Your website is your sales team, customer service department, technical support, lead producer and van drivers (okay, maybe not the last one!) In short, it is the public face of your company.
It’s essential that your website is designed, developed and managed to appeal to your target audience and help you to achieve your business aims.
The key points you need to consider before starting a web build are:
How are visitors to your current website actually finding the site and what are they doing once they’re on the site? This is often different to what you think and it helps to plan an effective site map and user interface.
Throughout the design process, both you and your agency will inevitably deconstruct the site and its design in minute detail. However, visitors will glance at it for a few seconds before making the decision to explore further or leave and try another site. It is therefore critical to ensure the site is simple to navigate and engages the visitor from the start.
These days everyone has the capability to be a publisher. Some of the most successful companies use their websites not for self-promotion, but as an industry content hub serving up engaging articles, how-to guides, videos, market research/ reports or comment and opinion. It is no longer a brochure but an information portal where prospects and clients are more likely to revisit, engage and share with their wider networks.
Visitors tend to read less than 1/3rd of a webpage so the page should be structured to only include key content, with any long paragraphs of text interspersed with images, graphics or videos (visitors are often more likely to click on an image or video than read long paragraphs of text).
• Is there a Google style search input field (it is estimated that 40% of visitors head straight for this when landing on a new page)?
• Are there clear links to connect with your company on social media?
• If your website lists many products with detailed specifications, are there clear filtering options or wizards to assist users?
• Are there plenty of calls to action and ways to contact you?
Every website should be designed to dynamically re-format to suit the device on which it’s being viewed - whether it’s a mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop. With consumer facing websites being designed ‘mobile first’ this device neutral strategy should be de rigueur for new websites.
Content Management System (CMS)
The content management system is the end user-interface you have with your website. So if you don’t want to learn how to code, make sure you choose one that will last until your next web-build!
The key factors to consider when choosing a CMS should be:
• Can it be configured to suit your products, services and business practices?
• Can you quickly and easily edit ALL THE CONTENT on your site?
• Does it enable pages to be optimised for search (SEO)?
• Is it Open Source and licence free?
• Is it scalable and future proofed – could it be used to manage your website(s) for many years to come?
• Can future technical updates or integrations with 3rd party websites/applications be completed simply?
• Is it portable – could technical maintenance be performed by any web developer with suitable knowledge?
• Is it stable, supported and secure?
Implementing a clear process for monitoring & measuring goals and evaluating return on investment is essential. These are often divided into primary and secondary KPIs (key performance indicators), with a primary KPI being an actual lead generated through the site and a secondary KPI an engaged visitor e.g. someone that has spent a significant amount of time on each page of your site.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the process of enabling your site to rank highly in Google’s without paying for advertising. Unlike advertising, SEO is not something that will happen overnight. It is a long term strategy with many factors taken into account. By adhering to good practice and implementing procedures, your website will begin to rise up the natural rankings over time.
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Outbound marketing →