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I’m Justin Greenwood, a Perth based designer, developer, digital marketer, strategist and owner of Dux Digital.

I’ve been working in this industry for almost 20 years, and have designed, coded and launched well over a thousand websites here and overseas. Some of them even went on to win some awards, including the coveted ‘Most outstanding website in Australia’ award in 2009.

Over the years I’ve learnt a thing or two about what makes a successful website. Of course it must be functional and look great, but the key to designing a successful website is making it earn its keep by providing you with leads.

In this, the first of my two-part article I’m sharing my top tips on harvesting leads and contact details and providing you with the formula for forms.

Secret 1 – Treat every page as a landing page

A captivating homepage is a given, but a well-designed website should be consistent and easy to navigate. Leaving sub-pages plain with big blocks of text is a fundamental flaw, simply because the days of people only entering your website via the homepage are long gone.

A correctly indexed site will transition people directly to your products or services pages, which is why you should treat every page of your website as a landing page. Doing so pays dividends as each page has a logical place for essential information giving it the power to generate a lead.

Think – easy to access to contact, quote or request forms, testimonials, downloads, subscriptions – anything that’s relevant to your business that will encourage a viewer to contact you needs to be visible.

Secret 2 – Contact details and forms

My philosophy is that a user should never have to think about how to get in touch with you. The moment they think of it “bam” there should be a phone number or form on screen and ready for action.

The “Contact Us” main menu item may have worked in the past… but why would you expect someone click and wait for a new page to load when they are ready to commit now? The secret to getting a lead is to remove any barriers.

Dux Digital websites are designed with contact information in the header and footer of every page. Using a button in the header to scroll to a form in the footer, means the user is filling out the form, not waiting for a page to re-load.

Seconds count, so we recommend a fixed navigation bar that includes the phone number with a button to scroll the user to the form.
It’s also why we like to include a contact form within the content area of services and product pages, keeping it simple works.

Secret 3 – Form Fields

Over the years I’ve worked for some large organisations which has allowed me to trial comprehensive A&B testing for form fields on high traffic volume sites (www.trafalgar.com and www.firebox.com to name two). This has turned up some very conclusive results.

And guess what, “big forms are bad”! Although it seems logical, it’s great to have stats to back up your theory, I’ve found that stripping back your fields to the bare minimum, enhances your chance of getting a lead significantly. This is even more relevant on mobile devices where filling out a form can be a right pain.

An optimised lead generation form should contain the following fields:

Name *
Phone *
Email *
Message

It’s really important to make the first three “required fields” because people can and do enter their details incorrectly – and remember the extra effort required qualify the lead on the phone is time well spent, after all, it’s better than losing out because your form has too many fields.

Occasionally clients request a large form for a “quote request” function. My advice is to put these on a separate page and keep the main forms to a minimum.

Secret 4 – Bye bye Captcha

While we’re talking forms, it is now officially time to call an end to Captcha’s! Although these have improved recently with the use of house numbers and images and so on, they’re still a barrier standing between your website and you getting a lead.

My ‘honeypot’ solution is simple to implement and is much better for user experience. A honeypot is a field added to form that users can’t see. It’s placed off the screen via CSS or JavaScript. If the field is filled out when the form is submitted the system will know that it was most likely generated by a spambot and will flag it.

Read part two here