Being a media and marketing company I encounter bad websites on a daily basis. Granted there are different levels of bad, and in general your website will never be perfect as technology continues to evolve. Right now someone can point their Iphone at your business and get all the reviews that are posted on yelp and other review sites.
Businesses need to think seriously about hiring a web firm that is not just concerned with building a website for your company. In this day and age just having a website is not enough for most businesses to stay with or ahead of their competition. A good web company will not only build a website for you that will build sales and/ or leads but will also put together a marketing plan to effectively increase the exposure of your brand throughout the web.
I have put together a list of ten things you or your web company can do to increase the effectiveness of your website.
1. Add a blog.
Blogs are an excellent way to communicate with your customers. Believe it or not many business owners struggle with what to blog about. It is one of those things were it is right in front of your face and that is why you don’t see it. Blog about your business. If you sell intrinsic products like wine, blogging about your products should be easy. Gary Vaynerchuk has “Crushed it” with his vlog WineLibrary TV by tasting and informing the public about wine. You can also blog about how customers are using your products. Sell cameras or video equipment? ask customers to send you their creations so you can post and discuss them on your blog. Notice I used the word discuss, blogs with there commenting features can foster communities that revolve around your brand.
Their are also a lot of marketing and search engine optimization benefits to having a blog. I could go on and on about how much a blog can assist you in building your companies web presence. Their are entire blogs devoted to the art of successful blogging. One that I like is Problogger. Use it as a resource as you grow your companies blog. Last note about blogging is that you must be committed to update it on a consistent basis, having a dormant blog is no better than no blog at all. It can even be detrimental to the growth of your business if you let it sit without new content for too long. Whatever community you had built up will leave and look for other sources “maybe your competitors” to get the information they were seeking.
2. Add an “effective” lead capture element.
The contact form buried on the last page of your site is not an effective lead capture system. Put your website to work. It could turn out to be your best salesman. The best way to capture leads from your website is to offer something of value to your visitors in exchange for as little information as possible, getting a name and email is usually all you need. The more information you ask for the less likely that you are going to convert leads. It is important that what you offer is something valuable to your visitors. If you are a fitness trainer offering them a free session would be an excellent offer, not only does it get you a lead, it gets you in front of your prospect to convince them of the value of your service. Brainstorm on your value proposition and place this offer prominently on your website or on a landing page.
3. Connect your website to where your target demographic lives on the web. (Social Media).
Social media is here to stay and growing at astronomical rates. Let your visitors know that you are connected and participating in social media. Depending on your demographic certain social media sites may make more since than others for your business. Facebook ( 355 million people + and the complete range of demographics) and Twitter should be used by every business. Once again this is a subject that I could spend a lot of time on. Bottom Line: Integrate your website with social media.
4. Got Analytics?
You need to know where you are to plan where your going. Google Analytics is free and is very comprehensive in its traffic reports. You can use this information to develop a strategy to increase traffic to your website. It will also allow you to track sales and conversions.
5. Video, Video, Video.
Video can accomplish so much for your business. Types of videos you can release : typical TV type commercial (not my favorite for the web) , how tos, demos, creative skits, educational, and the list goes on..
The secret to video on the web is to give value even if it is just the value of entertainment, if you can combine high entertainment value with high content value. You have what I call the peanut butter cup formula. Your video will be just like putting chocolate and peanut butter together =Awesome!
6. Improve the design.
Do an honest evaluation of your website’s design. Is it ugly? You have 10 seconds or less to capture your visitors attention, and the aesthetics of your website are a huge factor on getting visitors to stay longer. Ask those around you that you trust to give you an honest critique of the design of your site. Friends don’t let friends have ugly websites. Make sure that the look of your site is cohesive with the rest of your branding. Many times the best idea is to keep it simple with a nice two color design.
It is also important to make sure the site looks good in all the major browsers (Internet Explore, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome). Unfortunately browsers do not all play by the same rules. Things can look “out of place” on one browser and not another. Also unless you are a musician , Do not have music play automatically on your site, it can distract the visitor away from your core message. I generally feel the same about video that auto plays. One of the exceptions for video would be landing pages, a lot of times the visitor is told specifically that they are going there to view a video.
7. Dumb it down.
The copy on your site should be understandable to the majority of the general public. Unless you are selling only to those within your industry, do not use “industry terms”. Your copy should not focus on technical specs or even features. Instead it should let the visitor know the benefits of and problems that your product or service will solve. The user should not need an instruction book to use your website. For some sites it makes sense to outline the steps you want your visitors to take while on the website. Navigating your site should not feel like running through a maze.
8. Search Engine Optimize.
Need a better ranking on Google? Search engine optimizing your site is one thing that can give you a huge boost against your competition. This especially true in local markets. In a lot of areas it is a level playing field, most businesses competing in a local market have poorly search engine optimized sites. You should hire a search engine optimization specialist to research where your industry stands as far as the competitiveness for search engine ranking. You may be surprised that there may be a huge opportunity to leapfrog your competition. As the level you want to compete on (local, regional, national) goes up so does the competition. Some industries are easier to compete in than others as well. The cost of Search engine optimization also goes up based on those dynamics. Many search engine optimization specialist will do work on a mix of results based commission and a flat fee. If you are interested Arcimedia does offer this service and would love to help you get your business a better search engine rank.
Believe it or not I have been to numerous websites that “forgot” to sell me anything or had their pitch buried deep in their website. If I am searching for a new front door, I am inclined to buy a new front door. I will buy from the first site that effectively sells me that front door. Yes, I want to know more about your business but I came looking first and foremost for a door. Once again, think benefits and problems solved when creating the copy for your website. Your pitch should be in the main content of your home page. By the way, remember the blog I talked about at the beginning, that is a excellent place to do more “brand building” and share more non-sales information about your business. You can also sell from a blog but that is not its main purpose. Also do not bury your contact information – It should be above the fold and preferably in the very top portion of your site. Also include testimonials on your home page and let other happy customers assist you in creating more happy customers. Note: This list is not in order of importance, if it was selling would be 1 and lead generation 2.
10. Treat your website like a tool and not a billboard!
Your website should encompass most or all of the following things:
- Capturing Leads
- Making sales
- Building your brand
- Growing – In both traffic and functionality.
- Using analytics information to test different copy and design ideas and to seek out new traffic and expand on existing traffic.
- Connecting with your customers -Using a blog, social media, and if appropriate video.
- Educating your customers on the benefits of your product or service (remember to sell first)
For fun check out Web pages that suck.
Looking for inspiration? The following sites are sites that do most or all of the things I described above.
aaronbrothers.com – could expand even further with videos and a blog.
Winelibrary.com – as mentioned earlier Gary V is Crushin It!
beachfitnow.com – a client of Arcimedia who is in the early stages of developing her web presence but already has a great foundation set up.
So now I have given you a “road map” to make your website perform at an optimal level. If you need an experienced team that is dedicated to the success of your business on the web call us 843-200-5034 or visit our website Arcimedia or our blog Superhero Marketing. We are offering a Free website analysis that will let you know what we would do specifically with your site so that it can operate at it’s full potential.( I didn’t forget to sell) If you need a superstar social media consultant and someone to help you get connected with all the right people contact Mary Kurek .