Flashy graphics and award-winning design are great, but if your visitors can't easily navigate your site, they're going to leave. Focus your attention on creating a user-friendly experience first and look to the more complicated design elements later.
Easy-to-find contact info
It might sound obvious, but some websites make this more difficult than necessary. You don't want your potential clients to have to dig for your contact information. Make sure it's clear and simple to find a phone number, email or contact form.
The images you choose to use on your site, especially on your homepage, should be relevant to your business and high-quality. Low-quality images are a quick way to cheapen your site's appearance, so put a little extra time and effort in selecting the main images on your site.
Video is a fantastic way to connect with your audience. Focus on behind-the-scenes videos that show the human side of your process, or interviews that help showcase your team.
Inviting feedback from your guests is a great way to build engagement and make improvements. Polls are a quick, easy way to interact with site visitors, and they tend to be simple to update or change.
Useful content for email list
Building an email list is an important way to keep up with your leads and clients. Offering up infographics, short e-books and articles can be exchanged for emails and contact information.
Related articles and posts
Here is a simple way to get blog readers to stick around longer: Give them suggestions for what to read next. There are many different tools and ways to do this, but the idea is there will be related posts listed at the end of each blog post.
Call to action
As you're designing your site or adding something new, always have a call to action in mind. What are the top three things you want people to do or accomplish from visiting your site? Make those the focus of your homepage, and choose secondary calls to action for additional pages.
Reviews and references
Credibility is key, so having a page to highlight your work and reviews from happy customers is important. Consumers are going to do their research, so reviews are an important marketing tool.
Again, see "effective design." A beautiful design and amazing images are basically useless if you have a site that stalls, lags or doesn't load properly. That will cost you visitors.
Finally, your social media presence can be a boon for your site and business. The goal is to be found, so a collaborative effort between your website and social media outlets can really boost your marketing goals.