At the end of April 2013, it will be 20 years since the Internet was made available to the public. During the past two decades, the World Wide Web has grown exponentially every year. It started as a way for people to communicate but soon became a hub for worldwide business transactions. When consumers or businesses need goods and services, the first place they often look is the Internet. They are provided with many sites to research, but how do they pick just one? Perhaps they choose several to consider before eliminating all but one option. In such a competitive world, businesses constantly strive to discover the newest and most effective online marketing tools. However, one of the most powerful tools is often directly in front of their faces. Yes, websites are still one of the most powerful marketing tools. It is important to consider the following tips when your organization is getting a site makeover or an entirely new site.
1. Make sure the site content is high quality and is tied to domains with relevant search terms.
The days of keyword-stuffed nonsense paragraphs drawing visitors to a site are mostly over. Most people use Google as a search engine, and the engine relies on quality ratings. In order to gain better page ratings and more site traffic, it is essential to have well-written content. This content should include relevant search terms, but only where they logically fit in with the flow of information. In addition to this, it is important to buy domain names that are relevant to popular search terms used to find either products or services sold. For example, it would be better for a person with a cleaning business to start with domain names that relate to cleaning rather than using only his or her own first and last name.
2. Make the site look professional and attractive.
Although site visitors are mainly looking to see what a site can do for them, visual appeal is helpful. Quality photos, interactive tools and many other features enhance a site’s appearance. While aesthetic appeal is helpful, the site should still be easy enough for a first-time visitor to navigate. If visitors become frustrated with hard-to-find links, disorganized information, inadequate information or too many advertisements, they are likely to look elsewhere. When a major site overhaul is complete the organization should promote the user-friendly changes with press releases on sites such as PR Newswire or PRWeb.
3. Provide more useful information.
Whether services or products are the nature of the business, make sure site visitors understand what they are buying. Simply listing the services or products available in an e-commerce platform is not enough. Draft some useful tutorials or fact-filled informative articles. As a rule, a visitor should not have to leave the site to find information to answer his or her questions. This is often when business is lost. When a site provides not only products but also information, it helps build authority and enhances site visitors’ interest in the subject matter. Q&A pages, blogs, buying guides and tutorials can be devised by following some helpful writing tips.
While having a concise and easy-to-use website is still the top priority, it is important to support it with social media. Make sure relevant social media buttons are visible on appropriate pages so that fans of your products can share them with their networks. The time and effort spent in maintaining a powerful site will be well worth every second. What do you feel is the most important step you must take to improve your own site?
Caitlin Murphy on behalf of Westwood College, offering degrees in marketing