A marketing professional’s take on what a website needs
Any new website requires a large amount of thought and planning if it is going to be successful and not just for the obvious things such as layout, colour and text. This is a guide on what to take into account from a marketing perspective when designing your new site.
The reason for this is a marketing professional will look for different things to a normal developer or designer due to their background. A designer will often be more concerned with how it looks and renders on different devices but less into the marketing message. In this set of articles we are going to look at different people and how they can look to focus more on specific parts of a site.
What do you want to achieve from your new site? Is it new customers, online sales, awareness or something else? These are the first questions you should consider even before contacting a website company and should be the first questions that any company you approach asks you. Either way, a website should generate revenue for your organisation and you should also think about how you are going to evaluate this to make sure you are getting a good return on your investment.
Branding is so much more than just a logo. It encompasses everything to do with how you want your organisation to be perceived. Your website should convey the feel, standards and ethos of your company and this should be reflected in everything from the logo to colours to layout and even down to the writing style and message. In essence, it isn’t just about what the website tells people – it is also about what it says about your company as a whole.
For many people a logo won’t guarantee you business but it can cost you it.
Have a look at other websites for your industry. Look at your competitors as well as companies that you don’t directly compete with. Consider what they have done well as well as what they have not done so well. Make sure that you stand out for the right reasons. At times a simple colour change can make you stand out among other businesses of that type in the local area.
Who is your site aimed at? Take into account age, sex, business or consumer etc. Once you know exactly who your target audience is, you will have a better idea of what will appeal to them and pique their interest. A marketer will be looking to push these areas more than anyone else in the process of your website build.
Finding Your Site
You can have the best site in the world but if no one sees it, it is a complete waste of time and money. How will people find your site? There are various options such as making sure it has good SEO, adverts, directories, social media and paid for online advertising. Discuss this with your developer to make sure people are going to find it and then use some type of analytics to monitor number of visitors
Your website must be easy to use if you want people to take their time to look around it. If the first page takes ages to load, they will be likely to give up and look elsewhere. Make sure that any images used are not too large and use appropriate hosting. You also need to make sure it works well on different devices as well as computers such as phones and tablets because more and more people view websites ‘on the go’ nowadays.
Following on from usability, your site should be easy to navigate. Don’t use excessive menu options and make sure that people can find what they are looking for easily without having to click through countless options to get there.
The content on your site should be relevant, current and you need to keep it fresh. The days of setting up a website that didn’t change for months at a time are long gone. You can either use a CMS system like WordPress or Joomla to update it yourself or outsource it to a company such as PC Futures. As well as being better for search engines, new content on your site will keep visitors coming back as they will be getting something from it time and time again.
It is one of my personal bug bears when you visit a site, like what you see but then have to search the site for a phone number or email address. There is no sense in making it hard for prospective customers to get in touch with you so make sure your contact details are displayed clearly and if you are using a ‘contact us’ form, make it easy to find.
It is also worth making sure there is a clear call to action on your site. Something simple like ‘contact us for a free quote’ or ‘come along to our next event on …’ should draw people in.
Your website will quite often be the first impression that someone gets of your company or organisation so don’t undermine all of your hard work with spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Check the wording carefully yourself but also ask at least one other person to check it for you as often a fresh pair of eyes will spot something that you may have missed. This is a really important thing as some people are really into grammar and spelling so take extra care here.
If you follow all of the above advice, you will hopefully end up with a site that not only creates a fantastic first impression of your company but encourages people to come back time and time again and gives you a good return on your investment.
PC Futures is an Ipswich based company with an excellent track record of producing high quality sites that get found and generate revenue. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your website or SEO requirements.
Thanks for reading a marketing professional’s take on websites.