A new website might be in your organizations future. Maybe it’s even part of your new year’s resolution.
Here’s some keys to helping your new website be the best it can be in 2013.
Identify The Value of An Effective, New Website
Knowing how valuable the website will be for your business is absolutely critical before you explore who might be building it for you. Are you a software company and your website might help reduce your customer service calls? Are you an independent insurance agency who needs to compete with engaging websites like those of Geico and State Farm? Are you embarrassed to direct potential clients to your website?
Will a great website provide new business for you? Or is it merely a digital billboard for you? How much educating does your future clients need? Is the price of your product of service low enough that customers can purchase online, or will they need to call to talk to a sales person?
Do you want to generate leads? Produce sales? How many per month? How much is that worth to you?
Knowing the answers to these questions before you talk to a freelancer or marketing firm will help you determine how important a new website is for you.
Select a Partner to Help with Your Digital Marketing
At Shout Out Studio, we’ve “redone” a lot of websites. More than a handful of our clients paid the price for selecting a bad partner for their digital marketing needs the first time around. Cleaning up the mess of a subpar provider costs you time and money.
There’s a whole host of information you’re going to want to uncover and feel comfortable with your provider. Luckily for you, we wrote about that too!
Read our guide “What to Look for in a Web Marketing Partner” for more.
Admit You Don’t Know What you Don’t Know
Once you find a partner that you truly trust, admit that you don’t know what you don’t know. To get the most out of a doctor, you don’t listen to 80% of their plan and sprinkle in 20% on your own. The same it true with a partner to help you build your new website, let them know your goals and ask them to show you how to get there.
If you’re going to try to build your site on your own, admitting what you don’t know is still a key. This will allow you to ask for the right advice, seek out the right tools and spend your time learning what you truly need to learn. Don’t waste time plowing through a brand new website without first taking a step back to learn.
Start with a Digital Landscape Audit
Understanding the opportunities and competition that exist online is best done with the most information possible. Luckily for you, the vast amount of data available online will give you a unique opportunity to deliver exactly the type of content your audience wants in a way that will differentiate your brand from your competitors.
In Shout Out Studio’s digital landscape audit, we provide research that will help shape your business. From claiming your businesses local sites, defining your top 50 keywords to target within search engines to identifying key influencers within your space that can help take your brand to their audience; the digital landscape audit is invaluable.
Without learning what works and doesn’t work on the web, you’re going to waste time and energy pursuing the wrong campaigns.
Analytics. Data. Facts.
Hook up Google Analytics to your website as soon as possible. You can design, redesign and tweak your website until you’re 100 years old. There’s always something to do. Always.
Hooking your site up to a solid analytics provider allows you to make changes based on how your visitors actually use your site. Your website – at its best – is a combination of art and science. The creative work to tell your story in a compelling way melts into the science of helping guide your site’s visitors into becoming leads and customers. Data helps you make smart decisions and can turn difficult decisions into mere math problems.
Facts can bring clarity and as soon as possible, make sure your website is giving you relevant, actionable data.
Social Media. Flash. CMS.
Three final details for you to look into.
Make sure social media sites are thought through and completed. It’s better to have no presence than a bad presence. Also make sure your website connects folks to your relevant social profiles. Make it easy for folks who want to connect with you.
Never build any part of your website in flash. Please. Don’t do this. Flash isn’t viewable on smart phones and can have a lot of issues across various browsers. If someone pushes you towards flash, turn and run.
In this day and age, your site should be built within a Content Management System (CMS). WordPress is our CMS of choice, but there’s a host of options. Using a CMS makes changing and updating your website exponentially faster and might make it possible for you to edit your site by yourself. Also, it can save hours for your web designer, which is going to save you money.
Photo credit: Sean MacEntee