Most books on search marketing focus on either the technical aspects of SEO or paid search, or on how to adapt traditional marketing strategies to the web. Web Design For ROI, by Lance Loveday and Sandra Niehaus, is unique in its sharp focus on making your web site accomplish what should be its primary goal: conversion.
Conversion can mean many things, depending on the purpose of your web site. Conversion can mean getting people to buy, getting leads to provide contact information, recruiting subscribers for an email list—even getting site visitors to spend more time on your site and view or click on more ads. Ultimately, all commercial web sites should be about getting your visitors to convert—otherwise, what’s the point?
Unfortunately, many web sites fail to maximize their conversion potential. This failure is typically caused by many factors: search-hostile design, poor user interface, conflicting needs of key stakeholders within an organization—the list is virtually endless. But other failures are mistakes of omission rather than commission—the site simply lacks key elements that could ease and facilitate the path to ultimate conversion.
Web Design For ROI uses conversion as its focal point, while looking at both the big picture as well as the details of compelling web design. Big picture chapters include “Web design for ROI: A novel concept,” “Business case,” and “Managing for ROI.” Each of these chapters is loaded with useful information that can help marketers lobby for budget and resources, speaking the language of managers and bean-counters who may not care about the nitty-gritty details of search marketing.
The remaining chapters take a close look on key aspects of web design, again, each focused on how to improve that all-important metric, conversion rate. You’ll find great tips on creating compelling landing page, home pages, category and detail pages, forms and checkout processes. Most of these aren’t directly related to pure search marketing tasks, but all play a critical role in making sure that your search marketing efforts ultimately pay off.
It’s a gorgeous book, replete with full-color screenshots with callouts that illustrate key points. And the writing is pithy and crisp, authoritative but friendly in tone. It reminds me a lot of Strunk’s classic The Elements of Style, a book I turned to constantly when I was learning (really learning) to write.
Web Design For ROI should be essential reading for anyone just starting out at search marketing. But it’s also a book that’s valuable even to experienced web developers and search marketers, as it consistently highlights both best practices and mistakes made by even well-intentioned sites. If you’re looking for ways to improve your web site, this is a book, like The Elements of Style, that you should be referring to again and again.
Web Design For ROI
by Lance Loveday and Sandra Niehaus