As the most visible and important part of your web presence, it is easy to believe that the company website is all you need to succeed online. The assumption being the same as that quoted in the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams, ‘If you build it, they will come.’
Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. There are literally billions of webpages currently online, with millions more being created everyday. Your website is fighting for attention from consumers and search engines alike – and it needs to be out of the ordinary if it is to attract either.
So what do you need to do if you want to succeed online?
Invest in design to succeed online
Modern web users are driven by visuals. Success of sites like YouTube and Instagram can be directly attributed to the fact that people love watching videos and looking at pictures.
Your business needs to take account of people’s preferences for striking visuals when designing a website to succeed online. Images need to be high quality and attractive – a good layer of gloss is helpful for building trust and encouraging shoppers to delve deeper into your site.
You should also make sure that your site displays properly on mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets are now the primary computing devices for many people, so mobile-friendly/ responsive design is vital. 67% of mobile users are more likely to buy products and services from a mobile-enabled website, adding extra incentive to perfect the visual elements of your site. Furthermore, Google has strongly indicated it intends to penalise sites that serve up a poor mobile experience.
Optimise for search engines
Most of your web traffic will come through search engines, as buyers rely on Google and Bing to help them find products and services. You will need to ensure that your website is “search engine optimised” so that it can be indexed quickly and effectively.
There are dozens of variables that need to be addressed if you are to succeed online – the text on the page, the code behind the page, the way images are indexed – and the rules are constantly changing. You will probably need professional help to get your SEO right. This may not come cheap, but the rewards can make it well worth the investment.
Generally, people will never know your site exists if you don’t tell them. You should set aside some additional budget for publicity to help drive good quality traffic to your new website.
Even something basic like a simple email campaign to introduce the new site and associated launch offer (like a small reduction for those lucky enough to receive the email) will help to raise awareness. And once people know about your business online, there’s a very good chance they will come back again. You should also consider a social media strategy: platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have millions of active users, most likely including a good chunk of your prospective customers!
And although it may sound like a lot of trouble, these additional activities are not optional – they must be completed or your site will never reach its full potential, let alone generate a return on investment. To ensure your website delivers on its potential, you should consider partnering with a web expert to pick up where your own knowledge and experience finishes.
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