A well-designed website can deliver low-cost leads even as other lead sources grow more expensive. But if you haven't reworked your site recently, it may be as dated as Granny's wallpaper. Think about:

  • SEO. If your website offers well-organized, useful information, you don't need a tech wizard to get it on page one of organic search. Go to Feedthebot.com and, in a couple of hours, you can understand the basics of search engine/website interaction and how to move your site up the page.
  • Design. Today's most successful home­pages resemble a page from a national consumer magazine: one or two large, relevant images; a clear, compelling headline with subhead; and an index that takes you to the "story" on the subject that interests you. The homepage should have visible links to product pages from words, like "siding."
    Organize for logical sequence and design for graphic clarity. Never tell two stories on one page. You can have as many pages as you want.
  • Landing pages. Most home­owners come in search of a product, not a company. If users land on a cluttered homepage, the bounce rate (i.e., people who glance for a few seconds and leave) will be high. Better to create a discrete landing page for each product you offer and support that with product details on subsequent pages. Sell the energy savings of your triple glazing before you tout your firm's Better Business Bureau record.
  • Video. A couple of years ago, the new technology of borderless video swept the Internet: a guy walks across the homepage, covering up some of the text while talking to you. It was arresting and, after a while, annoying.

On the other hand, digital marketing researchers say that video on a landing page can more than triple conversion rate. My advice: Keep the video less than 90 seconds long and use animation or footage of the product being installed or in use, and include customer testimonials. ?John Stevens is a partner with Peterson|Stevens, an advertising agency specializing in brand-building and lead generation for the home improvement industry. www.petersonstevens.com.