1. GET THE DOMAIN NAME RIGHT – Buying a domain (.co.uk, .com) with your business name is the most obvious choice but this is not always the most useful. Consider whether your business name is difficult for customers to spell or even pronounce. If so then you need to use something else. Often, the best domain to secure is one that sums up your business e.g. Pembrokeshire-bed-and-breakfast.co.uk. This can give you a competitive advantage in major search engines such as Google when people then go to search for Pembrokeshire bed and breakfast. Make sure any domain name registered on your behalf is done so in your name to avoid any copyright issues years down the line.
2. IT’S ABOUT RESULTS – At the end of the day websites are all about numbers. How much traffic can you get to your website and how much of that traffic can you convert into enquiries or sales?? Spending hundreds and thousands on getting your website right and then launching it and hope people are going to find it is no marketing strategy. The equivalent is getting a great big advertising banner and sticking it up in the middle of the dessert. Consider how you’re going to get people to your website and include this in your website budget.
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE – Don’t try and be too ‘out there’ with your design. Chances are that if your website design and layout is completely different to everyone’s then people will get confused and go elsewhere. Using plenty of white background space around important information helps direct people to what you want them to concentrate on. Simple and consistent navigation throughout is important to stop people getting lost and hitting the eject button. DO NOT assume that because you know your way around your website that others will as well. Google and Amazon are online market leaders at what they do because of their deliberate simplicity.
4. KEEP SCROLLING TO A MINIMUM – People browse websites and will decide in the first couple of seconds of landing on your home page whether they are going to stay or go look at your competitors. A big block of text with lots of scrolling involved is all that is required for a lot of people to look elsewhere. Keep text to a minimum, make sure there are no misspellings and promote the benefits of your product or service, not it’s features
5. VISIBLE CONTACT DETAILS – Your company logo, telephone number and email address should be in the header of your design so that it features on every single web page. If your location is important then make sure people can find a map on your find us or contact us pages. DO NOT put your contact details towards the bottom of your web pages and assume that people will scroll down and find it as this could lead to you missing out on an important bit of business.
6. AVOID USING FRAMES OR TEMPLATES – Frames and template websites are your cheapest option for a new website, but they are often full of useless code that makes it difficult for search engines to understand what you do. As a result your website will be difficult for potential customers to find when searching online. Invest in a bespoke website and not only will it give you a healthier return on investment but it will also have a longer life expectancy and be easier to maintain.
7. CALLS TO ACTION – If you’re lucky enough that people are taking the time to read what you have written on your web pages then make sure that at the end of it you direct them where to go next. Buy Now, Request a Quote and Request a Call Back are all useful buttons that could be used in your web pages to prompt people to stop browsing and just get in touch with you. Consider what you want people to be doing when they read a page in your website and then prompt them to do it.
8. BE INTERACTIVE – Many SME websites tend to be static and often the content is out of date and doesn’t portray an accurate image of how the business is today. Unfortunately, many business websites are exactly the same today as they were the day they went live. You can increase traffic and sales from your website by being more interactive and keeping content fresh. News Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, E-mail Newsletters and podcasts are all easy to use tools that you can utilise to interact with customers to encourage new and repeat business whilst giving your web presence a more personal feel. These tools allow you to promote news, offers and new products without having to keep going back to your web developer.
9. REGISTER YOUR WEBSITE TO GOOGLE MAPS – The simplest way of marketing your website is to register it with Google maps. This can often place your website at the top of Google for searches that include your service and geographic criteria. In addition to this people can also find your location if they need to print off directions prior to a meeting.
10. MONITOR YOUR STATS – 4 out of 5 businesses we initially meet with are unaware of any stats package for their website. This could show you how much traffic your website gets, what pages are the most popular, what phrase did people search to find your website in major search engines, how much traffic did you get from links such as yell.com or visitwales.co.uk, and how long are people staying on your website. This info can save you money and improve sales by helping with decisions on what links to keep, what interactive tools are working, what pages need tweaking, and give peace of mind as to whether your website is doing its job.
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By Angus Findlay
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