Wise up to the web
I was astounded to read a recent survey of over 2000 UK businesses*, that 23% of those surveyed didn’t have a website and 30% of those who didn’t have a website weren’t thinking of getting one.
I think this is very short sighted. The internet has literally transformed our lives and how we buy products and services in the last 10 years. Even if we don’t buy online, we’ll probably do our research first and have a look at a company’s products and services on their website before we decide to buy. The internet is just about accessible to everyone, worldwide and people are deciding for themselves, very quickly, what interests them and what does not. The purchasing process often begins with a website, so as businesses we shouldn’t underestimate the power of our websites as a marketing tool.
The same survey reported that of all the companies who had websites, 16% never updated it and only 40% updated their site once a month.
As a marketing company we know how important a website is for every business. Many companies put a website up on the internet and forget about it. Then a few years down the line, it’s out of date and it no longer reflects the business you are today.
If this sounds like your company, take a look at the information below to see how you can make your website work for you.
The design of your website is vital. You may have relevant content and offer brilliant products or services but if your site is not appealing and looks amateurish, no-one is going to stay around long enough to find out.
The look of your website should reflect the type of industry you work in and appeal to your target audience. If you offer a professional service your website should look professional, clean and organised. If you own a beauty salon your site should look more fashionable and informal. You also need to keep your design consistent with the look and feel of the rest of your marketing material so you are protecting your brand.
If you are looking to develop your website in the near future, make sure you choose a designer who produces bespoke web designs. Take a look at their portfolio. Do their websites all look very similar? They are probably using off the shelf templates. You want a website that is unique to your business.
But, don’t make it overly fussy or complicated. You need to make a website engaging but not confusing to navigate. At Fig Creative, we will usually design your website first based on your requirements, producing a mock up before any web development takes place. It means you get to approve the look of your site and you know what to expect. We spend a lot of time redesigning websites that have been left in decline and not working for a business. We can bring your website design to life; make it reflect your vibrant business, to showcase your products and services.
Are you talking to me?
When you are happy with the look of your website you need to think about the content. Web content is something a lot of businesses do not get right. The biggest mistake is to write what you want to say about your business or products and services, rather than what your customers want to know. As a professional in your industry it is so easy to fill your website with technical terminology and buzz words that probably don’t mean anything to your customer.
Take a look at your website from your customer’s point of view. Does it make sense; can you clearly understand what is being offered? Is it compelling and encourage you to pick up the telephone or to buy? Or are you left confused, or worse still, a little bit cold, with no desire to get in touch?
If you have the budget, ask a copywriter to write your web content for you. It’s not as expensive as you might think and it’s well worth it. They will find out the key messages that you should include in your website and produce copy that will engage your customers and please the main search engines. They will talk about your products and services in a way that sells the benefits of your company, rather than just list the features.
If you can’t afford to pay for a professional writer, ask business colleagues to read through content for you. A website gives you plenty of opportunities to keep most audiences happy. Make sure your home page is clear and to the point but very succinctly tells people what you are offering and how they can find out more information. You should have main landing pages for each of your products and services but make sure the content is full of benefits. You can add further links to product details for those people who want more information. Websites that are rich in relevant content are also popular with the main search engines. It’s no longer a matter of making sure all the relevant key words are included in a site. This is important, but search engines such as Google are far more sophisticated these days and they want lots of content that is relevant to the subject of the website. The more up to date, relevant content you use on your website, it will help your rankings on the main search engines. That’s why a blog is such a good idea.
Need a map?
Websites that are difficult to navigate and become overly complicated will lose visitors very quickly. In fact, it is said that it only takes 3 seconds, that’s all, to lose a customer from your website because of poor navigation. We all work very hard to get visitors to our sites so don’t lose them because of poor navigation. You know yourself when you go on a website, if you can’t find what you are looking for very quickly you get frustrated and will go looking elsewhere. Technology has made us all very impatient, so it is a very important factor to consider. Is your site sending potential customers scurrying to your competitors? So if a potential customer lands on your website you need to make sure that they will be able to find what they are looking for in just a few clicks.
Make sure your key products and services are clearly stated in the main navigation bar so it is obvious to your customer where they need to go next. And more importantly make sure there is a clear call to action on every page. Once your customer has found what they are looking for you need to tell them very clearly how they can buy, how to book or how to find out more! Sounds common sense doesn’t it, but you’ll be amazed how many times these things are missed. And that means missed business. Go and check your website now!
Shout about it!
OK, so now you’ve got a great looking website that is jam packed with useful content, that’s easy to navigate. All you need now are potential customers to look at it! Just because you have a website does not mean it will get found. There’s 6 billion websites out there all competing for business, so you need to promote your site if it’s going to get found.
So tell your existing contacts and customers that you have a new website, put it on your email signature and print it on your business cards and leaflets. Use social media such as Twitter and Facebook and link back to your website. Blog regularly and link back to different parts of your website. Send email marketing campaigns out and drive customers to pages on your website. But most importantly you need to consider Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and/or Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns.
Your website isn’t going to magically appear at the top of Google just because it looks good. Search Engines are complicated things and they will rank your page based on a number of different things, including:
- Age of your website
- Visibility of content
- Structure of your website
- Page, image and title tags
- New content
- Inbound links to your website
- Compelling tools such as blogs, UTube videos, calculators etc
- Connection to social media
Search Engine Optimisation can take time, so Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns can be a great way of achieving some quick wins. Located on the right hand side of the screen when you do a Google search, advertisers pay for their adverts to be displayed when certain words or phrases are searched for.
If you get it right, a website can be an invaluable marketing tool for your business and we haven’t even talked about eCommerce here and the opportunities to sell your products and services online…maybe another subject for another time.
Fig Creative can help you through every stage of writing content, designing, developing and building a new website and promoting it with SEO and PPC campaigns, connecting to a blog, to social media and email marketing campaigns. We’ve got the experience, an excellent track record and we’re cost effective for the service you receive.
Call us now to talk through your new website or website redesign project on 01457 857111 or contact us on email@example.com
*How online savvy are British Businesses? Click on link below to access survey.