Since the birth of the internet, there has been a revolutionary drive towards digital media when it comes to marketing our businesses.
The first phase of this phenomenon was the migration of brochures and literature into a more interactive, digital format with relatively easy methods of making contact through the traditional ‘Contact Us’ page.
In more recent years however, we have seen what can only be described as the biggest revolution in business for the past century. The web has completely changed how most of us view, and access the world – making it a much smaller place. Now, we can make contact in seconds with individuals in the next town or thousands of miles away, for both business and pleasure. Communication via live video links makes distance, and time, no object and we can easily access content in any language and on any subject we wish. We can search out the very best educational resources from leading experts, and we can watch others daily lives unfold (if we wish) through social media.
“The online revolution is pretty staggering, and business owners must embrace wholeheartedly that revolution and take advantage of all the opportunities available to them.”
So why (and I am still amazed by it), are a significant number of business websites not engaging and taking full advantage of this phenomenon, and still only delivering a traditional online brochure?
We know we need to give ourselves the best chance online presence possible so at the very beginning is the website. So what makes a GREAT website, or how do we create one? It really isn’t that difficult, and here are some very simple pointers…
Business owners are bombarded constantly with spam emails promising the next revolutionary introduction to our websites that will change them forever. I had one today telling me that ‘Video on your website is going to change your life, you cannot afford not to have video content. You are making a big mistake by ignoring this message’. Thank you for that!
How do we react?
I must have video it is going to revolutionise my business, I want it now, it is so important that it cannot be ignored!
OK, so slightly exaggerated response and not everyone will react in this way, but the point is there are many that view one inclusion on a website to be the life or business changing epitome of website success. Undoubtedly video content is, or can be, the most engaging form of content, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work that out, we’ve been fixated by the moving image since the birth of film, and if it appeals to our personal tastes or is highly relevant to our business, the more engaging it is.
There is, however, a significant flaw in the spam email I received – apart from the tone that is…
How well will your newly added video content be received if your website is not being found? If your website is languishing on page 20 when searched it is only useful to those who know you exist – your existing customers. Will a nice video have a major impact on whether they continue to use your services? I doubt it! If you are extremely active on content marketing, it will form a useful part of your strategy. Otherwise, video content is there to inform, so is usually primarily reserved for prospective customers or visitors.
So let’s cut to the real stuff – what makes that GREAT website?
Design – Perception is Reality
If your site is poorly designed it will send out the wrong message straight away. I actually said to a client once, let’s get that monstrosity of a website down (before you take a sharp intake of breath – the client hated it as much as I did, so I could say that), and put a nicely designed and informative single landing page up while we are building the proper website. If it is damaging, get rid of it, don’t allow it to damage your reputation with its poor execution.
I cannot emphasise just how important the creative presentation of website is. I have seen on many occasions how a dramatic change from a poorly designed website to a great website can influence sales and growth in a business.
How often do we visit websites and get frustrated with the functionality or structure of it? It’s a struggle sometimes to even find the contact us button, as it gets hidden in the footer of the website. This mentality should be reserved for the utility companies – you know what I mean!
The structure of a website should take in consideration, what and where key elements are placed on the home page, being able to navigate very easily to the content the visitor is looking to see, the important points you want to get over are strongly displayed, navigation to key places shouldn’t just be reserved for the top menu, access to social media pages, ability for visitors to share your content and yes video would be great, or at the very least some sliding animated panels pointing the visitor to the key information you want to emphasise about your services and products.
At the very least the standard buttons for social platforms should be visible, and not hidden in the footer. It is also positive to have social media feeds coming into your website, but only if you are active on social media.
Make it easy for your visitors to send a quick enquiry. Visitors do not like multiple-field enquiry forms unless they are relevant or an absolute necessity. If you can have a quick enquiry form on every page or built within the main template of the website, you provide the visitor with easy access to you.
A blog is a must!
This is an area where the visitor can engage with your comments, they can find out the true personality of your company, share in your opinions and appreciate your advice. This is the ‘human touch’ aspect of your website, and plays a direct correlation with the tone of voice you express across social media platforms.
If I had to write content about our services and how great we are, I would get a bit bored. It is much easier to write content that gives great advice and opinion. We all love giving opinion on our specialist subject.
Content is King where Google is concerned, and the blog gives you a reason and an interesting way to write great content, and help your website’s ranking, notwithstanding the ability to continually share that content across social media platforms.
No website should be without one.
I have written many articles around SEO before – well executed SEO is an essential component for all websites.
Google actually relies on businesses to tell them the searches they want their website to appear on the search engines for. If you are selling Plasma Televisions and you want to get on page one for this term then I can guarantee that if you’re not already touching the top of page two, it won’t happen without a significant marketing budget. In any event, it wouldn’t be wise to concentrate such a large proportion of marketing spend on one element when there is so many other ways you can drive traffic to a website. However, the more defined your search term is, for example, if you’re looking for page one presence with “Sony 42inch High Definition Flat Screen Plasma Television”, then you stand a chance.
For most businesses this level of competitive search isn’t required, and there are many opportunities to achieve that magic high-ranking page one position. So a professional SEO injection onto your website is important, but it is only half of the picture. The other half concerns what you do off site – your content marketing.
“If you want high ranking, you need to get busy online!”
Do read my article “There is only going to be one winner” and download on this page.
There is a great deal more that can be written about this important subject. If I have been able to give you just one piece of useful advice it has been worthwhile. Marginal gains is an important aspect of business in general, and just a few improvements can make a significant impact on monetising that all important asset, the company website!
If you would like to read my article about Marginal Gains, click here!
Learn more about maximising your online presence by clicking on the graphic below to download our Content Marketing Infographic.