You’ve read about how you can have a website in one evening … painless … cheap … no skills required … and I know you’d like to believe it. In fact there is a little truth in these claims – building a website quickly with no skills and little effort is a very remote possibility, a SUCCESSFUL website – not even on the map. The truth is there really are no shortcuts.
There is a proven sequence of steps that form a strategy for a successful website. Each step listed below provides groundwork for the next and they all take professionalism, time and thought.
Yep … work.
1. Words. Copy. Concise and focused. Compelling, unique content will power your website and is the single most important factor in your web success. It takes time and thought to write good copy. It also takes skill and the understanding of how people “read” a web page to craft your message in a way that engages, informs and retains your visitors. You can’t afford to neglect this critical website element. Content is why people visit your website. Period.
2. Design. Visuals. Layout. These elements give your words structure. They wrap your message in credibility. All elements need to be organized to show visitors that they are in the right place. Your navigation should be easy to find and to follow, your pages uncluttered, and images should support your message.
3. Search Engines. Content (remember step one) will attract and inform Search Engines as well as human visitors. Fine-tuning and search engine friendly structure will help match your site with desirable search terms.
4. Social Media. Facebook. Twitter. These platforms can generate interest and traffic, develop support for customers and enhance customer loyalty. Social media requires customer research and strategic thinking to create a meaningful customer experience.
5. Newsletters. Keep your customers informed about your business and products. Write tips, share ideas, offer advice and be sure to follow the anti-spam guidelines by making it easy for folks to say “No thanks” to further messages.
6. Advertise. Your website is a tool to communicate with your potential customers. Make sure your web address and email appear on your business cards, printed promotional material and signage. Your website is a tool to use in your marketing messages.
A solid foundation of content is what your visitors require. Professional design adds credibility and function, underscoring your message. Attracting search engines helps potential clients find your site, as does social media platforms and newsletters. Smart money hires the experts to assist in these fields.
Keep your customers foremost in your strategy and build from the ground up. Taking care of the basics never really goes out of style!