As an Internet marketing company, we at LGD Interactive often come across clients who are looking for the easiest, cheapest solution available to improve their company Website. You see, even today there seems to be this ’90s-esque belief that Websites are a one-time purchase and serve only a single function, much like a print advertisement or billboard. I should hope that if you are reading this, you’ll realize that assessment of a Website is dead wrong.
It’s 2011, folks. Here is one of the many Internet Marketing Tips in our blog; your website strategy is crucial. The potential of Internet marketing has already surpassed that of traditional print advertising, and social media has not only become the next big thing, it makes the next next big thing seriously consider not getting out of bed in the morning. Fast fact: You can no longer look at your business Website as a one-time deal, something you create and leave to sit and wither away into the background of your marketing campaigns.
Today, your Website is where your business comes to life online. You’ve got to start seeing your Website as an investment, a child that you raise from a single line of code to a fully-matured entity that will take your online presence to the next level. If you already see it that way, congratulations – that’s half the battle. The other half is getting your “Spartan on” (for those of you playing catch-up, the Spartans were known for their exact and deadly strategies…) and developing your own strategy that is going to crush the competition.
Here’s how you can accomplish that.
Give the Audience what it wants
The first rule of making an effective Website is to always keep the target audience in mind. Yes, I understand it is your Website, but thinking of it like that is akin to the soccer trophy you got in the third grade. Sure, it’s shiny and pretty and shows you achieved something, but inviting others over to your house to see it won’t keep them interested for more than a few minutes.
The design of your Website really needs to revolve around one key concept: giving the audience what it wants. The first step to getting there? Hire a team that doesn’t think like your company does, but instead thinks like your target audience does. Chances are good that you’re so involved in what your company does and how you want your consumer to see you, that you don’t even take the time to think about how they want to see you.
Remove yourself from the equation and let a professional who knows the value of how the audience thinks take over. (In fact, I think I might know such a company…)
Keep it Fresh
The second biggest rule of having a solid Website is keeping the content fresh. If your site claims to be on top of the market and offers the latest solutions to consumers, how good do you think you look to your own consumers when you haven’t updated your news section since 2007? I’ll tell you; you’re going to look old, out of the loop, and sloppy, to say the least.
Fresh content also has a secondary function that, in all reality, is arguably just as important as looking good to potential clients – looking good to search engines. Keeping fresh content on your site (weekly is fantastic) will keep Google/Bing/Yahoo/[insert search engine name here]’s indexing robots coming back for more, elevating your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs for short). The better your rankings for specific keywords, the better chance you have that an interested buyer will find your page. SEO is something I’m not going to cover here, but feel free to visit our other posts on the matter.
My last tip is really just as important as the first, and that’s to always keep your Website evolving. If you follow this blog, you’ve probably seen us update the look and feel, general statistics, and cool social media interaction options at least three times in the last nine months. It’s not just because we had the time to do it/we felt like it. In fact, we didn’t. But it’s important to keep in mind that while your Website might start as a 1.0, it should certainly not stay that way forever.
Take Facebook, for example. Remember when it used to be just for college kids? Or how about when there was no chat function available, no interactive games, business pages or welcome pages, and the photo album upload forms required you to go photo-by-photo, even if you had hundreds to add. Yeah, I do too. But now look at it. Everyone is allowed to join, keeping in touch with friends in real-time is just a chat entry away, businesses are spending thousands if not millions of dollars on their Facebook campaigns and uploading/viewing photos is so easy my grandmother can do it (when she isn’t busy playing Farmville the other 18 hours of the day).
Facebook has evolved to suit the needs of a growing audience, and more importantly, what that target audience wants. Your Website should (and better) do the same if you want to stick around in today’s world of Internet marketing. Darwin knows what I mean.