Create a website that works for you
Once upon a time all a website needed to do was promote who you were. Now websites and ecommerce are a key part of doing business successfully, so you need to ensure that your website is not just a ‘corporate brochure’ but that it is a working resource achieving the right results.
Many websites I’ve reviewed are indeed professionally designed, even stunning (and many are a complete mess - but that's another blog post) – but my question is always – ‘and what results is it returning to you’?
Most businesses, very small right through to very large, will have a web presence; after all, a website is a key marketing resource. So I am not going to focus on ‘why it’s important to have a web presence’. But what does seem to be lacking with many of the websites I review, is good ‘web planning’ – and by that I mean ensuring that a website is a useful commercial asset.
Just as in any other area of marketing communication – you should be thinking about how the user is going to engage with your website. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your home page provide a total overview of what you do and how your potential customers can buy / access your products or services?
- Do you have a telephone number on the home page?
- The ‘back’ button is the second most used button on the web – does this feature work on all of your web pages?
- Do you understand how users read text on websites? Have you crafted your copy so as to keep them hooked - and inserted relevant links in the body copy?
- Are you measuring site statistics? Do you know how long users are staying on your home page – where do they go next? (Google Analytics is free and provides you with a range of powerful stats).
- How are you driving traffic to your site? Do you do online advertising? Is your site fully search engine optimised - and do you keep on top of this?
If you have an ecommerce facility – be sure to test your own online business processes. Are response emails automated? Are they clear, friendly, consistent with your brand message? Are you using these emails as an upsell opportunity, linking through to other services / products you provide?
Take a close and critical look at your website. View it as a critical business process – and ask yourself if it’s doing what you need it to. Ensure it is up-to-date, accurate and above all, user friendly.