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Nancy's Notes

Nancy's Notes: on HubSpot's WEBSITE 'MUST HAVES'

Posted on December 30, 2012 at 4:05 PM


Ok, you know that these HubSpot guides are free, right? I love reading them, and I think that all small business owners need to print them out and read them frequently.  But the problem is, you just don't have time to sit down and read 53 pages... well, here are my notes from the latest free download from Hubspot...

Website 'Must Haves'

  • Oh NO! 40% of small businesses are still not on-line. A website is an essential piece of your marketing strategy
  • Today's buyer (97% of consumers according to a Google workshop I attended) researches their purchases on the internet

 1. Get Found online 

  • You need to get found on-line; effective inbound links come from Google, YouTube, Ask, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Create good content that is made for HUMANS not search robots
  • On page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) -Use important key words relevantly (not too little or too much); use in headlines and titles, body, and footer. *Interesting tidbit I learned - name the graphics you use with your keywords. Instead of Logo.jpg, name it WebDesign.jpg; search bots do look at graphic file names, but can't read the graphic itself.
  • XML sitemaps - I don't know a thing about this; this is a new term for me that I'll have to look into. You can create a sitemap generator online that you can upload to your file manager. It will improve your SEO but it is not a huge component of SEO. Hmmmm...
  • 301 redirects - remember to direct your old URL to point at a new address and test it 

2. Design & Usability 

  • First Impressions count on websites! Consumers will judge your website by these components: does the site look credible, trustworthy, like a professional company, do I feel welcome, and am I in the right place? Think about these things while designing your website.
  • Credibility indicators include having a privacy policy, awards or certifications.
  • Is content the deciding factor? NO, aesthetics mean more initially to consumers, so be sure the colors are well suited and easy to read. Don't distract people with extra bells and whistles (either Google or GoDaddy instructors told me: Remember people are LAZY and Have ADD - make the website's product or service obvious to consumers within 4 seconds or they will bounce out, and give them BUTTONS, not just a phone number or email address to write down, give them a button to push... think lazy and attention deficit).
  • Maintain consistency in colors and layout; only use pictures that are meaningful.
  • Make Navigation EASY PEASY - keep it simple. Avoid flash and use links in your content and be clear where they go.
  • Flash animation bad, relevant graphic/logo named with a keyword good.
  • Accessibility -- CRUCIAL to have a mobile website! Many consumers use their tablets or smartphones to surf the web. I believe my smartphone marketing instructor told me there were 4 times as many smartphones in the world as toothbrushes. Ewe. Here's the kicker, mobile site conversion is FREE, but you don't know what you don't know... 

3. Content 

  • Do people understand what you do in 4 seconds? Do they know which page they are on? (That personally drives me nuts) Do they know how to purchase from you? Did you remember to tell them why to buy from YOU and not your competitor?
  • Clear Message on Home page: What your product is, how you learn more, and who it is for, call to action buttons
  • Offer more than your product - offer education, free downloads, and value. Be transparent and be human - speak their language and not industry "gobbledygook" or jargon. Make your product sound like it can solve their problems. This is how we help you...
  • Be Clear, Not Clever - reminds me of fancy commercials you see on TV and then wonder what the product was. I get very confused on drug commercials - are they treating insomnia, depression, or erectile dysfunction? Who knows, but it is a beautiful commercial with happy people - not a good marketing campaign if no one knows your product.
  • Keep content fresh; remember to update your website
  • Blogging is important and is great for SEO, but it must provide value and education for your clients (would you rather read a page of my notes or a novella? I agree blogging is painful sometimes, but it helps increase SEO. And what else am I gonna do on a Sunday when the family is watching football? Unless of course it's the Patriots and Tom Brady is playing :-) darn, none of those last few sentences contain my web design or business consulting keywords... write for HUMANS not SEO, then the SEO will come naturally.
  • Make content shareable and social - use Facebook Share and Like buttons, and any other form of social media.
  • Use a variety of elements to convey your message: videos that are relevant, audio clips, imagery, logos, games and tools (otherwise known as widgets). Don't go crazy though, don't use unnecessary tools that confuse or clutter
  • Use testimonials - it's sometimes hard to get people to give testimonials, but if you ask them in an email after a job well done, they will be happy to long as there is a link to your testimonial page or they can just reply back you can copy and paste it on your website.
  • The more proof the better; recommendations are powerful! 

4. Conversation 

  • Effective Calls to Action (CTA) blah blah blah... a fancy word for BUTTON, which is a "Contact Us" or "Email Us" use buttons that are easy to read and link to where they say they are going to. I'm always reviewing my buttons and just added another one to my homepage "Make My Website". You need to clearly state what the button does and make the font big enough that they can read it without squinting. Your button can link to a page in your website, an email address, another website, or a file that is a document or graphic. They can be used very effectively so you don't give out too much info at once. Of course I seem to be a hoarder, I like to put too much stuff on my pages so I need to practice what I preach and clean up my pages and CTAs.
  • CTA positioning - above and below the fold. The fold is the bottom of the page that comes up. You can scroll down of course, but CTA needs to be on each part of the page. If my page is 3 pages long (which I don't recommend) then I need to be sure that the CTAs are in each section (this is for the lazy people with ADD).
  • Some studies say the CTAs need to be on the bottom right, but it should be placed wherever it works best for your content
  • Use thank you pages, such as, thank you for submitting an inquiry/email blah blah blah....
  • Landing pages - different than HOME pages. Landing pages can contain a special or ad and is usually hidden from the navigation menu. Landing page is like an ad and needs a title, brief description of deal, and photo, and a CTA like a button that links to a form for them to fill out. *collect only the information you need, people are hesitant to give out information (and lazy...guess we can add paranoid to that). I know that when someone asks me for a credit card or even my phone number, I'm outta there...
  • Forms - speaking of CTA forms - just ask for name and email and message.

Conclusion: You need a website, keep it simple, design it for lazy people with ADD and a bit of paranoia, make it mobile, make it pretty, and make it functional. Convince your audience you have value for them and they need you. Give them buttons, and don't ask too much from them. I hope my notes gave you VALUE. 


If you do not have a website for your business, then email me and I can create one for you for $299, up to 10 pages. I will keep it simple, dazzling but not blinking; I'll design your website with good content and keywords, tell you more about organic SEO than you ever wanted to hear, and identify your internet marketing needs. I make free mobile websites for all of my clients, and I link your social media (in-bound links). You don't need to spend thousands on a website! Contact Me:


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