Your website is home base, and the way it looks is only one part of making sure it will work for you
There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve spent all your time, money and energy building something, then realizing you’ve neglected an entire critical element.
Before you hire a designer to build a new site or revamp one that’s not working, here’s something to think about.
Your website is the central hub of your online presence, and it has a purpose beyond being a container for contact information, hours of operation, and company bios. It’s not just a glorified business card or brochure.
The way it your site looks matters, because appearance influences how visitors perceive you and your business.
Just as important as its appearance is the way your site’s content functions.
Your site, and everything on it, is your best chance for turning a mildly interested browser into a buyer and a long-term customer. If all you give them is a selection of things to buy, you become just like every other seller within your niche. The content on your site ensures that you’re able to highlight all the things that differentiate your business.
- It’s where potential customers really get to know what you’re all about, in a way that relates to them. Not just the boring facts, but your story, and how that story relates to their experiences, and their needs, and why they should care about exploring further.
- It’s where they find all the in-depth information about what makes you the best choice and about what makes you worthy of their trust.
- It’s where they can access tutorials, downloads, tip sheets, videos and other material that helps them get the most out of what you offer.
- It’s where potential buyers find the information they will no longer buy without.
Whether they first encounter you in person, by search, or find you on facebook, google+, instagram, pinterest, or twitter, pull people who’ve shown a bit of interest in you back to your site, then give them content that makes them want to hear more from you, then provide them a way to sign up to receive that additional content. That is the path to gaining customers who buy from you over and over again.
With this in mind, you start to realize that you need more than a designer. You need a content strategy and a way to make your plan happen.
Yes, that container for the content you’ll publish has to look good and function well, but getting the site up and running is just step one. When the designer has finished building your website, it’s not the end point – it’s only the beginning if you want to market your business online.
Ongoing, regular contact with your audience through newsletters, blogging, email, and social media with content that’s relevant is the other part of the equation.
What else do you need, in addition to a content-rich site?
A strategic plan
Make a plan for content that will open up an inviting path for visitors to your site to become customers of your business. This plan should include:
- what to produce
- the reason for it
- the form it will take
- who will do it
- how it fits in with what’s already there
- how it will get noticed and shared
A system to get your content in front of readers
The best content is useless if no one sees it, so part of your content strategy has to be how you’re going to put it out into the world.
A way to turn readers into buyers
Finally, you need a way to convert visitors into paying customers, which is the goal of any business website, whether it happens immediately or further on down the line.
Not every customer will buy on the first visit, and your site’s content won’t necessarily be consumed all at once, so it’s up to you to give visitors both a reason to return and a way to remember how to find you again.
That’s why an email list is so valuable. It’s as much a builder of trust, familiarity and relationships as it is a way to announce sales or new products.
If a customer is ready to buy, then there needs to be a clear path for them to do so. They need to know what to do next, and what will happen when they click a button or fill out a form. Good sales pages give buyers all the information they need, and help them feel good about making a purchase.
A comprehensive mix that’s tailored to your needs, and a strategy for getting there.
Design, content, and copy are all critical elements that work together to help you get what you really want – quality repeat clients.
That means more than developing ‘this bit’ or working on ‘that part’ without a thought about how they fit together. It means thinking about the process in a cohesive way, with all the pieces in place.
- An inviting, functional website that’s mobile ready.
- A strategic plan for content that will attract and keep the attention of your niche.
- A way to use social media that actually benefits you.
- A way to turn readers into customers, with calls-to-action that pull readers further down the conversion path.
If you’re starting to think that it all sounds like a lot of time and effort, you’re right. But here’s the good news.
Building solid content for your home base is a process. You don’t have to do it all at once, and you don’t have to do it alone.
This not a stand-alone marketing campaign; it’s an ongoing process.. Take one step at a time and build up your platform, bit by bit. Assess and re-assess. Layer on content.
Make incremental changes to what you have already. It’s not a question of throwing everything out to make way for something new. It’s about making a strategic plan, then following through, then monitoring results to see how things can work better.
This approach is not a short-term fix. It’s a long-term solution based on proven modern marketing principles. Need help? Start here.