Maybe you have a website, maybe you don’t, or maybe your current website needs a serious update. Either way, you must consider many details before spending time and money on your web presence. Many of our clients are brand new to the online world, seeking guidance and trust when it comes to developing a website. After discussions with our digital strategist and web developers, I have compiled some helpful tips, questions, and steps to consider when developing or updating your website.
The initial question you need to ask yourself before developing is what are the goals of the website? We believe there are two main goals every website should attempt to achieve: attract and convert. Attracting and converting go hand-in-hand; you can’t convert without attracting, or attract and not attempt to convert. I’ll talk more about attracting and converting in the steps listed below. Other goals could be to develop an e-commerce solution, offer customer profiles, include PDF flipbooks for users to view etc, the list goes on and on. More questions to consider: what functions will your site include? What will the design look like? How will you edit content? And what type of content will you include?
When it comes to developing a website, we have our own 3-step AshWorthy web strategy that I’m going to share with you. Including these aspects in your website development plan will drastically increase positive results from your efforts.
Step 1: Attracting Visitors
As I mentioned, the first goal of your website should be to attract visitors. This can occur by implementing a search engine marketing (SEM) campaign. Search engine marketing is a form of internet marketing that attempts to increase your brand’s visibility on the web. This can be done through search engine optimization (SEO) and/or pay-per-click. SEO is the organic, or un-paid, way to conduct SEM, and includes indexing your site, adding relevant keywords to the meta description and title tags, including links, and having strategic website copy that includes important key words and phrases. Pay-per-click, or paid SEM, is when you bid on applicable keywords for your market, and pay the designated price every time someone clicks on your sponsored listing. Another way to attract visitors using internet marketing is through social media. Social media strategy is crucial for all businesses, especially now when consumers seek product information through social media and word-of-mouth. This monumental shift in brand-consumer relations means in order to compete you must have a social presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, and/or Foursquare, some of the biggest social networks right now.
Tip: According to Greg, one of our web developers, it is important to note that many companies are selling inferior code at a cheap price tag. This mediocre code produces bad quality websites, with slower speeds, poor SEO capabilities, and reduced user-friendliness. Using a cookie-cutter website like this will not bring about the best results for your business.
Step 2: Converting Visitors
Once you’ve attracted visitors to your site, it better blow them away or else they will have no interest in exploring. Your goal once you get visitors to your site is to convert them into loyal customers. In order to do this, your site needs to have a design that emulates your brand image, and a timeless logo to go along with it. The information architecture of your site needs to be intuitive to the user, flowing easily from page to page and making important content easy to find. Adding personalized touches, appropriate widgets, and social media links will help make your users’ experiences more enjoyable, leaving a positive brand image with them.
Step 3: Managing
Now you’ve reached step 3, after you’ve attracted visitors and converted them with your awesome website, and it’s time to manage your website. There are many things to consider when it comes to managing a site: what company is going to host it? How will you edit and add content? Do you need a customized content management system? How will you measure the effectiveness? Will you implement Google analytics?
Tip: We like to recommend BlueHost as a hosting company because they provide U.S. based 24-hour service at a low cost.
These are just some questions, tips and steps to think about when developing a website for your business. Every business has its own bundle of solutions that works best for it, and discovering what your needs are play a critical role in the entire process. We hope this helps, and sends you in the right direction when it comes to your website 🙂