Your Website is Your Lifeblood
7 Minutes, 10 Seconds
Written By John Marx
The core revenue of our business is on helping company's better use Digital Marketing to get people interested in their company's unique brand. There are huge benefits to doing digital marketing for any size business. Digital marketing ranges from social media, web logs (blogs), search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing and mobile applications to name just a few. The core of all of these items though is they all should not only interact with your target audience but drive traffic to your website.
Every business initially sees Facebook as a must have which is certainly true for many companies starting off as they are currently the biggest of the social networks. The problem with Facebook, or any social media outlet, is that they dictate what your brand is. They mandate the colors, placement, and what is shown about your brand. You company brand should be an extension of your company and not based off of another's brand. This is where a very blurry line can come into play. We all want as many followers as possible on social media but we want to market as ourselves. We want more for those followers to be engaged and working on helping promote our brand.
Tip: Having more followers is not always the best for your company. Having engaged followers is the key for any brands ultimate success online.
Social media and all forms of digital marketing should have a core single purpose in mind; to draw your followers to your website. By doing this you get people coming to where you have control over everything about your company. When you deal with a company that doesn't do out-of-the-box WordPress or other Content Management Systems (CMS) your website will be able to grow with you in a consistent and easy to administer manner. All of the major CMS packages can be customized to grow with your company. These modifications will make it possible to meet the needs of your business today as well as when your business grows.
Knowing that your website is the lifeblood of your company and that having a solution that will grow with you without requiring a complete re-do when your business continues to grow we've outlined a few unique items that your website should have. A good CMS will allow you to achieve this yourself or will help your webmaster achieve the results for you when you are too busy running your company while keeping costs at a minimum.
User Experience (UX)
One of the key areas people rarely think about but is paramount on their mind is the user experience. No one wants a website that doesn't work, appears like patchwork, or doesn't have any logical structure. With every website that is done whether it be a five page site or a five hundred page site thinking out your overall design is crucial. Before a single line of code is written we sit down and create a sketch of the UX. Once we have our sketch completed we move onto what is known as a wireframe.
Looks like a hand-drawn image of what the website will look like in a very rough state. This is where many of the high level decisions are made on the overall look-and-feel.
The wireframe is a much cleaner and closer to actual rendition of the final product in a mostly black and white format. Colors are used to show emphasis on certain items when needed.
Once a wireframe is fully mocked up and accepted the real fun begins as the wireframe mockups are now turned into actual code to make your website come to life.
Call to Action
As part of any website you need a "Call to Action". Whether you are creating a website to sell your product (eCommerce), as a support portal, community site, an informational site or a combination of one of these your website should have a "Call to Action". This could be as simple as an email signup, register to view part of your book online, getting your visitors to view a certain piece of information you are promoting, getting your visitors to purchase your product, or something else. The "Call to Action" should be easily seen and understood by your site visitors.
When it comes to a website if all you had was a beautiful site with no content (pictures or text) no one would ever come back. Writing compelling content that is unique to your site will help differentiate your site from everyone else's. This includes your competitors. If your content is superior and it comes push to shove and your customer compares the two sites who will be the overall winner for their business? Will your site help sell the customer to come to you or will it help encourage them to go to your competitors?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We already know you will be promoting your website as the great business owner that you are. You will be having your staff promoting it as well through emails, social media and correspondence. But what do you do when everyone is "off" (like any of us are truly ever "off")? This is where SEO comes into play. Every page on your website should have
- A unique title that is around 55 characters that fully explains what the page is.
- A unique set of keywords that match the content that you are trying to get across.
- A description explaining what the page is. Although Google doesn't use this other search engines and social media outlets do use this information.
- Content that matches what the page is about and is unique not only to your website but from all other websites, especially your completion, as much as possible.
- Headings. Every page should have what is called an H1 which is a primary heading. There should only be one. If you need more than use H2, H3, H4, H5 or H6 as your headings. Although you should only have one H1 you can have many H2-H6 headings.
Tracking and Analytics
You've built a website and you think people like it. How do you know? This is where tracking and analytics comes into play. What pages do your site visitors go to when they come to your site? Are they mobile, desktop or tablet viewers? What web browsers are they using? Without knowing this information you will be missing what your customers are wanting or needing. Your competitors will surpass you as you are ignoring what they want.
Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS one may not feel is an important decision when it comes to building a website. Many graphic and web companies don't even give you access to your CMS (in our mind to increase their pocket books – sorry). We believe in giving you a fully optimized site that you can control. You may be busy and may ask us to help or to do everything and we love doing that for you but we truly believe in that choice being yours and not ours. Your CMS should be easy to use and consistent. With this consistency you will find that you can get in and out in a very short period of time without being a web developer (e.g. programmer) and get back to running your company. Your full-time job should not be in maintaining your website.
Why did we make mobile last? That's definitely by design for this blog post. Every solution we make we start with a mobile first philosophy so that visitors to your site will see an awesome experience whether on a desktop, tablet or mobile device. If you pull up your current website does it look good? If you have to pinch and zoom to read the text or scroll left-to-right to read the content (even a bit) then there is something not working on your site. A mobile site should have as intuitive interface as a desktop and only scroll up and down.
This is definitely a lot to take in and truly only the tip of the ice berg when it comes to building a great website. If this all seems like a lot have no fear as this is a lot to pull in and what JM2 Webdesigners is great in doing. We will sit down with you and listen to what you want, what your current pain points are and help you devise a short and long term solution to meet the needs of your company. To learn more click here or call us at 219-229-1633.
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