Building an effective website is akin to speed dating.
First impressions count and you only have a few seconds to get the selling done. The window of opportunity won't stay open long. Your sales pitch has to be up-front, direct, and memorable. As in speed dating, it's about beating the competition. It's about getting dates for your products or services.
To get more dates, many website owners are concentrating solely on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We all want our website to be viewed first, for our products and services to be considered ahead of those of competitors. To that end, businesses invest heavily to apply SEO techniques on their website. They consult with professionals. They research and refine keywords. Attention is focused on every page element, from title tags and headings to body content and images. Getting visitors to their websites is important, but if visitors only stay long enough to hit their browser's “back” button, then all the hard work and investment has been wasted.
All business owners should ask themselves two questions: Is my website getting the most visitor traffic it possibly can? Is my website effective?
Effective websites go beyond SEO. They are predicated on substance and content. They are designed to meet or exceed the expectations of visitors. That means looking good, whether that look is professional and corporate or trendy and stylish.
The website should be attention-grabbing, welcoming, well-presented and up to date always. The goal is not only to attract potential clients or customers to your website. The goal is to keep them there, to engage them to the point of contact or sales and to entice them to return for more.
Expanding technologies like Facebook and Twitter are making it easier for people to find what they're seeking. If you don't have an effective business website, those seeking what you have to offer may not find you.
An effective website gives you a place that you own online. You control the message. You can promote your business the way you want it promoted. You are in charge. When people are searching for products or services that you offer, your business will be on their screen.
A blog can be a valuable adjunct to your website. It invites visitor interactions, opens new horizons through discussion forums and links your website to social media networks. A blog also is important to your website ranking well with search engines.
In terms of marketing and promotion, an effective website gives businesses unique opportunities to reach out to current and potential clients or customers. You can interact directly and immediately. Questions can be asked and answered. Transactions can be initiated, completed and confirmed at the click of a button.
An effective website also gives you more control over your branding. You determine what logo and images are used and how. You do the monitoring. You mandate changes and set the schedule for making them. Your brand is secure from outside dictates or prohibitions.
Finally, having and maintaining an effective website positions your business for change. The feedback and sales generated by the website are indicators of successes and shortcomings. Those data can weigh heavily into marketing, promotions and new product/services decisions.
To test the current effectiveness of your website, take another look at the site with a critical eye, then assess how your site would stack up if it were in a real speed dating competition.
Would your website strike out with time on the clock or would it get multiple invitations for dinner and dancing?
Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising.
Visit www.comm-concepts.com or call 303-651-6612.