I think it is safe to say that in today's market place that your company's website is a direct reflection of your products or services, and the conscious and subconscious impression you leave with your visitors. In essence – it is the hub of your marketing!
For this reason – before you embark on designing or otherwise redesigning your website there are a few things to carefully consider – all of which stem back to one simple acid test question:
Does this simply address our objective for this site?
Now onto some specifics; for those of you who have taken any form of Marketing studies the below should look very familiar. For those who have not – the 4 P's of Marketing have provided time and again to work as a good framework for most marketing decision.
The following breaks out the 4 P's – and provides questions that you must be able to answer before jumping into any web project and of course our own thoughts on the matter.
Place: Duh Online
Is the URL of your going to be branded or keyword focused?
Our preference is to always go branded for a companies main site – keyword rich URLs are great – but their place is usually on standalone blog, or pitch sites
Will you be running a blog and hosting your product / business information on the same URL?
We have had success with both and the answer should depend on the type of blogging you will be doing. If you want to bring in guest bloggers – and put your brand a bit in the background – hosting your blog on a keyword rich URL, along with sponsored reasons of your business can always help. The downside is of course that some people will confuse the two unless you properly delineate the differences and keep branding across the sites consistent.
Product: Simplicity ALWAYS Wins!
What does your brand represent and why should anyone care? This type of thinking is not reserved just for the mega brands of the world!
When it comes to the web – the product could simply be the content on your website, your blog or just as easily products listed on an eCommerce site. We are not too concerned about your product is but more so how you are presenting the information.
Please, please, please do not use generic – long winded marketing talk on your site. Think of the content on your site as an asset; invest in it, make it interesting and make it work for you!
Aside from videos, compiling graphics, charts and testimonials – there must be clear calls to actions on each and every page so the visitor can easily help you achieve your objective without a prerequisite being that they are a brain surgeon!
For example, if you are a real estate agent and capturing a visitors contact information is your main objective, make sure you do so by creating big – beautiful contact forms with compelling incentives to complete them. If you are an eCommerce site, make sure you reduce the number of obstacles that prevent your users from purchasing to the absolute bare minimum.
Every page you have must have a call to action or a path you would like to take the user on. If it the homepage, maybe you want to direct them to one of your services pages so the user can learn more about your site. If they are on your service page maybe you want them to click the buy now button. If they are on your blog page maybe you want to capture their contact information to send them a monthly newsletter so they will always have a top of mind awareness of your brand. It is also very important to have a great and logical linking structure to your site. So if your user is reading content on your site and it sparks another thought or question, having a link right there that they can jump to makes complete sense. Also, in site linking is great for SEO!
Price: What is your Value Exchange and is it Justified?
If you do have a site where you sell anything from cars to didgeridoos you should give more options to the user than to just BUY NOW.
If you are a B2B company – you should not only be asking your visitors to call your sales people or person or you!
Many visitors require coaxing, and a level of trust before they can commit to anything. How are you providing to your visitors that your brand is trustworthy?
One way to achieve a level of trust is to setup a conversion funnel across your site – PS. This works for non-eCommerce site too so B2Bers please pay attention.
Let's assume the first thing that happens is that your visitors land on your beautifully jaw dropping homepage where they can easily see how awesome and legitimate your company is.
On the homepage you have a gigantic button that says Learn More – or you might want them to click on a Pulitzer Prize awarded article of yours, that's great the user clicks.
Now, hopefully in the page you sent them to there are more links and fancy buttons where the user can click around and continue to immerse themselves in your brand. The more effort you put into making things interesting the more likely they are to be curious as to what you are selling and click on through your final to the product page and then the pricing page and then to the contact or sale page.
If they do not purchase you want some other form of interest preservation here. For this it is definitely worth looking into Google Re-marketing, which allows you to follow your visitors around the web displaying advertisements using Google's ad platform.
Promotion (Guest Blogging to Infinity and Beyond)
Okay, your site is on the internet so the main marketing principle should be SEO. Having a website does not matter if no one can find it! So before you start building or of course rebuilding your site find a few keywords that you want to optimize your site for and build them into your pages from the start.
Consider the URLs, page extensions, the titles on your page and the body content. Do not worry if you are reading this and you feel like you missed your opportunity to make your site an SEO juggernaut, everything can be fixed! In the SEO world you have to know when to admit to your mistakes, cut your losses find new keywords and start over.
For new site owners, there is never a better time to start your SEO campaign then today! Even if your site is months away from launch. All you need is a logo and welcome page, or even a launch page using one of the cool services out there.
Once you have these, get cracking and start writing blog posts around the web – interacting in forums and on social channels all with mentions of your site. Doing so will not only help the sites SEO value but also alert the world that you exist and help you climb to the top quicker once your site is actually launched!
More resources can be found at Our Business Blog .