… and so getting it right is not an optional endeavour that you can afford to leave to chance.
In ‘Keeping your website active’ we looked at why leaving your website hanging in mid-air is not the way to gain customers or grow your website. Increasingly, businesses are realising that their online presence needs constant attention but, not just so it climbs the search engine rankings, but because it is the most effective marketing tool they have. It is certainly one of the biggest investments you will make.
Here, we give you our top 10 tips to ensure your website is your best marketing tool…
Tip 1: your website address
If you are at the start of your online journey or are looking to upgrade your website with an exciting revamp, you need to take a few moments to consider your web address. In most cases, companies buy the name of business as a domain name, which is all well and good should that be available. However, there are cases when this is not possible and so, you begin the hunt for a domain address that suits your business.
Short, memorable web addresses are known to work best and then, once in place, make sure you plaster this web address over everything – from your business card to your email signature, to the leaflets being pushed through doors to the advert in the local press!
Tip 2: Review your website
Again, this is for established websites. We have talked previously on reviewing the content on your website, including performing a content audit so that you can identify content that can be easily adapted to provide something new.
There is all kinds of advice out there on the web, but they all point to the same things: relevant, appropriate content, backed up with professional graphics all make a difference in your website fighting its way UP the rankings.
Tip 3: People, not search engines
Although having relevant content that search engines can zoom in on, it can mean that content becomes slightly skewed as we start to write for the web and no for people; in other words, we forget that we are writing for our potential customers.
What can happen is that we become overzealous with the amount of keywords we place in some of these articles and blogs; in other words, we stuff ‘em in hoping that the search engine picks them up and thousands of people will buy from you… but the opposite tends to be true! Never lose sight of the fact that you are writing to inform customers.
Tip 4: Clear navigation
To find out exactly what we mean, type in any old random website enquiry and take a look around a website that you have not visited previously; how easy is it to find what you need? How do you buy? Where do you get the information that you need.
People will visit your website with a specific intention and you need to make all the things they need are visible and clear.
Tip 5: Update content
We have touched on this not only in this post but in many others; if you are serious about your website being a top quality marketing platform for your business you need to update content regularly; you should be making serious efforts to be loading at least one blog per week, more if you want to really make something of your website.
Don’t have time? Why not engage the services of a web content writer?
Tip 6: online discounts
Just like you offer ‘10% off with the voucher’ printed in the local press or leaflets pushed through doors, having online incentives for the customer is also an effective marketing tool.
Having a program of discounts and ‘buy one get one free’ if that is suitable for your business, is also essential if you are serious about using your website as the main marketing vehicle for your business.
Tip 7: consider email marketing
There are many companies who send out regular newsletters or email offers to customers and, with some investment in plug ins or using free online software, you too can create something along these lines.
Again, as with any other marketing method, having a plan as to what and how you intend doing it will mean that you get more from this activity, rather than firing an email off into the dark.
Tip 8: Consistent branding
A common mistake that many newbie businesses make is that they mix and match their branding; in other words, they use a logo on one colour on one thing, and then change it on a whim when they use it on something else.
Colour is not the only aspect that needs to remain consistent with branding; your tagline needs to remain as well as the choice of font. It may seem a small, inconsequential ‘thing’ but, as consumers, we need to ‘see’ a logo several times before our brain starts to recognise it. To truly cement your brand in the customer psyche can take a long, long time so keep at it!
Tip 9: Harness social media
Again, a common thread in many posts and articles by experts but it seems that this message is not always being heeded. Ignoring social media altogether it a dangerous thing but, spreading yourself too thin and having a presence on everything can be just as bad, with no one social media presence doing your business justice.
Our advice is this – choose the social media platform that suits your business, stick with this and use it well, rather than signing up for everything…
Tip 10: Mobile version
Consider too, how your customers will be surfing the web; laptops and desktops are being superseded in some cases by tablets and smart phones. Make sure your website is mobile friendly; in other words, small tweaks are made in layout so that it ‘fits’ with table and mobile phone screens. The vast majority of web hosting platforms will offer this facility…
Understanding your website as a marketing tool is essential in it being able to do its job; it is an online window that sets the tone for the interaction between you and your customers. You have seconds to create the right impression…