Having a website that is effective is a requirement of any business that wants to grow. If you are from a small city like Valparaiso Indiana or a large city like Chicago Illinois you need a website (and social media) that work together to tell your story. But why is it important for both small and big cities alike? We all can understand the big city as there is a lot of competition, big budgets, and a desire to grow to be bigger. Well, big city folk, the small city and small towns want the exact same thing and often have as many competitors and many times even more demanding customers. In big cities, you have companies that often have large marketing budgets and in small cities and towns you have a lot of startups that want to grow and become bigger than they are today. Big and small cities want to grow, make money, and contribute to their local economy. But what is needed for a website to truly achieve these results? This is something we are continually asked and we are going to cover twelve items that are required to have an effective website.
Define your sites "purpose"
Everything we do in life needs a purpose. Your website does as well. Define what you want the goal of your website to achieve. This can be a brochure site that showcases what you are selling, an eCommerce site (we love these) that allows you to sell your products online, a site that provides support, or one that covers multiple core objectives. This should be the very first item you define to achieve success.
Mobile friendly should lead the way
If you do not think mobile is important you are in trouble. According to Google (they know a thing or two) state that 95% of people that search from their mobile devices purchase based on search results within 24 hours of that search. If you are a restaurant it is even faster! Your website should be responsive that it answers customers questions not only on desktop screens but on mobile screens.
Think of the user experience
Would you want to go to a website that is complex with a ton of options or one that is simple and easy to understand. Think of sites that have great user experiences (or UX). Facebook, Google, and Apple are great examples of websites that have an easy-to-use and understandable design that puts information in the hands of the users with minimal clicks and are not overly complex.
Have a call-to-action covering the "purpose"
Every page of your website should have a call-to-action to walk people through your unique sales funnel. A brochure only site can have a sales funnel too! Guide users down the path that you want that explains to them what you want them to know. You may not be doing a sale on the first visit, even the second, but you should be guiding them to the desired result you are looking for.
Don't forget to tell your story (About Us)!
Every business has a story and although the "about" page is one that not everyone will read those that do want to truly know who you are, what you stand for, and why they would want to do business with you. Make certain your story here is clear, concise, and makes people want to embrace your company brand.
Promote your company brand & culture
Speaking of your brand your entire website needs to be consistent and explain to everyone who you are. Your brand is who you are, what people say about you when "you are not around", and let's those interested in your product and services see who you are as real people. People (aka customers) want to buy from people they connect with. Your brand can help in achieving this.
High Quality, but optimized, Images
Images are important in the story telling process. A single picture they say is worth millions of words and those words are instantly read. You want as high of quality images as you can get while balancing keeping them optimized for viewing on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices of many different sizes.
Be efficient, concise, and to the point
- Bullets are a great way to stay short and concise
- Keep to five or less bullets (when possible)
- Stay on topic
Include testimonials and customer praise
People love to buy from businesses that they can trust. A quick way to start building that trust is by having quality testimonials from current customers. This could be on your website or a sales slick that you can provide when you are asked. A sales slick is nice as it doesn't give away who your customers are and is like providing references like you would when seeking a job as that is what you are truly doing. Your testimonials should help you achieve more business and bring customers to your door.
Security is key
Many people today have been burned by the likes of Home Depot, Target, etc. where credit cards have been stolen. These companies are large enough they can handle the millions of dollars to clean up the problem and make it go away. Most businesses don't have extra millions laying around to recover from such acts. Keep your content management system (or CMS) updated, have the green padlock (TLS/SSL certificate), and make certain your passwords are strong and changed.
When you want to be found you need to be thinking of being found on desktop and mobile and both are treated differently and uniquely. If you are not told they are different you need to run. If you are told you can get results in a week you need to run. If you are told the only way to guarantee success is to pay money for a paid listing you need to run. Good search engine optimization (or SEO) requires that you work for it. You only get results when you work for them. Paid advertising helps in the beginning but should not be your entire strategy for success. Make certain your listed in every local listing, your latitude/longitude are correct, and your "Name, Address, and Phone Number" are all formatted consistently across every platform.
Having a website is great. Having social media is great. Each is incomplete without the other. Each only provides half a solution. You need both to achieve the highest level of success. Anyone can post on social media. What you need though is a strategy and plan (just like you defined your "Purpose" above). A good social media plan will determine not only who your target audience is but will keep track of the time they are most likely on (which changes), their ages, and what they are looking for (their desires). Having a strategy that fits your growing needs, tells your story, and interacts with your audience is not the same as a personal social media feed.
Having a website is critical no matter if you are in a large or small city (or town). Being we are from Valparaiso Indiana which is a decent sized city of 30,000+ residents but also surrounded by towns that are much smaller we know the importance of a quality website, a great story to tell, and a consistent message.
When you are ready to work with a company who has a "Leave it to Beaver" mentality of giving you more, for less, than we look forward to hearing from you. If you expect that paying more will get you more than we are not for you! All our solutions require that we work together as a team. We do not do our marketing alone without you. We do it collaboratively together to achieve success. We look forward to hearing from you!
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