With many brands focusing increasingly on social media channels, websites tend to be left behind at times, and are frequently neglected. Yet, when a lead or prospect is searching the web for a company and or products, his/her starting point will focus most likely on finding a website, and not a Facebook page. If the site is not capturing, informative, and useful, the company risks loosing the lead to a competitor who offers a better experience on their website.
As such, an organization’s website must be attractive (but not distracting), easy to navigate, focused, and action-driven. It must also incorporate tools that provide the webmaster with measurable KPIs that can be used to continuously improve performance.
Attractive versus Distracting
Some websites we come across look great in terms of design, colors, and images, but distract the visitor from what’s important; your brand, products, services, and core value propositions (why they should do business with you and not someone else). As is the case with ads, images and multimedia files are meant to capture attention and divert that to what matters, the content.
Your website needs to be designed and structured in a way that guides visitors to where you want them to be at. They won’t jump to your products right away, which is why you have to convince them to click through multiple levels. Hence, your home (landing) page is of a very comprehensive nature and includes at a high level all that the visitor would initially want to learn about your company.
If that is appealing, he/ she may click through to the second level, and which could be an overview of a particular group of services. At this point, you have the luxury of elaborating more about the various benefits he/she will gain from doing business with you. Keep in mind, you are not talking about a particular service or product yet, but rather about what “is in it for you”, with “you” referring to the visitor.
Based on how appealing those benefits are, the visitor will now (hopefully) click through to the next tier, and which talks about a specific service you offer. He/she is now interested enough as evident from the multiple click-throughs and wants to know the details. Be thorough but don’t overdo it.
Now that your visitor has clicked through to the final tier of your website, it is safe to assume that he/she is seriously interested and ready for the next step; a transaction or conversion. Your website needs to provide ample opportunities of engagement at this point, such as downloadable product specs, or other call-for-action tools (e.g. call us, sign up for our newsletter, schedule a meeting, request a call, etc.)
If you sell your products online, this is where you will offer check-out options. It is also very important for your website to entice the visitor to share his contact details at this point so that your sales team can follow-up by phone or email. You really don’t want to lose the visitor at this stage of his/her experience on your website, especially if he/she has a basked filled with goodies, but left the site right before the check-out screen.
Thanks to (literally) free tools such as Google Analytics, you have access to an incredibly valuable resource to measure the performance of your website. It’s as easy as setting up a free account, and embedding the tracking code provided within your website. Google Analytics will do all the rest for you and provide you with a wealth of information that you can use to continuously improve your website’s performance by tweaking and fine-tuning its structure and content.
Ease of use
Your website will be updated very frequently, often on a daily basis. Whether you hired a company to develop your website or decided to do it yourself, make sure the technology that powers your site is modern and easy to use. For example, Flash websites look great but can’t be used on iPads and iPhones, and they are incredibility difficult to webmaster.
It is critical to make sure you maintain complete and absolute ownership of your website from the very out start. That includes your domain name and its annual registration process, the original files, and access to the content management solution that is used to make updates and changes. If you hired a company to build your site, make sure this is in the contract. You also want to make sure you have a user account with full and unlimited admin privileges. This is often called a “super user” just in case you get “locked out” for any reason.
Ideally, your website will integrate seamlessly with a number of other tools you use for marketing purposes. For example, when someone signs up to your newsletter, his/her contact details should go straight into the service you use for that purpose (e.g. ChimpMail or iContact), and not land in your inbox in the form of an email notification. Your site should also link to your Facebook page to display latest updates, your YouTube channel to list all those nice videos you have, your Flickr page so you have great photo albums that are updated automatically as you add new images, and so forth.
Make your website the focus of your online presence
Whatever other online marketing tactics you practice, you should always make sure everything leads to your website, which is where the real conversion will happen. Hence, your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and your email shots, should all offer a short preview of all the great stuff that can be found on your professional website with the ease of a click.
Just imaging you visit a website that displays “recent announcements” on its home page, and the most recent post dates back to March 2011. Will you continue browsing that site? Most likely not, as you will rightfully assume that the site hasn’t been updated in two years.
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
This article has been written and posted by Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting, LLC. Distribution, copying, and sharing is only authorized and permissible if no changes/ alterations are made to the content and appearance of this publication. Credit must be given to the publisher at all times by including this paragraph in any distribution. For additional articles, visit our website. To request an article about a specific topic you are interested in, please contact us with your request.