Is Your Website Working For You?
It seems that every business today has a web site. And your business probably does to, but ask yourself honestly, who is looking at your site? Do you even know? Do you have examples of websites that work?
It is one thing to have a website, and another thing to possess a site that is working for you. A website that sells your products, communicates your business strategy, creates new business leads, emanates your company image, and works hard for your business when you’re not even there. Imagine such a dedicated employee working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
Well that is what your website could be doing for you, as long as there is someone looking at it!
How many people have paid designers to build fabulous sites for their business, that do little more than sit there… stale, uninspiring or worse, no traffic. Let’s take a look at look at what makes websites that work.
As a graphic design studio, naturally we prefer that a website be visually engaging, easy to navigate and in line with your company image. But for websites that work to gain high traffic they must also be fast and rich in content. What is the common thing that all web users are looking for when they get onto the internet? Information, answers to their problems and solutions.
When starting a web site from scratch, or overhauling an existing site, you must have a very clear plan and an overall layout before you start! Planning is everything.
When a potential customer or client is on-line they are generally not looking for you. They are looking for information, and they are happy to take that from anybody. So give your viewer what they want. Turn your specific industry knowledge into a high quality, informative resource. Not just company information, but useful, specialised industry related topics that add value and relevance to your website.
Give your potential clients a reason to find you and stay with you and even to return to your website. Give them the opportunity to build an ongoing relationship and utilise your expertise. The more information and advice you give away for free, the more you will gain in the long run. Future clients who are prepared to pay for your expert services or products will have already developed a respect and an understanding of your services just from regularly visiting your site.
Another advantage to having a website rich in content is that it will be perceived in a more favourable light by search engines. The higher your web site’s ranking, the more traffic you will attract. Website content is one of the main criteria for determining a site’s rank. And with a high ranking, all of a sudden your business becomes exposed to a number of viewers you never thought possible, all without spending a cent on advertising. (If you want to learn more about Search Engine Optimisation, read this section in our Website Design Business Packages.)
Another great tool to making your website work better for your business is to incorporate an e-newsletter. The benefits to your business are endless. Firstly you are building a data base of potential customer/clients who you can keep informed of upcoming promotions and specials, and secondly you are also establishing a positive ongoing relationship with your potential customer. And thirdly, by distributing an e-newsletter monthly or bi-monthly you will also instate top-of-mind recognition with the recipient.
Websites that work often include the ever increasing e-business solutions. It is commonly reported that a person will visit a website up to seven times before deciding to purchase products from that site. Ask yourself if someone would be motivated to return to your site a second time, let alone seven. Do you offer anything in your website that would keep them coming back?
One thing to consider if you have an on-line shop, is it to tap into a niche market. Find a niche market relevant to your product or service that isn’t being serviced well, and then go for it. Become the expert in that field, provide lots of free information, and then watch your ranking climb and your traffic increase.
An example of this is a website that sells books on-line. The market you would be servicing would be a very broad one indeed and is already well serviced by the major bookshops. So it would actually make better business sense to streamline the products offered and focus on a particular area that you personally are interested in.
For instance if you were interested in self help and natural therapies, this would be a niche market you already understand and you could incorporate lots of free information on your site which would draw in your target market. Offer an e-newsletter to keep your potential clientele updated on upcoming releases and specials, and build up an ongoing relationship which would keep interested people coming back to your site, with the end result of developing a loyal following and then hopefully purchasing your products.
You may feel that by doing this you are lessening your market, when in actual fact by being more specific with your products, you are able to streamline your marketing direction and concentrate solely on one demographic rather than many. After all, it is a world wide community that we are servicing!
To sum it all up plainly and simply, if you get your website content, layout and niche marketing right first, and then concentrate on selling your product, the rest should follow suit.
And last but not least, a website that works well, should look good and load fast and be mobile friendly. It reflects your corporate image, the colour scheme is flattering, the fonts and layout is consistent, the download time is efficient and it is easy to navigate. It doesn’t need to be the latest and greatest Flash animation, just well laid out and flowing.
To achieve this, and if your budget can accommodate it, you really should hire the services of an experienced website designer. A DIY web site will work for a while, but when it comes to your corporate image and competing in the marketplace, (unless you really know what you are doing) DIY generally just doesn’t make the grade. Icon Innovations can help, if you would like to know more or even take the first step in gaining more insight, take a look at our services for small to medium sized business.
The beauty of presenting your company within a website is that you can actually compete with large multinational companies, even if you are a husband and wife team operating from the kitchen table! It is all about perception and quality. Offer a fabulous service, an excellent product, fast delivery and competitive pricing and you will reach your market. You just need to make sure that your website is high in informed content and reflects the company image you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
A website that works should be your company’s highest priority and greatest asset, not a white elephant.