If your website doesn’t bring you leads or sales, what was the point? If people never find your website or find it but don’t engage enough to take an action, then it isn’t an asset that’s delivering results. Which at the end of the day is why anyone would bother investing in the creation of web properties isn’t it? It can be disheartening when you invest a lot of time, energy, thought, not to mention money into a project only to find that it doesn’t deliver. How do you make the right decisions so you know your investment will be worthwhile when there are so many choices available and the range in cost and time-frame is equally extensive. If you’re fortunate enough to know someone that can give you a good recommendation of a web professional that can help you navigate this complexity of choices, but even then, there are critical questions you need to be asking to ensure you have a good match that will deliver the results you are after. There are many, many web professionals out there and an extraordinary range of value; from the high end, “only high-turnover-businesses can afford them”, to the bottom of the range “do-it-yourself and hope for the best”.
The intention of this article is to give you a “heads up”, to help give you the best possible chance of having web properties that are both an asset for your enterprise and value for money.
The first thing to consider is engagement. How will your web properties engage with future clients? Good layout and aesthetic design is one part of that picture, but you also need to consider what are potential customers thinking about when they are looking for what I have to offer? How can they easily find the answers to these questions when they see my ads or get to my website? Will they feel a sense of relief they have found what they are looking for when they look at your site and will they get that relatively quickly? Quality images are also important especially if you are doing it yourself or cheaply don’t ruin it with images that will drive traffic away. Also question whether you are really the best person to write for your site. I’m sure you can write and you also know all about your business and your customers, but writing with the intention of engaging people and encouraging them to take action is a specialist type of writing, and unless you studied marketing at uni, it’s unlikely that you’ve learnt how to write in this way. Having a potential customer stay longer at your site, or better yet, feel they have found what they are looking for when they get to your site, is, after all, why you would bother to even have a site.
The second point to consider is traffic, how will potential customers find your web properties? Once your website is complete, what is going to make the difference between another website hanging out somewhere in cyberspace and people actually seeing it? Is this just somewhere people you personally hand your business card to are going to be able to look up and find out a bit more, or are you hoping for a bit more impact? If you are, then you need to think about traffic. To get traffic to your website you can use traditional methods; flyers, newspaper ads, letterbox drops, radio and so on or you can look at online advertising; adwords, seo and social networking sites are the most common, or a combination of both online and offline. Whichever method is right for you will depend on your budget, your market, the type of product or offer you have and your profit margin. Good campaigns will often change over time, perhaps by using one or two methods with the intention of reaching a break even point and then going into positive return on investment. You then have the situation of your marketing paying for itself and branching out your campaign into other methods or additional ads and extending your reach. This will help you build on the momentum and use your web properties to profitably grow your business.
The third point is strategy. Is your web company a churn the numbers, tick boxes type or do they take pride in making sure you get the best possible outcome and your investment is exactly that; an investment? Is there an over-arching strategy behind all the decisions you and your web professional are making? Having the big picture is a very important element in coming up with winning online results and you can easily tell if a web professional is taking this into consideration by the questions they are asking you. If they are taking the time to understand about your business; what it offers, your customers, why someone would choose your business over a competitor. In short they are looking for the best way to sell what you do and reach who wants what you do with a compelling message, then you have someone that knows what they are doing and will give you the online advantage that you need.