Back with part 2 here… So, last week we covered some of the basic items you’ll need when considering a web presence for yourself or your company. Once you’re ready to start with the process of actually designing and optimising your website for receiving traffic however, what are the key elements you MUST focus on?

1) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – a really confusing area. SEO is the area concerned with giving your website the maximum chance of being seen and ‘ranked’ highly in the big search engines like Google. There are a number of things you or your web company can do to positively affect this –

  • Unique Content – unique written content in your website tends to be recognised by search engine ‘spiders’ (the little tentacles that trawl the net for information) more than generic or repeated content. So, do your research and create tailored website content or employ a copywriter to look after this; a good copywriter will research the area and write bespoke content for you to improve SEO.
  • Meta-tags & keywords – At the ‘back-end’ (in the code) of your website can be placed a number of keywords or phrases which related to your industry, products or services – you can decide upon these yourself if you wish. For instance, if you are an architect based in Comber you may want to have ‘architect Comber’, ‘architect north down’ ‘house design comber’ etc. mentioned in the code of your website.
  • A static site map – at the bottom of websites you will often see all the page names re-iterated. This direction to the individual pages helps with SEO.
  • Use of Best practice technologies – certain technologies such as flash animation are not visible to search engines so we tend to stay away from doing flash-based websites if SEO is a concern for clients.
  • Separate Pages – if visibility in search engines is important to you, you may want to consider splitting topic sub-categories onto separate pages within your website. E.g. if you sell interiors products, rather than listing everything together on a single page, you should split them into distinct categories and pages (e.g. a page for upholstery, a page for curtains, a page for coffee tables etc.).
  • Pay-per-click advertising – e.g. You can assign budgets to specific keywords to help them rank with Google which can help bolster your Search Engine Visibility.
  • Blog – Having a blog (and updating regularly) can help drive traffic to your website and organically increase search engine optimisation. If you don’t have a blog, you should.
  • Social Media – utilise the power of social media to drive traffic to your website, but do it in the right way. If you don’t know how to use it, get advice from a specialist company like Zenith.

There are of course other aspects which bolster SEO but to keep it simple, this is a pretty good start to anyone’s SEO mission when designing and developing a website for their company.

2) DESIGN – An often over-looked concept. Think about it this way. Would you stay on a website that is badly designed, illogical in structure or proves a nightmare to navigate? Of course not; so don’t expect your users to do so while visiting your site! If this describes your website currently, you can expect your potential clients to go to your competitors’ websites in their DROVES. I cannot stress this enough; design is of the UTMOST importance to everything you do as a company. Without good design your brand suffers. It’s very rare that you see a really successful company with a terrible website, corporate brochure or corporate identity. Think about the correlation here.

If you have a poorly designed website, brochure or brand identity you are selling yourself and your company short. The website and other marketing materials are there to attract new clients and interested parties when you are not around to do so. Never, ever overlook this; or do so at your peril. A website should take your existing brand identity and complement it, lift it, transform it in a positive way, so that anyone coming onto your website is automatically drawn to and interested in learning more about you or your company.

Again this goes back to the point about ‘cheap’ products/services… As a colleague of mine always reiterates (in fact it’s the tag-line of their company), ‘Nobody ever regretted buying quality’. Don’t go the ‘cheap’ route on your marketing materials; think long-term; it’s an investment after all. Unconfused

3) STATISTICS PACKAGE – Yes, you heard right.  The word ‘Statistics’ sounds so boring, which is why I’ve left it ‘til last; so you had a chance of actually reading the rest of the info herein… I need you to pay attention to this next bit because it could provide the key to making your online marketing a success… If you don’t have a stats pack bolted onto your website you have made one of the FATAL mistakes of internet marketing. You might just be INSANE. Say for instance that you’ve just invested a couple of grand in your company website (a pretty decent investment if you ask me?), got a nice-looking website up and running and yet you have nothing in place to measure whether it is successful moving forward(??). You might as well have thrown half your investment down the drain if that’s the case. If you are not monitoring traffic to your website on a consistent basis – how many visitors, what sites refer them, search engine performance, user loyalty – you have wasted a portion of your investment right there. If this describes you however, don’t worry, the best thing you can do is start TODAY and get a stats pack bolted on to your site. Call your web company or call us and we’ll get you up and running.

In this way you can ensure your web marketing is optimised and can therefore adapt and improve over time, extending the lifetime of your website (and ultimately maximising your investment)

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Hopefully these two posts should have given you an idea of the basics you may need to consider when developing a website for the first time, or even how to improve upon the one you have.

One bit of essential advice I would have above all else; check out the design consultancy you are working with and get to know them; do they practice what they preach? Do you get on with them and do they demonstrate that they are there to design a package based on your needs and budget, not just to sell you stuff you don’t even need. I don’t know how many companies I’ve come across who peddle themselves as ‘Social Media Experts’ or ‘Marketing Gurus’ who don’t update their social media profiles, have 20 followers or have a terrible website. A good design consultancy will always be centred around providing clients with the most tailored range of services based on the client’s individual goals and requirements.  That’s certainly where our focus is.

On another note, we recently re-launched our awesome Facebook page here – http://on.fb.me/kBC7pO Visit the page for a free download of ‘Facebook for Business’, a quick overview article we released in lieu of our upcoming online training package for Facebook for Business. Another essential aspect of your online marketing should be a well planned and maintained social media strategy.

If you package up all of the aspects covered in these last two articles you will be pretty close to having a perfect website for you or your company. With that behind you, you will have all the confidence in the world that you are ahead of your competition, making them jealous and leaving them scratching their heads as to how you’ve made such a success of simply ‘having’ a website.

Leave any questions or comments below and we’ll do our best to help you out with any queries.

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