In a business climate so focused on social media, many business owners forget that their website is also part of their social media strategy – in fact, it’s the focal point. Everything you do on social media should bring visitors back to your website.
What makes one website more effective than another?
Websites are a work in progress and there are new template features and changing trends every day. Search engines love change, so the more often you can make changes to your website, the better. This can be as simple as a new blog post, changing out images, adding a Twitter feed that will post your most recent tweet, etc. Then, every 2 years at least, update your website to take advantage of new template elements and to keep it looking fresh.
Answering some key questions will provide focus and help you clarify your intent. Here are just a few of the considerations when you are creating or updating your website:Who visits your website and why?
- What type of information will your visitors be looking for?
- Is your website true to your brand? Are you using similar images, colors, fonts, etc. across all of your social platforms?
- On the home page, can visitors easily identify: 1) who you are, 2) what you do and 3) who you do it for?
- What do you want your website to accomplish? (provide info, generate leads, sell products or services, etc.)
- Are all of your social media sites linked to your website?
- Do you have Google Analytics in place? Are you reading the reports and making adjustments as necessary?
- Have you registered your website on additional search engines? (Bing, industry databases, local Chamber of Commerce sites, etc.)
- Do you have an SEO tool installed on your site?
- Have you put together a list of key search terms and incorporated them into all of your website content?
- Do you have a blog, enewsletter or other way to get articles and resources to your clients and prospects?
- Does the website template you’re using have all of the functionality you need? Does it offer room to grow (when you need additional functionality in the future)?
- Does your content speak in the language of your customer (or in the “internal” language of your industry)?
- Who will maintain your site on an on-going basis (managing template/wordpress updates, adding regular content, changing out images, adding resources, etc.)?
Who you gonna call?
It’s important that your website is designed from a marketing perspective. Don’t feel pressured to use a lot of flashy graphics and moving images – they may cause your website to take longer to load and that just annoys people. Everything on your site should serve a function, not just be there for show.
An effective website contains these elements (at a minimum):
Call to Action – offer something in exchange for the visitor’s name and email address (an eBook, a White Paper or even a subscription to your newsletter or periodic updates)
Video – more important than ever. If you don’t have the budget for a professional videographer and editor, record it on your own with help, or even record it on your computer’s camera. Look at sites like Animoto that offer an inexpensive way to put a video together using images, captions and music. As long as you are providing real information and are true to your brand, authenticity trumps a polished video.
Mobile Responsive – not just viewable on mobile, but the template should be optimized for mobile devices and tablets. 90% of people are now accessing the internet on mobile devices.
Relevant content – Your content (on all of your social channels) should engage, educate or entertain.
Because the purpose of all social media is to bring people back to your website, it’s important to make sure your website is Ground Zero for all information on you and your company.
“If you build it, they will come” is just not true of most websites today. Making sure that your website clearly communicates who you are and what you do, combined with appropriate search engine optimization will enable your customers and prospects to find you when they’re ready to buy!
Barb Hendrickson is President of Visible Communication, helping companies be more visible in their marketplace and improve business through effective marketing communication strategies including branding, social media, content marketing and more.