By Tom Warthen – President, ProSite Web Design LLC – www.websitedesignersdc.com
In the current economic climate, many businesses are running for cover and looking to simply weather the storm. At the same time, strategic thinkers are positioning themselves for growth, using the slowdown to reevaluate their marketing and their online presence.
Is your website driving new customers to you or driving them away?
Hit the ground running ahead of the competition when the financial cloud passes with these 10 keys to a successful website…
#1 – Provide Value
Customer-focused, relevant website content is essential. People search the web with questions. They have come to your site for answers. Make it easy. How can you solve their problem? What should they do next to find out more? Condense your value down to a few sentences or paragraphs in laymen’s terms and you’ll turn web visitors to customers.
To learn more about how to generate great content for your website, read Quick Tips for Generating Great Content for Your Website.
#2 – Start Small
Nielsen reports that users spend an average of less than a minute on any given web page. Web users skim and prefer easily digestible bits of content. Endless paragraphs of text will only make their eyes glaze over. At first, display small, juicy tidbits or a high level overview presented in such a way that they want to read more. Then allow them to drill down to more detail.
#3 – Show the Way
The best websites allow people to know where they are and where they need to go next at all times. A visitor to your website should be no more than a couple clicks away from the content they seek. Make navigation links intuitive, and even redundant if necessary by displaying them both in the main navigation menu and in the footer navigation. Replace any nondescript “click here” links with action words like “Download 10 Keys To a Successful Website”.
#4 – Optimize
While “build it and they will come” may have worked for Kevin Costner in the movie Field of Dreams, it is not a recipe for website success. How will potential clients find you once your website is up and running? What will they type into a search engine when they are looking for your product or service? Relevant keywords contained within your website content, links, and code are all factors that influence search engine optimization (SEO), improving your search engine ranking and moving your website to the top of the list where it will be seen and visited.
To learn more about how to optimize your website for search engines, read 5 Steps To Search Engine Optimization.
#5 – Know the Competition
Spend some time surfing the web and taking note of elements you like and don’t like in general on websites – style, navigation, content. Then take a look at your competitors’ websites. What works? What doesn’t? Review these trends and think about what your own website can emulate and what it can do even better to make it the best user experience possible.
#6 – Build Trust
Your website is an extension of your business and your brand. Now more than ever, consumers are turning to the web first for information on products and services they are interested in. What is your website saying about you? Make that first impression count with a clean, professional website. Show visitors how you stand out from the competition with case studies of how you helped a client, photos of your recent work, or testimonials from satisfied customers. The web provides a unique medium to showcase your talents and build credibility, so use it to your full advantage.
#7 – Keep Current
There is nothing worse than checking out a company’s website and finding the most recent update is two years old. If you are going to date stamp news and content updates make sure they are updated regularly. Implement a content management system (CMS) or have your web designer on retainer in order to keep the site content fresh and to increase the quality and volume of your visitors.
#8 – Call to Action
Ultimately, you are looking to match your goals to the needs of your visitors. So what do you want a visitor to your website to do – purchase products, subscribe to an email newsletter, contact you for more information? What incentive or value will make a potential client act right now? Consider offering a promotion or limited time offer. Whatever your goals, make the steps your visitors need to take clear and easy to follow.
#9 – Analyze Success
Advertising as a whole may be down, but online advertising remains strong. In fact, Citigroup Inc. reported an 11% increase in Internet advertising spending during the bottom of the recession, reflecting the continued growth of ecommerce. Creating customized landing pages tailored to a specific campaign, be it online, radio, TV, or print, can assist you in tracking leads and channeling money to those efforts that yield the greatest results. Measuring the effectiveness of marketing initiatives is an important barometer for any business and, with tools like Google Analytics, it has never been easier.
#10 – Consider Outsourcing
Done right, a professional website is one of the highest returns on investment you could make. Unlike the limited run time of print, TV, and radio ads, your website is reaching out to potential clients 24/7. And with people spending more time online than ever, a first class online presence is now a necessity for any successful business. Reputable web designers will consider these previous 9 keys and more as they draw on their expertise to craft your online presence. Outsourcing allows you to focus your efforts on your core strengths, which in the long run, saves you both time and money.
Follow these steps and you’ll ensure that you have a website that works for you and drives repeat customer satisfaction!
If you would like ProSite Web Design to make sure your website is positioned for success please contact us today.
Tom Warthen is the President of ProSite Web Design LLC and has been helping businesses looking for a high return on their online marketing investment since the early days of the Internet in the 1990s. To learn more about how to make your website the best it can be, and to contact ProSite Web Design for a consultation, visit http://www.websitedesignersdc.com.