, fast. So that’s when I started, I basically shamed me into wanting to learn all these extra things. Because I wanted results for people, I’m kind of I wouldn’t say I’m a people pleaser, but I definitely in this, because I have a soft spot for small businesses, I come from that background, my dad owns his own business, I’ve always been very entrepreneurial. So for me, it’s not so much about creating a work of art as it is creating a sound super cheesy, but creating a lifestyle for my clients that allows them to have a thriving business and have things happening automatically for their business so they can focus their attention elsewhere.
Gotcha. And it’s, it’s pretty cool to hear that you went from doing the client to client, you know, project, a project type of web design field to doing a lot of one to many type of stuff, what you’re doing with your website at Wes McDowell in your Profitable Website, podcast. But the cool thing about that, too, is I imagine a lot of what you’re teaching and training people now can really cross over to so many different industries. I mean, a lot of the principles, I’ve heard quite a few of your episodes now. And it’s very like, it’s it’s foundational stuff that can really work across a lot of different industries. did when you were doing web design, did you work with certain type of industries or certain niches? or What did that look like, just out of curiosity?
Not really. What I was doing was I was focusing a lot on like, local SEO. So at this point in my career, I was still in LA and I was doing a lot of work to be found for, you know, Los Angeles web design, that kind of thing. So what you would get is just and I was doing fairly well, in the SEO realm, like I was actually kind of at the top of a lot of searches. So you would just get a lot of different companies with a lot of different needs. I did some, like I did a website for Hulu show called East Los high, which is, I mean, that was kind of cool. But it was basically a website for their their show to live on, you know, for all their episodes and stuff. And then I would do websites for like a T shirt printing company, and for a family law firm, and all these kind of things. So inadvertently, I did end up doing a lot of like lawyer websites, which was not my favorite thing to do.
But you join the club.
Yeah, to join the club. Yeah, yeah. But the cool thing about that is, I mean, the experience that you have with that I imagine really has empowered you to build your brand now was sharing things on a much bigger scale. And by the way, it sounds like with what you’ve learned with SEO, I mean, that’s really where so much value and benefit is for small businesses is to really capitalize on content, and SEO, which is kind of what we’re going to talk about in this talk. So let’s dive into it. Man. We’ve got kind of eight things to cover for highly effective websites. I do have a question though, before we before we get here, and that is why like why is a website so important? Now for my audience of web designers, we probably know but this is something I want to talk about this because this is what we need to relate to clients because a lot clients do look at websites like a cost. And most of them just don’t understand, you know, isn’t it just like a brochure online? Like why? They have no idea the power of what it can do for their business often. So what would you tell them? Why is effective website so important?
Yeah, well, basically, it comes down to all the marketing you do as a company as a business, you have to have a central hub of that effort. It can’t, it can’t just all be scattered to the wind, like, you’ve got to have a place, you got to have a strategy to if you’re going to be using all these different marketing methods, you got to send them somewhere, like a centralized location. And that is what your website needs to be. And I get a lot of flack, a lot of people have questions like they asked me on YouTube. So you know, do we really need a website anymore? It’s almost 2021. And yeah, you do, like, solve a social media in the world is not going to replace your need to have a website. If it’s a site,
I’d say more so than ever right now.
Particularly because people like it don’t have…
Sorry, go ahead.
Well, I was just gonna say you don’t know, like, what not that Facebook or YouTube is gonna shut down, but you have no idea you have no control over any of these other platforms, and you just have no idea if they’re going to limit you. Or, you know, if they’re gonna not show your ad, or like you have no control over these other platforms, but you do on a website.
You want something you own. And the other thing that drives me nuts is when people start getting confused about Do you need a website? Or do you need a funnel? And what they mean by funnel is they kind of, they confuse that with the software, right? The Click Funnels the lead pages. And when’s the last time you saw like a Click Funnels page that didn’t look like a Click Funnels page?
Right? It’s Yeah, you can tell it’s a template. Yeah, yeah.
You look like you started business yesterday, and you’re gonna be out of business by the end of the week, when that’s all you have.
That’s a good point. Yeah, it is. It’s true. It’s so true, man, it’s a great point to for my audience to echo to clients is it really has to be your home, your hub for everything. I mean, it’s great to do social media, it’s great to have video and all and to utilize other platforms, but they really need to link back in feed your website. And it’s just all it’s awesome to have a hub for all your stuff. That’s why I’m very intentional about for my site, linking everything back to my website, every video does not just go on YouTube, it also goes on my site. So yeah, that’s a great key, man. I mean, that’s really what it’s all about. And I think the idea of having control is, again, more important than ever, I’ve got colleagues who have courses on like Skillshare, and some other platforms that have just turned them off or just shut down and they’re screwed. So, but the same thing can be true with local business sites. I mean, this is why I don’t know your thoughts on Wix and Squarespace and some of these other do it yourselfers, but it’s why I’m so big on WordPress, and having something you can own.
Absolutely. I’ve got a lot of people who watch me on YouTube who asked a lot about their Wix sites, like do I need WordPress? Or should I can I keep up with Wix? And you know, everyone listening to this is a web designer. So I think we’d all know our thoughts on those kinds of things. Like, you know, they’re just they’re a workaround. They’re a DIY solution. They’re never it’s never going to be as good as something you could have a professional build. Yeah, we’re even doing yourself with WordPress and Elm, like I you know, you’re a Divi guy. I’m an Elementor. guy. I love it. I’m not what I don’t know about your background. Josh, are you kind of uh, do you do coding or you do you go all the way with that both.
I do as much as I can with Divi. But I I love CSS. So I do love tweaking everything with CSS at some point. However, Divi itself just like Elementor, I’m not against Elementor either, like, that’s the beauty about different themes and page builders, there’s a ton of different options. It’s just what works for you. It had Divi itself has come a long way to where you, you could definitely build a nice site without doing a lick of code. But the freedom and the flexibility to add on top of that, and really customize things to go to the next level is awesome as well. Because you can you can do a lot there too. So yeah, that’s both for me. I definitely some of my audience are di wires and new web designers, but some of them are doing very customized sites from browser sites to e commerce as well. Okay, cool.
Yeah, yeah, I’m just gonna level with you and your audience. I don’t do I don’t code whatsoever. There was a period when I was younger, when I tried to learn it thinking like, this is how I’m going to actually be successful. And my brain just does not work in code.
Images create interest but words sell – Josh
So but man, this is what’s so cool about web design is you can create a very effective website without doing a lick of code now can come a long way. And I’m sure you have people in your network who can code if need be, or you have some, you know, colleagues and party developer on staff now. Yeah, so you know, yeah, you can you can hire that out, but like that should be freeing to know that you know what, I don’t need to learn code. I don’t absolutely have to and you can still create an effective website. So it’s a really great intro as to why this is so important and to hear about some different avenues to getting into web design. Let’s let’s talk about it, man. Let’s go right into some site specific stuff and you talk. The firstly about images and video, can you kind of, because this is one thing, that is a really interesting talking point for web design, because it’s got to be done with, uh, with balance and moderation. You don’t want to have a website with too many images or too much video on one page because of loading speed. And, but at the same time, if you just have a big old block of text on a homepage, that might be fine for a blog post that’s supposed to be read, but it’s not going to work as well on a homepage. So what are your thoughts on that as far as images and video being effective?
Yeah, so what’s funny, you mentioned blog posts, like I would say, even with a blog post, you want to use images, you want to use video when you can, because this is for silver And by the way, I should mention that the whole purpose like all these things we’re going to talk about are really serving the need of having what Google would consider a high quality website, one that they deem worthy of having people have sending traffic to. So that’s what we’re getting into today. It’s a it’s a high quality website, in Google’s eyes, and in turn in the viewers eyes, because at the end of the day, Google wants to serve up content that people actually want to save. So…
Get off my soapbox about that. So basically, you want to have images and video for one very important reason. And that is people do not read websites, they skim them. I think we as designers know that. So basically, any kind of visual cues you can give on your site, the better. This goes for, you know, on your homepage, when you’ve got your three benefits, I always recommend having that section, you don’t just want to list them in bullets you want to have like, General I mean, when we’re designers, there’s different ways of presenting it. But the way I teach it to my small business clients just to kind of make it easy, three column layout, each one has a benefit, a headline, short, short description like one sentence, and an image above it, that helps you understand what that benefit is that can be an icon or a photo. And you definitely want video on your site when you can as well, particularly, if it’s a concept, if you do something or you’re trying to get an idea across that is a little more complicated that people might need to see in a video form, you might need to explain to them. And people will always can’t say oh, there’s gonna be some people who would rather read but 90% of people out there would rather watch a video on something than read the same thing.
So guilty, guilty on that one, for sure. I’ll always, I’ll always watch a quick, you know, two, three minute video even longer. It saves me from reading a whole post. And like you said, there are some people no shame in that game really enjoy reading. But as we were talking about attorney sites or lawyer sites, they’re always going to read every word. But the average business owner is busy, they don’t have a lot of time they want to watch something that will overview a complex topic. That’s a great point. And that contributes to watch time and people staying on your site, right?
Absolutely. Not only that, it’s it contributes to dwell time people stay on your site longer. Plus, you know, if you have that video, and it’s hosted on YouTube, obviously, Google owns YouTube and there’s a lot of basically, a synergy synergy is a corporate term between those two platforms. So if you have a video, let’s just say it’s a family attorney in Orange, California, and you, that’s the search term you’re trying to rank for. If you put that video, like it could be any video, it should be something worth watching, it shouldn’t just be one of those stupid doodle videos that were kind of cool 10 years ago. Should be something worth watching. And then you would name that video with the keywords that you want to rank for you put it on the page. Now you’ve got a lot of signals happening to Google. So it’s good for a lot of reasons.
Yeah, great point. Great point. And I do I will, I will totally back you up and saying that video and images can work very well on blog post as well. I didn’t mean to say that you shouldn’t have that in blog posts. I was just thinking about the clients who would send me a small book for their homepage. And I would have to tell them, Listen, this is great content. We could use a lot of this for service pages, but then we can really put most of it in a blog post around a certain topic. And to your point. Absolutely. Because the image is not only there’s an SEO perspective there where you can all text and title the images and the videos like you just said with with YouTube. But it also just from a readability perspective, it breaks up that content in a nice way. There’s an image to accompany a few paragraphs, right. Like it really makes it makes it much more readable. And because Google knows you want to please robots of Google But you also need to please the people who are going to read those posts.
Yeah, absolutely. And so just to throw a stat out there, they’ve done studies that say mostly, most of the top ranked web pages out there, we’re talking anything from sales pages to blog posts have an average of seven images on those pages. So if Google knows there’s an image there, not only is it reading the alt text, but it’s also just seeing if there’s images, they know people like images, so it’s more likely to show up near the top video.
That’s a great stat, it makes it a whole lot of sense to that people are going to stay on there. But they’re more engaged, as opposed to just a small getting a small book being on a page. Hey, I have a curious question, because I’m a big fan of threes. That was really interesting that you recommended and most all situations having threes. Any reason for that, from your perspective? Why not? Four? Why not? Six? What would you tell people if they want to line six services up next to each other? Obviously, we know it’s going to stack differently on mobile. But why three?
Well, I think when you’re talking about services, that’s okay. I would have actually have a different different rule when it comes to that. But I would say with things like benefits, or testimonials, I like a row of three, because two is generally just it doesn’t. I don’t I don’t know the psychology about it. But I do think the average person just kind of responds to things in threes, a three column layout three benefits, if you start doing more than three, it becomes overwhelming. And I would encourage anyone to really narrow down to the, because in most things in life, I find, you can trace it all back to the top three things. The fourth thing is probably not going to be nearly as impactful as the first three. So and then, you know, we get into five and six. Now we just have too much. And you don’t want to benefits that just doesn’t feel complete. I don’t know why, but it just…
I know, I know. I totally agree. You know, what’s funny, is I’ll get video testimonials for my courses. And if I have to, I’m always like, ah, I really need to try to get a third because it just kills me to have to and not to have.
I’d rather just have one.
That’s a good point into Yeah, that’s good point. All right, I’m sold. I’m in I’m gonna start doing that. Yeah, I totally agree, though. There’s something about the rule of three that just, it just yeah, it just works for people. Yeah. And you see last subscriptions that have three levels of service and memberships and stuff like that. So So yeah, man, it makes total sense. Any other thoughts on images and video? Before we dive into the second one?
I’m not really well, I’ll just say one thing. And you know, there’s a lot of talk out there, a lot of a lot of people hate stock images and stuff. Which is fair, because there’s a lot of bad ones out there. And this has nothing to do with like the Google part of it. But just something about images. There’s a lot of good stock out there. And I would encourage you to, you know, if you if it’s the kind of thing where you want to have an extra value add for your clients, you know, being able to find those good stock images for them is a really valuable service, because most clients will choose very wrong.
Yeah, that’s a great point is to definitely be factored in a proposal I made the mistake in the early days of being a stock a stock photo researcher and and doing that for free for clients. But I did end up adding on to that we actually ended up adding an option for up to 10 stock images on a standard site. And then we could just pick the ones we wanted from our subscription was there a dime a dozen out there. Great point, though, because you think stock photos, you think of the cheesy corporate group that are all like thumbs up and stuff like that. But there actually are some really good ones. We did a site a couple years back for a construction management company. And we got some sweet stock photos for them. And it was like the weird was like dudes lane like, like piping together and stuff. But it actually worked really well. I looked like legit photos.
Yeah, you can get good ones. And it’s just a matter of like, I’ll give you a few little rules here. The first thing you want to look for. First of all, you definitely want images of people in almost every case, what what really doesn’t work, especially in like a homepage hero section is just kind of a flat lay or just like something of it, like a still life of something or a Skype. You know, just a Vista or something a skyline, right? It doesn’t really work very well. You want to image images of people, ideally have what I call happy customer photos. Doesn’t have to be an actual customer of the web of the business. But it has to basically stand in for that customer and they’re happier after state of having worked with you.
Do you have any tips on avoiding the cheese of stock photos, particularly when it comes to smiling and happy photos?
I definitely have a few. So the first one is, you want to make sure that they do not look like they’re posed in any unnatural way you want it to feel like it’s a moment captured in time, right? Doesn’t have to be over the top like no fist pumping. No, like
Sugar in the air?
Yeah, nothing like that. I mean, unless that’s, there might be a call for that for certain types of businesses, but very rarely. There’s a photographer on Adobe Stock and Shutterstock named Jacob Lund. That’s like my go to source. Like he’s got hundreds of photos on those. And his stuff looks really premium and every, it almost all looks very natural, like their stock. But they look, they look great. And they don’t look cheesy. So
Yeah, that’s a great call, because that’s the that’s the trick with anything stock related is to avoid that cheese. Great points, though. Like you could definitely work it out as long as it fits. Yeah. Yeah. Gotcha. Awesome. Awesome. Well, let’s transition to content itself. And you talked a little bit about deep and relevant content. And I know we’re gonna branch in inevitably to the SEO world with this. Let’s talk about that, though. Because I have found that to be so true. You want content to be good, unique. And it needs to be relevant from an SEO perspective. Because side note for everybody listening, Google is basically just trying to answer questions. So they’re looking for blog posts, particularly that are going to a3nswer questions that are relevant.
They’re a matchmaker at the end of the day.
Yeah match maker. You know, what’s funny, I’ve been talking more and more to SEO people, and every SEO specialists or content person I trust uses that term of matchmaker. So I am absolutely going to take that and run with that. It seems to be working.
It’s so clever.
Sorry. Yes. You know what? Maybe they stole it from you. Maybe all my colleagues have been listening to the profitable website podcast. And here we are. Yeah. What are your thoughts on that, though? Deep, relevant content? How’s that beneficial?
Yeah, so in the old days of SEO, what you would do is you’d basically you’d figure out the keyword phrase, you want to rank for Dog Boarding in Dallas, let’s say. And then you would just stuff that keyword in all over the place, and the H1s and the H2s and 3s and all in the body copy, you still need to do a little bit of that you still need the phrase to appear. But Google has gotten much better now in understanding the overall topic of the page you don’t need. Like it’s it’s it’s machine learning is taken over and it now knows what kinds of words what kinds of topics should be in a Dog Boarding related website, they would expect to see words like kennel if expect to see words like probably grooming, probably daycare, you know, things like that they, in other words, when you add all of these words in there, rather than just keyword stuffing to death, it now lets Google know that this isn’t really like deep, relevant page to that overall topic, not just a keyword. So that’s something I always recommend is taking a step back from the the keyword stuffing and trying to come up with as many synonyms and alternate ways of saying the same thing. And then all those extra words like that one.
Yeah, it is great, because going back to just kind of what I touched on a little bit ago was, you want to make the robots happy. So this is a page on dog grooming, for example. But apart from that, as long as you get your title and your metadata in there, then start pleasing the humans actually make it relatable and conversational. Yeah. What do you have any other tips for? Like the, I guess there’s a couple of different ways we could branch this out, because I’m sure the way you adjust and prepare your content for a homepage is different than a service page. And it’s much different than a blog post. I’m happy to, you know, maybe if you want to dive into all three of those, or what are just some of those tips on on how we would format our content and plan our content for those pages.
Yeah, it’s actually not all that different. It’s just a matter of what are you trying to rank for on each page, you know, and just figure out what those keyword phrases are. What I generally like to do, when planning out keywords is for every page that is going to be designated an SEO landing page, you want to come up with one primary phrase that’s like the main one, the phrase that pays you’re going for, and then up to five secondary ones, right? So if we had Dog Boarding in Dallas has primary phrase that we might have, you know, kennels in Dallas is the second phrase, or Dallas, Dog Boarding, like just different ways of saying it. So you want to have different or maybe and then on a service page, you might be going for, you know, doggy daycare, in Dallas or a neighborhood or whatever like that. And then four blog posts. Those are generally less you’re trying to go for less buyer intent. On those pages generally, it’s more just informational. So it’d be things like you know, how to, how to prepare for Dog Boarding or how to how to know if your dog is ready to be boarded, things like that.
Great example now. Yeah, well, and the cool thing about that, though, is going back to our cheesy corporate word of synergy. That’s what works so well though, is because Google will often pull up answers to those questions in the form of a blog post and with videos and images, like we just talked about. But then if somebody reads that and is like, Okay, this is really good. What is this blog? And then they see, oh, this is a company local that does Dog Boarding. Well, that just led to a sale without the blog post itself, coming across salesy. That’s one thing I love about web design is these different pages. I agree, you definitely can take a very similar approach, but you can almost optimize them in different ways that way, because if somebody searches for dog grooming Dallas, then yeah, it’s very well, the service page would get up there. But if it’s dog grooming techniques, or how can I grew my dog from home, during the pandemic, then you have a blog post on that, that this could both work together. So that’s a great point relevant to I imagine, the type of keyword or key phrase it’s being searched? What about the homepage? I’m fascinated by everyone’s different ideas on how you should optimize the content for a homepage. Should it be? Would you recommend that it does cater to a certain term? And I imagine this depends on the industry? Or should it be more catered to the site itself, the company because I know a lot of thing that blows a lot of my clients away is the fact that generally service pages and blog posts are going to pull up before your homepage, depending on the the question that’s put in Google. Because a lot of people just think their homepage is what’s going to show up first, I’m like, Well, that depends not like just depends.
Yeah. So basically, again, you want to think about what keyword phrases will line up with what pages. So if you know that you do one, if you have a bunch of different services that are all kind of equal, then you probably want to put more attention on the service pages. But if you if you are a Dog Boarding place, you know, you probably offer grooming on the side, like you have add ons that you can go for on all those service pages. But what your bread and butter of services is Dog Boarding. So you can go for that on your homepage. You know, if you are a, you know, like the family law example, again, if you’re a family law attorney, and that’s what you mainly do, you can do that in your home page. But if you do family law, and litigation, and corporate law, all these things, you know, then you wouldn’t want to go for one, because whatever you go for your homepage, is going to basically make it look like that is your specialty.
Whether you like it or not. So it really depends. It’s a branding thing as well. All these things go together.
That’s one reason I love working with clients that are like an automotive place, or a chiropractor or a barber shop. Because generally, like one of my clients here in Columbus is a barber shop and barber shop is in their name. It’s Turner’s barber shop. So pretty cool. We knew you know their names in there, the front page was gonna be all about a barber shop being a barber shop. So good, good ideas, though, to have there with the idea of not all services are going to be equal generally, but then, you know, if you have something that is prevalent, or your main service, great opportunity to capitalize, and I imagine that could be followed up with a service that’s similar, and then even a blog post or other content that feeds into that. Yeah, because it’s still all relevant, right? Like it could you could still tweak each one of those different types of pages for the relevance of a certain question, or a certain phrase.
Yeah, absolutely. And if you know, you get a lot of questions being typed thing as questions generally don’t lead to that there’s not a lot of buyer intent and questions. Usually, most people don’t turn I think, like, maybe like my grandma would type in like, Where is a barber? Close? You know what I mean? Like, but I think most people just kind of know, keywords. And if you type in a question that generally will lead more to a blog post kind of result?
Yeah, yeah, no, that’s, that’s 100% true. I’ve seen that with my stuff, too. A lot of my, a lot of the people who find my website are asking questions about Divi or WordPress or web design, and then they’ll get a little more but then they take the next step with all Josh has a podcast. And this is where again, synergy goes back into it and having these different type of funnels with different content. But people can utilize this for small businesses as well. They might answer or you might get an answer question answered, excuse me, but then that might turn us them over to a service page and they find out about the company and then you never know where it goes from there. So…
Yeah, trust every step of the way, which is, that’s like that’s how you want it to be. Because most people don’t want to, you know, it depends on the service like a barber shop, people are looking for a barber shop, but there’s other things, especially if it’s a higher ticket service. If you’re like a web designer. A lot of people are going to try to take it upon themselves at first. There’s a lot of things they think they can do for themselves. And if they find you teaching them how to rank for how to rank in Google Maps or something like that, at a certain point, if they watch enough of your videos or read enough for your blog post, something gets implanted in their mind saying, okay, I’ve been seeing enough of this guy’s content. He knows what he’s talking about. I want to talk to him. I want him to do it for me.
Yep. Yeah, that’s absolutely true, man. Yeah. And it really all goes back that deep, relevant content. Let’s talk about well, any any other final thoughts on relevant context? I know we were going to talk about longer form content. Any other final thoughts, though, on making it condensed, deep and relevant, whether it’s a homepage or service page or whatever?
No, I think we kind of covered it, just make sure that you’re, you’re talking about it with all the just be as complete as you can about the topic. So right out of like an outline of all the things that fall underneath your area of expertise. And this doesn’t all have to be on a single page, by the way, like, they do look at your entire site to some degree, to make sure that you’re to see what you’re all about. And the more breadth of content you can put out there, the better chance you’ll have.
Yeah, great point. Great point. So yeah, how does that transition to longer content? What’s your take on? Do you have any stats that would back up, you know, longer form blog posts? I mean, is it worth it? Because I know a lot of people are like, are blogs even worth it? Do I need to blog? I have my own thoughts on that. I personally think it’s more valuable than ever. Because people do still read. Yeah, a lot of people love visuals and video, but there are a lot of people who still read and learn like that. You’re making robots happy doing that? No doubt. Yeah. What are your thoughts on longer content? When When can we utilize that in our websites?
Yeah, so you make a good point. I mean, blogging is not dead. I do love videos more than blogging. But videos aren’t found in Google searches, much like there’s a little section for that. So in order to be found in searches, you still need to have good quality written content. And which Google generally I mean, there’s sure something that short could rank, especially in those little snippets, but the science is out on how valuable that is. Because if people are just getting the answer and not clicking through anything, then how much have you really one there. But anyway, they do say like they’ve done studies that say, basically, a lot of the top ranking sites have at least 900 words per page, which isn’t crazy. That’s not like, you know, that’s not a whole lot. And then going up to over to 2000 words, in some cases, you know, have you I’m sure you’ve seen like Neil Patel, and Brian D, and they talk about these epic blog posts that are like the pillar posts on your site that some of these are like, 10,000 words. So you don’t have to do that. So you definitely want to go deep, and you want to go complete with a lot of these things. And there are basically three different types of blog posts, I want you to think about too. The first one is that epic blog post, over 2000 words, that’s very complete has a bunch of different headings and sub headings, covering all the topics within a big topic, then you can have more, you know, keyword driven blog posts as offshoots off of that. So let’s take my example here would be if you’re doing a website for like a lawn care company, there might be one pillar post one complete post all about caring, you know, caring for a lawn, right? It’s a really long article about all the different things you need to know about caring for a lawn, then underneath, and then that might link to a post about the best lawn mowers, right. And so it’s like, it’s got all these different offshoots. And then another pillar post would be about how to care for your trees. And then same thing.
I would imagine something like that could almost be seasonal, too. Right? You could probably have a article a shorter article just about Fall like yeah, carrying your for your lawn in the fall versus summer, whatever.
Exactly. And then the third kind of post would be a, an answer post, which is basically typing out. What questions are people asking in Google? And then it’s a much shorter post answering that question.
Yeah, that may. Yeah, that’s kind of what I have on my website. Primarily. Most of my tutorials are like how tos fairly quick tip style videos, so they don’t need a super long blog post, the long form content I’ve done. I’m also an author for the Elegant Themes blog. And most of my long form content is there because we went into really deep detail like you talked about, on certain subjects, where it’s a little bit different than a quick how to or answering a question but great example of how you can do long form content in a few different areas are there do you Have you seen that Google prefers a certain amount of words? No matter what, because I’ve heard different things on this. Is it 250? Is it 350?
Oh, like bare minimum? Yeah. 300.
Okay, that’s about Okay, that makes you feel better, because that’s what I that’s what I recommend in my SEO course for students is at least have 300 just because the robots have to know what the page is about. And you got to have at least a paragraph, which even 300 It might sound like a lot. But that goes pretty quick. If you do paragraphs, that’s a couple paragraphs, and you’re good to go.
Yeah, yeah. And if you if you have a hard time getting to 300 words, then maybe you shouldn’t be a blogger. That’s not, maybe that’s not for you. But But yeah, so I think that’s, that’s generally what I recommend, in terms of length. But don’t here’s the other thing, that’s important, too, don’t pad it, you know, like, what they don’t want to see what’s a really bad user experience. And this is one of the things that I hate the most, is when I I look for a lot of recipes online, like I want to make certain things like I generally try to stick to keto. So I try to find like different ways, different recipes for that. What I hate is like all these recipe blogs, where you have to read like the origin story of how this person created this recipe or found this recipe. I don’t. So it’s like there’s a fine line between just padding and making, adding a lot of fluff. You don’t want to do that. You want to make it as lean as you can. And very informative. Does that make sense?
So yeah, so that 10,000 word post is not 1000 words of good contrast than 9000. Yeah, it’s all it’s just good. You know, all good stuff.
People won’t like that.
So yeah. Particularly when it comes to recipes, because people are hungry. They don’t want to know about a story they want to get their food going. So yeah, that makes total sense.
Like you know, in high end, like grade school, when you would just you had to write a long paper and you just do like double spaced.
Right, right. Oh, you’re giving me terrible memories Wes of high school stuff. Yeah. Well, that’s a great segue into number four, which is readability. Let’s talk about that man. Because we’re talking about longer form content versus shorter form. And we’re talking about images and other media types will factor into this. But what are some things that we can do for all the aspects of our websites to help readability with the idea? Like you said, people scan or people skim as opposed to reading unless it’s a long longer form type of article, but yeah, what what things can we do for for our sites and our client sites to help with readability?
Yeah, so this is not so much about the formatting. We’ll get to that in a bit. This is more about the copywriting involved, like the actual words you use, not so much how they look. Really important. No, no, if you’re if your listeners anyone listening to this is actually doing the copywriting for your clients, but it’s something they can always offer.
Yeah, it’s one thing I teach in my SEO course, is how to do copywriting because a lot of people are finding out that’s a huge need for clients. Yeah. And if they like you, as a web designer, then they don’t have to find another person for a copywriter they already know like, and trust you. It’s an incredible upsell. And it’s a great way for recurring income. Sorry, go ahead.
Yeah, no worries. So that one of the biggest mistakes and this is something I teach in my program, too, you don’t want to write, there’s a few things you want to avoid in copywriting. You don’t want to write to impress rather than to inform. And most people don’t do this on purpose. But we have you know, most business owners have that curse of knowledge. They know their business so well, that they have a hard time stepping back from it and talking about it in a way that anyone other than them will understand. So when I was I don’t even work with clients as much anymore. But when I did, I would we would do discovery. And the first question is, imagine you’re at a party like a 10 year olds birthday party. And you have to explain to that 10 year old what you do, how do you do it? How do you explain that to him? Or her because that explanation is what how you need to put almost everything on your site. You know, people generally respond better to simpler words, shorter sentences, so none of those big walls of text keep the sentences short. Write conversationally by all means that even if you’re a quote, you know, professional company, even if you’re a law firm, you are going to connect so much better because again, I your clients are not lawyers, right maybe in some cases if you’re a lawyers lawyer, but generally speaking, you have to connect with your clients in a way that they understand. And that doesn’t make you look less professional. It makes you if you’re speaking in the words they’re already using in their head. Now they know you get it, you get where they’re coming from what they need. So right the way you speak, you know, it’s going to get you a better readability score to which is an actual like, meat and potatoes thing that Google actually Looks at, they use the, what’s called the Flesch reading test. So it’s basically what grade level is this web page written on? If it’s too high, you’re gonna get dinged for that. And Google, like, not to get political here at all. But like politicians now, like, whenever they do their speeches, they’re usually like in Trump’s at like a fourth grade level, I think. And that’s on purpose, because it does connect better with the average voter. So it’s the same thing in your you know, if you look at Washington’s inauguration speech, it was written like at a graduate school level, and now Trump’s is at a fourth grade level, and it can, people understood it better. And it connected with them better.
That’s fascinating. And it’s so true with because I guess that you explain that much better than how I have in the past with saying that you need to talk at your clients level. And what I mean by that is, yeah, if you start talking about WordPress, databases, PHP versions, all tags on images, clients gonna be like, are you talking Chinese? Because I have no idea what you just said. And that was a mistake I made early on, I had to realize, Okay, you know what, I even like, page loading, or speed optimization, or even like ranking, some people don’t understand what ranking means. Sometimes you need to rephrase it to, you know, the SEO work will do will help your site pull up higher on Google. And then like, oh, that made a lot more sense than getting better index rankings on Google, you know, they’re not gonna identify with those terms. So what a valuable, great gold nugget thought man to really explain it like you would do a child. Are you an “Office” fan?
I have not seen in a long time. I started off being a fan and they kind of dropped off. To be honest. I don’t like it as much as other people like it. Okay, that’s all right. Okay,
that’s, that’s okay. No, no judgment. I there’s a scene in there where the accountant talks to Michael and Michael’s just not getting He’s like, Can you explain this to me, like, I’m a sixth grader. And so that’s where like the same idea, though the same principle talking to our clients, you’ve got to make it very simple. And I really didn’t know too much about the readability score. So I now I can put that in my SEO course. Because now I know what that means. I actually did not really know too much about that. It makes sense, though, because when I became a blogger for Elegant Themes, they talk about that in the handbook, monster, how much I can give away. But I can probably tell you that they do mention, like certain articles are good for the in depth, technical type of stuff. But then some stuff is geared towards the newbies, the beginners who they just found out what WordPress is, they don’t need to know about the database stuff, or PHP MyAdmin, or my sequel or anything like that. Yes. So what a great point, man and for our clients, too. It’s also a great way, as an upsell for the work we do for clients to say, you know, look, you’ve given me a lot of content. I have no idea what this means. Do your customers know what this means? Or can we simplify it? And the beauty about that is you could tell clients, this is really good con, this is great content. Let’s add this as blog posts or create different content around this. But let’s keep it simple for the front page. And for some of the service pages. Yeah, yeah, that’s great, man. So easy readability. Any other ideas on that before? Because I think it would be nice to talk talk about like formatting. Any other ideas on readability before moving on?
Not really just make sure like, if you’re doing this for your client, it actually like you just said, it works out great. Because you don’t you’re in web design, you’re not in the law profession, or whatever it is, fill in the blank, whatever they’re doing. So if you read it, and you don’t get it, then yeah, bring it up to them. And try to use those most basic of terms.
Yep, keep it basic keep I love that act like you’re explaining what you do a 10 year old, that’s really just a great rule of thumb to thumb up to follow for sure.
I yeah, everyone can steal that. Like whenever you’re doing discovery for a client, ask them that question. How would you explain this to a 10 year old
and there’s there’s a power in keeping it brief, too, isn’t there, I learned this being the networking group for a lot of years, you had you had 30 seconds, you got to get that idea. In 30 seconds, you’ve got to get it out there. You don’t have 10 minutes to explain yourself, which everyone’s going to trail off after that anyway. So it was really valuable for me to learn, okay, how do I articulate what we do into 30 seconds, and maybe it’s just focusing on one thing, instead of trying to fit three things into one.
Yeah. And I’ll give one little bonus tip here too, like this goes along with it. You know, the hit the hero section at the top of the homepage or the top of any service page. That is where you need to make it crystal clear in about not 30 seconds, about three to five seconds, what exactly you do, how you help your clients and what they need to do next. So it’s like three things, because most of the websites I go to for the first time, it’s like your guess is as good as mine as as far as what this company does. Does, because they don’t explain it succinctly. And if you think people are going to scroll down to find out more and try to really dig in, they’re not. You’ve lost them.
Yeah, that’s well said. And I think that kind of transitions to how we would format this content. Go with the idea that we do skim or scan content. That’s a great question. I imagine this is big time applicable for for home pages. Yeah. What What can we do to better format all the stuff? Because that’s, that’s honestly one of the hardest aspects when you’re starting out. I feel like in web design, is even when clients actually give you content, which is we had an episode a little bit ago on on the importance of how to get collect content. Yeah. What do you do when you have it? Like, how do you format that the worst case scenario is a client actually gives you content? And then you end up making it more difficult to comprehend because you just don’t know how to format it. So yeah, let’s, uh, let’s talk formatting. Man, what do you what do you have on that?
Yeah, so again, people scan and skim, they don’t read. So we want to do is and you know, as designers, we know the value of whitespace. Sometimes clients fight the whitespace. And they think there should be more stuff here. So this is a good combat, you know, way to combat that by letting them know, no, the, you know, the human eye needs room, places to stop, and places to kind of as palate cleansers, because if you cram everything in with images next to text, it’s all competing for attention. And it gets a lot harder to really focus on the important messages that you’re putting in there. Because at the end of the day, I hate to say it as a designer, myself, the design is kind of the, what makes it the sugar that makes the medicine go down. But the words are really the important part. It’s the persuasion, you know, it’s getting people to either work with you or not. So you need that to really be the star. So, you know, basically what people hate. And what Google hates as a result is those big walls of text. So even what normal people would, would say, constitutes a paragraph, you know, like, maybe four or five sentences. When writing for the web, it should be about two sentences per paragraph, honestly, like it should needs to be very like punchy like that, that that’s going to ensure more of it gets read. It’s the same way, you know, it’s the same reason why you want to use bullet points and numbered lists, as opposed because it breaks it all out you know.
I really want to use a good design tip recently to have breaking the words off at about 15 words wide at max, because a lot of people will do like a full page design. And then they’ll have 30 or 40 words, which Oh, they’re like, wide. Yeah. Which is very hard to read. It’s like a textbook. That’s why nobody is like, man, I really enjoyed that textbook from the government class. No, everyone’s like, God, that was awful. You know, I that’s why books are specifically made. And even if it’s a digital Kindle version or something, they’re all still made to break after 12,13,14,15 words, much more readable?
Absolutely. Yeah. So don’t make those pages super wide. That’s something I learned a while ago. And you definitely want to use a lot of italicize and italicize ization. But I don’t know the word tallix.
Italicization. Let’s roll with that. I don’t think it’s grammatically correct but we’re rolling with it. You heard it here.
And bold ization. You want to use italicize and bold whenever you can to emphasize key points. Because again, if someone’s only going to kind of did a skim over a page, what do you want to make sure they don’t miss. And you want to put that in bold or italics or both?
Yeah. Great. Great way to accent isn’t Yeah. Hey, I have a, I have a little scenario. Last question for you. If a client would tell you though, okay, they’re working with Wes. And they’re like, I don’t want my website. I don’t want my visitors to scroll. Because I just want them to like see everything right there and then be able to click off but they they’re afraid of the scroll. I have seen that that primarily comes from an older generation that just for whatever reason was terrified of scrolling. What would you tell them?
We want to tell a story from start to finish. – Wes
Okay, I’ve got a really so the way I look at this is I would explain it like this. I want people to scroll down the page because we want to be able to give them all the right information in the right order as they go down. And we’re building a case for you all the way down versus here’s this and here’s this and here’s this and here’s this choose your own adventure. That doesn’t work as well. They get lost in the woods. We want to tell a story from start to finish.
Yeah, perfect. Well said yeah, cuz you really, I guess that’s a great tip would be this to tell your client, you you’re creating a journey or you want to create a journey and some websites have have different call to action. So they’re going to require different funnels or a different journey for that website user to go on. That’s genius. That’s a great way to put it, man. I know I’ve had a number of clients in the day that were just terrified of scrolling. I’m like, we are programmed to scroll now. Whether it’s obviously on our phones, it No, no one gets on their phone and doesn’t scroll immediately. No matter what app you’re on your scroll. It’s just what you do. Same thing with websites. That’s why to your point to echo he said earlier, you’ve got a couple seconds to really engage them before what happens, they start scrolling, it’s also may be curious to your hear your thoughts on sliders. It’s also why sliders are a thing of the past because people miss the third and fourth, or even second slider.
Yeah, and it’s just like it’s overload. And I think a slider is basically it’s a cop out for saying we don’t know what’s most important, so we’re not going to make that decision. Anyway, and so that’s good, you need to make that decision, you need to figure out what’s the most important thing your business. And I actually don’t, I don’t mind sliders and hero, as long as it’s just the background image sliding. Like sometimes I like that. Because if you don’t if your client has, if they want to make sure that it’s known that they have customers that are men and women and older and younger, it’s hard to get one like happy customer image that feels like all encompassing of of it. So, you know, I’ll usually like to do like a man a woman in some kind of, you know, minority representation in there as well. So it feels more all inclusive.
I’m so glad you messaged doesn’t change. Yes, I’m so glad you mentioned that because I one of the first I created layouts for Divi I only done a few of them that I sell. But I one of the first ones I did was a fixed title and a fixed button over a slider. So it was just the slider images. It wasn’t like you said a different title, different call to action. Nope, it was the same text that stayed there. But I’ve used this on a number of websites. One of them was a steel company that really wanted to feature their workers and show some of their work. But then also like, you know, the frames of their steel and building form. So it’s almost like a story behind the title and the main call to action. And it worked out great. So I’m so glad you mentioned that because I haven’t talked about that much. But I’m all about that for sure. But again, this lighters that have six different services, your point is great. What’s the most important? Obviously, you don’t quite know what should take priority here.
Yeah, and that’s a bigger, that’s a bigger problem. It’s a deeper problem than we as web designers solve like, that’s something they need to figure out.
Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s a good transition to like as far as how we format everything. And maybe this has to come from our clients as far as the content that provide. But how do we kind of build that authority and build that expertise? With our with everything that we’ve talked about? How do we put this into our client sites, and even our sites to show like, we’re experts or know what the heck, we know what the heck we’re talking about? What are your thoughts on how to kind of like, show our expertise?
Yeah, so this is the kind of thing and I it’s hard for Google to really know how expert you are. But I think what the point is, you’re the people reading it will get it, they’ll quickly find out if you’re an expert or not. And if they figure it out, you’re not the jig is up, and they’re gonna go find someone else is better. Because think of all the what, okay, have you ever tried to get like an SEO company to write articles for you or for a client?
So I have, I’ve only done it with colleagues who I trusted, I’ve never done like one of the, you know, ones that reach out or something. I have had colleagues that have done that. And it’s been interesting to say the least.
Yeah, so I’ve, I’ve done this before, where I’ve tried, I thought I could maybe outsource some of the articles and stuff. I’ve even done this in so I do YouTube videos every week. And at a certain point I wanted to hire help there was going to help me kind of write my outline so I could be freed up for other things didn’t work out. So well guess why? Because they’re not experts in the subject matter. So What you don’t want is a bunch of blog posts written by people who are simply researching and regurgitating the content. You know, people can tell if it’s, if it’s you’ve read an article by like Brian Dean from backlinko, you can tell you’re reading an expert. And they they’ve, they’ve put in the time they’ve put in the research, they know what they’re talking about, versus if you read the average article that an SEO company will write for you for 50 bucks. It reads like a D student term paper. Yeah, you know, like it’s just, it’s not meant for people to read and to learn from it’s meant for SEO value and you can tell
well, and that’s a it’s a great point because of so my one of my SEO specialist, I just had on the podcast, shout out Michelle. She specifically talked about this because she said I am not a writer or a copywriter for SEO what I am As an editor, so she takes the content that a business from a certain industry provides. And she makes it SEO friendly. She capitalize on it. And I think that’s the mindset that we have to have as web designers Would you agree like week, that’s that’s honestly very freeing for us because we don’t know about I don’t know jack crap about anything law related. So I can take a lawyers website, though and take that content and then optimize it for SEO and make it more readable, I can do that. Or I may, I don’t maybe a lawyer was a bad example. But let’s say dog grooming. I don’t know too much about dog grooming, even though I have a golden retriever. But by golly, I can take all that info and I can optimize it and edit it. And I think that’s the power for web designers.
Yeah, we that’s definitely something that it’s, it’s easier to put in the SEO keywords into a really expertly written article than the other way around. You don’t just want to start with keywords, and then build an article around it, when you don’t know what you’re talking about, because people will know. So you basically and the other ways you can start building in authority is using case studies on your site showing that you’ve gotten results for other people. So there’s a bunch of different ways to do it. But you definitely want to make sure people know that, you know, you’re talking about not just for Google sake, but for pure persuasion.
Yeah. What what are your thoughts on quality over quantity when it comes to website content? Because going back to your idea, or your example of trying out somebody doing SEO, and it was very clear, it was you know, quite probably quickly research thrown together, they probably took three different articles and splice them together. It wasn’t cohesive, it obviously wasn’t built from real world experience. I’ve seen other people do the same. I’ve seen some some competitors and colleagues of mine hire out writing and sometimes it’s really good. But then I can tell like, that was that was, you know, week that was cheap, cheap held? Yeah. I am much more on the camp of if you can only do one blog post a month, but it’s damn good. That’s a lot better than a post every week. That’s crap. What are your thoughts on that?
Yeah, no, I totally agree. I mean, there’s got to be a middle ground in there. If you’re really trying for a SEO. And this, it’s really like your traffic strategy, I would say you need to probably do more than one a month. But, you know, it’s not like you need hundreds of articles. But you need probably more than 10. Really, you know, to really kind of make a go of it. So what I recommend is focusing like we talked about before on a small handful of those epic blog posts of like, think about the top three topics you talk about, when your business or the you’re an expert in, make three really in depth articles, then make smaller ones as offshoots of those. And then smaller ones in that even as those answer posts just answering common questions. So every week, you can be doing something whether that’s just one of those FAQ style posts more, one of the really big boys.
Yeah, well, what the beautiful thing about anything web design related. Now no matter what theme or tool you use, is you can schedule it out. So you can always do you have a couple of weeks where you can write and get a bunch of stuff put together, then you don’t have to release it all at once. You can schedule that out for a week and or for a month, and you don’t have to actually do that work every week. So yeah.
Batching. Yeah. batching. Heck, yeah. Let’s talk real quick about social media. And I know this is, I am by no means I’m a social media expert. I’m not sure what the extent of your knowledge is. But how does that translate to websites? Like, is it worth us? I guess I’m open to your thoughts in social media in general, with how we, you know, make it work for our websites. We obviously I think everyone knows, at this point, you don’t want to have your content, that you don’t want that home to be on Facebook or Instagram, you want your home to be your website, like we talked about in the beginning. But is it worthwhile looking into what are your thoughts on social media and how that helps our websites?
Yeah, so I mean, it’s a little nebulous at this point, to be honest with you, like even the biggest SEO experts don’t know exactly how much getting your blog post shared across social media is going to help it directly. But we do know that it helps indirectly, you know, think about it, it just makes sense. The more your post gets shared, the more eyeballs go to it. And as long as it’s good, the more traffic you’re getting to your site, and the longer people are staying on your site. And they’re just interacting with you and your brand. So it’s all it’s all synergistic, right. So that’s the the theme that keeps on giving this episode. But yeah, you definitely want to make it easy for people to be able to share your content. So ideally speaking, if it’s good, it’ll elicit some natural shares here and there as it is, but you got to make it easy for people, right? People tend to share the for a few reasons, you know, things that make them look smarter things that make them look like, you know, things that make them look good. So make it easy for them to share this thing with their followers that makes them look good by including just easy share buttons on your posts. And don’t take up your like homepage with that. And there’s I see a lot of that stuff. There’s a lot of people who put these share buttons like on their homepage. No one’s going to do that except for your mom. Share your homepage with their friends. Yeah. People aren’t going to share people share content, not sales pages.
yeah. Oh, well, yeah. I can see your grandma right now. Oh, Wesley made a website. Everyone check it out.
Oh, whenever I post anything on Instagram, she like does the clap emoji every time and every time I see her she’s like, I have no idea what that was about. But I’m proud.
Does she caught this he call you Wesley too? Because…
Yeah she does. Yeah.
That’s awesome. Good guess right there?
The last thing we want is those little, you know, brightly colored exit signs. – Wes
No worries. But the other thing about social sharing too, or just social icons, I guess in general, is and I think most people kind of understand this by now. What we don’t want to do is make a big deal of our social icons on the website. Because think about it this way. We want to use social media to send people to back to our hub or website, not the other way around. Once we have them where we want them in our website. The last thing we want is those little, you know, brightly colored exit signs.
Wow, what a great analogy. Bright, brightly colored exit signs. That’s beautiful. Yeah.
So I have to talk so many clients out of view, they’re all in the header. And it drives me nuts, because I love Elementor, but all of their header templates have like the social media icons. In the end, I guess, because it just looks interesting. It’s like visual. So you know, why not? But take them out. Have your icons, but have them in the footer? And I would take I would go a step further. And don’t cause don’t draw a lot of attention to them. Don’t make them the YouTube red. Make them just branded colors. Make them kind of there for people who are looking for them. And that’s it.
Oh, Wes, I’m so glad you mentioned that because I toiled over this for my site. Josh Hall co I don’t know if you’ve seen my homepage, or well, any page for that matter.
No, I haven’t yet.
I didn’t, I did not put the Facebook and LinkedIn or YouTube icon in the header. I decided to keep it in the footer. And same thing. I didn’t have the Facebook blue and the YouTube Red. I just branded it to my colors and my design. Because I want people to subscribe on YouTube. And I want people to go to my Facebook, but I’d rather have them on my website. So great point. Bright colored exit signs. That’s that’s a great quote to steal.
I can’t take credit for that. I think I got that from Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media here in Chicago. I think I heard him say that once.
All knowledge is borrowed. So we’re all just each other off. But it’s all good. I think a great place to wrap up with what we can do. So unless there’s anything else, I think we’ve covered some good basics for sure social media and how it can benefit our site. But one of the most important things that I’ve learned particularly from an SEO perspective is linking and really what what I teach in my SEO courses, I like to visualize a website, like a tree, and you want to build what I call this SEO tree, your trunk is often your homepage. That is what links you out to the biggest branches that might be your services, or your products and those link out to blog posts and more information. But the trick is really how we link it like how we create our site architecture, our structure, our nav menu, what kind of main links we put on our homepage, which I always feel should be very similar to what we have our menu. So So Google understands that. But yeah, what are some tips on how we can link our websites? Because it is an instant SEO, when Isn’t it just good linking?
Yeah, and the thing is, most people think of linking as backlinks, which by the way, are still very important, I recommend making an effort for that as well. But you want you don’t control that. But you do control the internal linking of this website. So you definitely want to take advantage of that. Because it does count for a lot, right? We know anchor text counts for a lot. So the more you can make basically like a spiderweb out of your website of this page, links to this page where it makes sense. And then that page links to this page, the more you can do that in contact doesn’t even have to be in menus, right. That’s how people mostly think of it. But you know, wherever there’s a sentence or a word on your website, you know, links to a, maybe you’ve got a great blog post about that topic. And whenever that topic is mentioned on any other page, you should link to it. Yeah, and then it just creates as good user experience. Uh oh, you want to know more about this? Here you go.
Can you talk more a little just a little bit about anchor text? Is that what you mean? Just having, you know, words in a sentence that do anchor and link to something else is that the best way to sum this?
So the anchor text is the the actual words that you’re using as the link. So if you’re trying to go for the term, you know, web designer and web design Chicago, you should have some links back that point to that page that say, where the link just says web design Chicago, that is a really strong, you don’t want all of them to do that. It’s spammy if they do, but you when you have keyword rich anchor text, that’s a big signal to Google, about what your, what you should be ranking for.
What and it’s just an instant win. Like that’s what an average automotive or chiropractor or any of the industry type examples we’ve gone over, it’s what they could do, they could have their main services and have blog posts, you know, set up over the next few months or a year with those little links back to those pages and agreed, backlinks are huge. It’s been huge for my SEO successful what I’m doing now, but I can’t control it. Unless I’m out there like, Hey, would you put a link to my site on your website? That’s not worth my time? I’m gonna do it organically and wholesomely in the SEO world, but yeah, it’s an instant win, because you can control the internal linking on your site. Yeah, great, great idea, just to, you know, have something that and again, you do probably have to be careful, I imagine how you word it and how it’s placed. Because as to your point, Google’s gonna know if it’s stuffed, or if it’s too robotic sounding. But But yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, it’s, it’s really just an easy, it’s an easy win. Yeah. Any other linking techniques that we could pull from?
Well, I mean, and I wish I knew the name of this plugin. I know there are plugins for WordPress, they let you basically so maybe Rankmath does this. Do you use Rankmath? I actually use Yoast. Okay. Yeah, I, I recently switched over to Rankmath. And I don’t know all the benefits of it yet. But they might do this. Basically, whenever you put in a keyword phrase you want to rank a page for or a post for, I think there’s something in there, where every time let’s say you’re trying to rank, you wrote a blog post, all about, you know, top 10 hiking trails in Boulder, Colorado, so I like that. And then if you ever mentioned if you ever write that out on any other page, like hike, best hiking trails, older Colorado or whatever, it’ll come up with like a pop up saying, Do you want to link this to that page? Because that was your keyword phrase? Does that make sense? So it’s kind of intuitive. And it knows like, okay, you’re trying to rank for hiking trails. And then you type in hiking trails on this page, and it says,
That’s great. I only good things about rank math, I think Yoast has something similar. Maybe it’s the pro version that has that. But there I have seen some stuff like that, where I mean, honestly, particularly when you have a site that has a lot of blog posts, or if it’s client side, you’re gonna forget what what you have out there often. So
Yeah, especially when you start getting big, like, it’s gonna be too much to keep track of.
Yeah, well, that’s awesome. Man, man, Wes, this has been great. This has been some really gold stuff. Let me just recap for everybody. So number one, the first thing was to use images and video, utilize that remembering that people scan and skim sites. So don’t be afraid of, of engaging people more with images and video, make sure to focus on deep relevant content, no fluff, you can have good longer form content, which is number three, long content, that’s all well and good. But it needs to be good. And I like to your point, you talked about capitalizing on maybe just a few big old meaty articles that have the good stuff that’s longer form. But leading up to number four, it’s got to be readable. readability is absolutely crucial as far as how you, you know, write everything and make sure you can use utilize icons and the different stuff we talked about to make it more readable, which leads into number five, which is formatting, just keeping in mind that we do scan so it needs to be formatted that way, showing your expertise is absolutely huge. For for readability, but then also for Google as well. They’re gonna know if something’s ripped off and plagiarized or if it’s actually original. We talked about how social media actually maybe not on the books looks like it’s you know, boosting your site, but just practically and, and as you can imagine, you’re going to get shares and more eyes on it, which is going to help and then linking. I mean, that’s an that’s a great talk, great outline, man. That’s this stuff that really, a lot of this makes me feel better and echoes what I teach my SEO course and what I’ve done over the past few years, because basically with my site at Josh Hall.co I’ve really just implemented everything I’ve learned with doing websites for clients and everything I told my clients to do. I’m actually doing now and it’s working and it’s paying off didn’t happen overnight, but it works. Yeah.
It’s great when you walk the walk and it actually works, you can actually point to that and say Hey, see, ya see, I eat my own dog food.
Yeah, there we go. Well Wes, thanks so much, man. This has been great. I want to be respectful of your time. Do you have which by the way, I love Chicago. We’re in Columbus. My wife and I love Chicago. It’s been a while since we’ve got out there because we have two little ones. We have a a two year old daughter and a nine month old. So not a whole lot of traveling these days. But I love Chicago. There’s just something special about that city, man.
It’s great. Yeah, these are five years ago from LA and I love that I did like it’s an amazing town. I live right by Wrigley right by the lake. lots to do. Cold winters. But I’m sure Columbus is the same?
Yeah, well, if you ever come to Columbus hit me up, man. We’re only we only about a six hour drive from us. And Columbus is like, la I’m sure is nuts. Just density and population. Chicago is still a big city. I always view Columbus like a smaller Chicago. It’s not as much but it’s it’s very light. It’s very clean here. It’s just great people, Midwest people and blood sports fans a lot of love. Just really cool things to do in Columbus. So if you ever hear hit me up, man, we’ll we’ll have some fun. And yeah, right back atcha. Same here. Yeah, I love Chicago. I can’t wait to get back one day. But yeah, man. Hey, do you have like a final final thought for my audience? When it comes to all this stuff? Is there? You know, for some, maybe for my, for my listener? Who is you know, starting to build a website for clients? Maybe what what should they focus on? Maybe? That’s a good question. That’s like a final thought for me. What should somebody focus on? After everything we’ve talked about?
Yeah, well, you should be focusing on getting your clients results. At the end of the day, that’s how you can justify your price tag. And how you become more than just a price tag, right? You that’s the thing like you don’t you don’t ever want your website you provide to be a cost. Because that’s, it’s hard to sell a cost versus selling an investment. So the more you can keep these things in mind. And the more you can start adding value rather than just good looks. Because again, like a pretty sight is great. But, you know, a lot of things, you know, a brochure can be pretty doesn’t necessarily help a business. So make sure you’re focusing on the things that really matter. Everything we talked about here today will certainly get you there. But yeah, just think about, think about all the things you can bring strategically to your clients, that’s gonna let you charge even more.
That’s great, man, what a great final thought. Where can everybody go to find more about you?
Yeah, so I would say the best thing you can do, obviously, if you’re listening to this, you like podcasts. So mine is called The Profitable Website. It is under the related podcasts right under this one, because we I guess we share an audience to some degree. So again, the profitable website or you can go to Wes McDowell.com.
Awesome. And you have a free masterclass, too, I’m sure that’d be beneficial for even a lot of my designers who are particularly new, who are getting in there, actually, I was gonna sign up just to go through to see what you’re up to there.
So it’s called How to Create and Launch Your Own Profitable Client Generating Website. So it’s the kind of thing that you could use for your own websites, or, you know, go ahead and go in there and take the principles and apply them to your clients websites as well. It’s basically it’s a 16 minute masterclass, where I go over all the really important things, including what pages you should focus on, what you can leave out simple messaging techniques that are really going to be persuasive. As well, as you know, if you’re, if you’re like me, and you’re not really a technical web designer, and you want a way to easily do it all yourself. But having a developer, I show you in the end how easy Elementor can be in terms of just pure design, building, like you don’t need to know any code, super easy. So it’s kind of an all in one solution. And it’s free. You can find that on my website.
I’ll tell my whole audience to watch every lesson except for Elementor. So they come to me and then we’ll go No, but I’ll I’ll link that to the show notes. Man. Wes, thank you so much for your time. Thanks for sharing some seriously valuable stuff. And I think I’m we have a chat next week. I think I’m going to be on your podcast soon. So I’m looking forward to it, man.
I can’t wait to have our next little chat, Josh.
Awesome. Cheers, man. Thanks so much for coming on.