These days, most everyone has or is building a website, even your Grandma has a website for one reason or another. Websites range in use for personal reasons to share pictures and music to of course businesses for selling, educating and communicating opinions and views and everything else in between.
Having been in the industry for just about 9 years now (building, selling, and marketing) I’ve seen my share of good websites and BAD websites. I’ve redesigned my share of BAD websites as well. Today, I’d like share what I believe are some of the top 10 key things a business owner needs to consider as they look to develop a strong web presence and a successful website.
Many of you have heard me ask the question, “How many first impressions do you get?” No it is not a trick question…Imagine you had a friend or a cousin who was out of a job, down on their luck and said they would work for free selling your product or service, just to get out of the house. However, your friend/cousin will only wear old shorts or ripped jeans. Maybe they have tattoos all over their body and don’t believe in shirts or deodorant. But they need a job and WILL WORK FOR FREE AS YOUR SALES PERSON! Would you send him/her out in front of your customers and prospects? NO?!? Then why would you do the same thing online with your website? Point being… don’t try to build a website yourself, or have your nephew down the street do it for free. Unless of course they are a professional.
More than once we have developed a website for a client and they expect to just magically show up on page 1 of Google or have their phone ringing off the hook. After a month or so, they call a bit upset because not much is happening. So, I start of with some of the obvious questions… What have you done to get the word out? Have you started a social presence? Have you sent out an email, reworked your business cards with the new domain and email address that is in concert with your website? (Mmore on that with #8)
My point is… Tell people about it! Consider your website a tool in your business shed. You must take steps to get the word out and market your business. Put the address on your business cards, brochures, car, etc. Which leads me to my next point…
Consider your website a web presence (sounds better doesn’t it). People are looking for information; this is a golden opportunity to showcase yourself as the authority that you are in your field of expertise. Sales is more than just giving people your number. In today’s business climate you have a better chance of gaining business if you share your knowledge. Wonder why everyone has a blog on their website? It is one of the best places to communicate with prospects and clients on your website.
I could make an argument that your web presence is the hardest working team member. When hosting with Swift Business Solutions, it is up 24/7 (99.9% up time) working to make you look good. With YouTube as the number two search engine, more companies are producing company video and employee bios. Your website is an opportunity to make the worldwide web smaller, begin to develop the very important relationship that is needed to build your business. Which leads me to #5.
Would you drink still water that has been sitting around too long? Heck you will take steps to go around a stagnant pond. If your website isn’t alive with fresh and relevant content, then chances are you won’t get too much repeat traffic (people will avoid your site). Search engines LOVE it when a website is dynamic or updated frequently. This is actually a pretty significant part of a search engines algorithm, not only new content but rich, relevant content specifically to your area of business or sphere of influence. Don’t be afraid to educate and update. See our Content is King posting for more on this.
Also, very important… be sure that your website is “Responsive” or Mobile Friendly by Google’s new standards as of April 21st, 2015. Read more and find link to test your website here.
When was the last time you saw a Yellow Page book? Seriously, it was at your mom and dads house, stuffed in a drawer. More and more your first impression is now found online. You have the opportunity and responsibility to manage what is communicated about you. This begins to happen when you focus on identifying Keywords and Phrases that you would like to be found with. Developing strong strategic electronic and social relationships, aka links and focused keywords and phrases is today’s modern electronic yellow pages. This is how you focus on driving local or world wide traffic to your website. If you have not or are not working on this regularly, then you are you are missing out on business and the future. The more energy and time you invest into making your web presence relevant the better you are going to look to Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc.
We look to take things a step further for clients that are looking for a partner to manage the madness. aka STAGE II ..
It is important to focus on what you do and the services you offer. However it is also critical to provide the solution to their problem. Too many websites focus on what the company does and the service they offer. “We do this, this, and this… now call us so we can have your money.” Take time to explain the benefits and value of doing business with you or purchasing your product. Share with your audience the solution to their problem and how you are going to solve it. If you do not begin to answer their questions on the home page at least, you are probably going to lose a few folks.
Look at your business cards, your brochures, your shirts, and office. Make sure your website matches, and stays consistent with your overall look, style, and the story of your company. If it doesn’t… make sure it does. If the look and feel of your business card is different than your website, it could make it difficult for people to realize you are the same company. This is your brand… Ask yourself, how would Nike or Apple do it? Would they have @yahoo.com or @charter.net for their email extension?
Never make it difficult for someone to connect with you. Nothing can be more frustrating than having to work to give someone business. The ability to find/call you from your website should be on every page. Almost every page should have what is called a “Call To Action”. This is an opportunity for you to engage, connect and collect data (name, phone or email) and serve.
How fast you respond can determine if you will get the sale. Here are a couple of very important statistics…
Form Response Statistics
Simply being prepared to move Swiftly to any emailed request could significantly increase your business.
Some businesses, have the mindset of check, I have a website. Consider it like going to a business meeting. How are you going to present yourself? Are you clean cut, educated in your product and ready to answer questions? Great, that is how your website should be.
Circling back to my first point number 1. You only get One First Impression, so does your website! Design, develop and maintain a website well and it will serve you well. Build a site that will keep and hold people on your site (how long people stay on your website is another factor in your SEO Rankings). Pay close attention to structure and image quality, consider hiring a professional photographer. If you are not going to do it right, you just might consider not doing it at all. You could do more damage than good.
You do what you do well. Consider meeting with our team and allow us to develop a Swift Business Solution for your web presence. Swift Business Solutions… 864-884-6141