Who needs a large sales force when your company website can do the hard work for you? Both B2B and B2C companies are realizing the need to make their websites more effective and optimize them to generate qualified leads.

So where can you start your optimization efforts? These seven universal optimization techniques will vault your online lead generation efforts into overdrive.

Reduce distractions, reduce clutter

People really do care what your website looks like, especially if they can't find what they're looking for. Making your website easier to use starts with removing distractions and unnecessary visual elements. Identify over-designed elements on key pages and eliminate or redesign them. If you want more leads from your website, think about ways to simplify and cut the clutter so people can actually find (and easily read) the information they seek.

Include a call to action on every page

Individual web pages should have a singular purpose. The copy, graphics, and page elements should reinforce that purpose, and including a prominent call to action will help entice people to take the next step. In case you're wondering, linking to a contact page with the words "click here" isn't enough. Don't assume that your sales prospects will know how your product or service will benefit them -- specifically state in a customer-focused way how they will benefit from your product or service.

Improve website navigation

Too many websites have "content silos," or sections of a website that can only be navigated by using primary website navigation. If you don't interlink content on your website, you're missing out on an opportunity. Not only will linking to other content on your site improve your website's SEO, it will allow people to navigate your site better and learn more about the benefits of your products and services. Visitors may also learn about products or services they didn't even knew you offered, and it will keep them on your website longer, giving you more of an opportunity to convince them to contact your company.

Add a contact form on nearly every page

Rather than making people hunt for a small "Contact" link, add a contact form on nearly every page of your website. Forms take up more real estate so they are easier to find, and we've seen during website testing that people's eyes are naturally drawn to forms.

Be sure to keep contact forms simple. The initial contact is not the place to ask detailed questions. Capture only essential information.

Perform usability testing to identify incremental design and content changes

Usability testing is crucial to improving your website. Testing your website with real people in your target demographic helps find design flaws and weak content. During usability tests, you'll often find that participants will ask questions or make comments that can give you ideas to improve your website design and copy. For extra ideas, test your competitors' websites as well.

You don't have to redesign your entire website to make usability improvements. In many cases, changing just a few things at a time can help you fine-tune the effectiveness of a page or page template. 

Analyze website usage

I can't stress the value of website analytics enough. Too many business managers simply look at website traffic and shrug off the rest. You must realize that actually analyzing your website data can dramatically affect your bottom line. Don't know where to begin? Identify pages with high bounce rates or exit rates and make a list of potential things that could be causing people to leave those pages.

If you don't have time for a deep dive into your web analytics or don't have the skills to do it, hire a professional analyst. True case study: One of our ecommerce clients hired us to diagnose an ecommerce conversion rate problem. An analysis revealed that few people were adding items to their shopping cart. We noticed that most of the search engine traffic searched for phrases including "cheap" and "free." We set up a segment that excluded those searches, and the rate at which people added items to their shopping cart was almost 3 times higher! With just web analytics, we found that they had optimized their website for the keywords that attracted the wrong kind of shopper.

Put your phone number on every page of your website

This almost goes without saying, but placing your phone number on every page of your website prevents prospects from having to hunt for it. Don't make the mistake of thinking that everyone prefers email. 70 percent of one client's sales leads come in by phone!

It's also important to track phone calls originating from your website. Installing phone call analytics on your company website does more than just let you know how many people are calling from your website. It also can tell you how many calls were not answered or went to voice mail, what time of day or what days of the week most of your sales calls occur, what zip codes calls originate from, which online advertisements are the most effective and much more.

Do you want to find out how real customers use your website? Do you need a deep analysis of your website usage to diagnose website issues? Do you want to start tracking phone calls originating from your website? Perhaps your company website may need a website redesign. We can help -- contact us here.

How to attract and sell to more customers using your website