Is Your Website Working For or Against You?
When clients and prospects hit your website, what do they see? Do they feel welcome? Can they find the information they seek? Are you capturing their attention, loyalty, and contact information with value-adds and a call to action? In essence, is your website working for or against you?
Websites are not just a place to display pretty pictures, say a few niceties about your firm, and then ignore the vehicle. Your website needs to be the hub of your entire digital marketing ecosystem. It needs to work for you. How? Lets cover the basics:
Make it Welcoming
Design and Stationary Content – Granted, pretty pictures alone will not do the trick, but your website does need to incorporate some basic design aesthetics to indicate you are a legitimate business. Your value proposition should be very clear so visitors know what you do, how this helps them, and why you do what you do. Be sure to also include information on your services and key staff members, but remember, tell the reader how these products and people meet their needs (not yours). While this content may not change frequently, you should review it at least once a year to make any necessary updates, and more often if you have key personnel, service or product changes.
Navigation – Make moving around your website easy by using menus and drop-down submenus with clear and understandable titles. Consider the placement and flow of information from the users’ standpoint, and be sure to include a search option.
Mobile Compatible – Your website needs to scale with smartphones and tablets. For more information on this topic, check out some of my recent blogs: Mobile Growth Drives Content, Mobile-Friendly Websites Now a Must, and Do You Have a Mobile Mindset?
Inbound and Outbound Marketing Hub
Blogs and Articles – Your eNewsletters and social media posts should drive people to your website so they can read your newsworthy and compelling blogs and articles. This content provides a value-add to your contacts, helps establish your industry expertise, and grows your reach.
Social Media icons – Include these links so people can follow your company on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other appropriate platforms for your industry.
Calls to Action—Use your website to gain permission-based marketing leads by inviting visitors to step behind what I like to call the “velvet rope.” In essence, you provide videos, special tips, resource guides, eBooks, etc., in exchange for first obtaining contact data. Make the offers compelling so visitors will happily provide their contact information; they obtain something of value, and you build your contacts list.
eNewsletter Subscription—Provide a separate widget so visitors can subscribe to your monthly eNewsletter. This gives you another permission-based marketing tool and lead generator.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)—Include keywords in your content and on your website to raise your Google appeal. However, don’t just throw around a bunch of “in” words without providing the content to back up those topics.
Keep it Fresh—Your Google appeal is also bolstered by having an evolving website. Adding regular blogs, articles, videos and other new content lets Google know your site is not stale.
Granted, there are a lot of moving pieces with this website approach. However, in today’s overly wired world you cannot afford to ignore your website and its role in your marketing plan. Remember, there is a huge payoff: Make your website a digital marketing hub and it works for you!