There was once a point in time where websites were just basic informational pages on the internet. No one really knew what the purpose of them was, but some people and businesses felt that they needed one. Nevertheless, many long-standing businesses survived for years without a website. The newspaper, phone book, magazine ads, radio spots, TV commercials, telemarketing, and door-to-door sales were traditional methods that helped grow business. Obviously, with the growing popularity of the Internet, everything changed. Today, most business owners realize that they need a website, but some are still unsure why.
Before you focus on building a website, it is important to identify what prompted you to consider redesigning or creating a new website. Chances are two things are happening: First, you are not generating new leads or growing your business as effectively as you once did and second, your industry has become hyper-competitive. If your business falls into one or both of these identifiers, then a website is one part of the solution to your business challenge. It is a critical part of the equation, but not all of it.
What you need to understand is that a website is more than just a typical, aesthetically pleasing, brochure site. It needs to be more than the self-focused, let-me-tell-you-everything-about-me-and-not-focus-on-you, type of strategy. Your website is a powerful tool used for converting visitors into leads and leads into life-long customers. As you consider creating a new website for your business, focus on three key goals that will drive your website design and development strategy:
- Align your website with your business goals.
- Build a website that is conversion driven.
- Create a website that is marketable.
Align Your Website With Your Business Goals:
What are you looking to accomplish with your new website? Your answer should be, “I want to grow my business.” What does that actually look like? If your business is a B2B model and you are providing a service to your clients, then your website should take a problem-solutions approach. Your website should focus on the key challenges that your target market is facing and it should reflect how your service or product can address those challenges through your valuable solution. Don’t try to speak to everyone under the sun. Identify who your ideal customer is and build the website and information provided to engage that core audience. It is important to establish what the value is of one new client and, from your experience, what the typical sales cycle and timeline is from when you first engage with a prospect to when they sign on. To reach your business goals, which must be attainable as a short term and long term strategy, figure out how many phone calls, demos, or inquiries your website would need to generate to get that one client, and start planning your site accordingly.
Build a Website that is Conversion Driven
If your website is supposed to be the center of your marketing efforts and the point at which visitors are transformed into leads, then it should provide multiple opportunities to engage with your visitors. What is it going to take to generate that one new client? An average person visits multiple websites as a part of their decision making process, so you have to utilize call-to-actions to motivate the visitor to connect with you and not just bounce from your site. Every visitor is a potential lead. Calls-to-action can be free downloads, e-books, case studies, suggestions to schedule a meeting, talking to an expert, offering a free consultation, scheduling a demo, and even live chats. All of these are great ways to generate some contact information and provide opportunities for your web visitors to take another step in this relationship.
Create a Website that is Marketable
Unique, relevant content is what will make your website substantial. Content that clearly communicates your business, solution, and values is best. What many people overlook when creating their website is the implications of the site as it relates to search engines. To build a site that is marketable, you have to ensure that the website is built on a search engine friendly Content Management System (CMS)—WordPress is the most commonly used CMS. The CMS allows you to update content areas of your site, create new pages, and effectively apply the technical on-site search engine optimization strategies that are essential to help with online visibility. Make sure every page is indexed properly by applying the correct page descriptions and tags (metadata) to all your content pages. Also, plan out your navigational site map before start the design process. Consider what the breakdown of the site will be, what similar pages your competitors have, and what pages are needed to help you begin your pursuit of high page rankings for competitive keywords.
Is creating a website the solution to your business challenges? If a site is well-built, and is mindful of future marketing initiatives and goals, it will certainly have its benefits. For more valuable insights pertaining to your business, get in touch with one of our Chicago SEO strategists at OneIMS, and we will be happy to not only guide you in the right direction, but help you execute the initiatives.