Everyone admits that a savvy social marketing strategy is a critical part of a business’s online efforts, but what about a quality website? Too often social media is prioritized as an internet marketing magic bullet, while a company’s website is left in the lurch or, in some cases, never even built in the first place. However, it’s typically a business’s website that can actually have the greatest impact on their online marketing strategy.
Why a Good Site Matters
If you’re wagging your finger at the computer screen at this point, remonstrating that you do, indeed, have a site for your company, remember that the key term here is “quality.” There are numerous sites run by small companies that are out of date, archaic, or straight-up dysfunctional.
The problem is that an outdated or poorly designed site is a missed opportunity. It’s tempting to pour all of your efforts into a battery of social media accounts that are all free (at least until you add up the cost of all of those man-hours spent posting content). A website, on the other hand, costs time and money to both design and maintain.
However, entrepreneurs and business owners should seriously consider reorganizing their priorities. It’s your website, not your social media, that should be the hub of your online marketing strategy. Your website allows you to host online content that demonstrates your authority within your niche. A plumber, for instance, can create posts on their site about how to unclog a toilet, what hardware is best for a kitchen sink, how to turn off a water line, and general plumbing maintenance that all homeowners should keep up with.
In addition to providing authoritative articles, a website can answer common questions from your customers, house testimonials, include contact information, and generally serve as a central location for your social media, email, and other online marketing efforts to point back to.
In short, your website should be a crucial cog of a good omnichannel experience. Here are some specific ways that you can create a good website that is tailored to help your business.
Providing on a Good User Experience
User experience (UX) is everything these days. If you design your website for an audience of one (read: yourself) you’re going to have a slew of unsatisfied customers clicking away from your site in frustration.
This doesn’t just mean losing their business, either. Google can also see how long a person spends on a website. If they see that your readers are spending very little time on each page, it’ll push you down the Google rankings, which means — you guessed it — you’ll have fewer visitors.
In order to avoid this vicious cycle, you should aim to create a website that is designed for the user. Consider these important design elements from your audience’s perspective as you go about designing your site:
- Make sure the site is designed with usability in mind.
- Keep everything as simple and streamlined for your audience as possible.
- Be consistent with your design throughout your site.
- Provide an easy-to-understand navigation system.
The general rule of thumb with UX is to always put the customer first. What will they be thinking, and feeling when they reach your site? What questions will they most likely want to be answered? What problems are you able to solve? These questions should heavily influence the way that you design your site.
Don’t Forget SEO
Along with a good UX, you want your website to make the search engines happy.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art of optimizing your website’s content in order to make sure that it can be easily found and understood by search engines like Google. When properly executed, an SEO site communicates well with search engines while still remaining accessible and valuable to human readers. This is known as “white hat” SEO.
Common white hat SEO practices include:
- Using appropriately placed keywords throughout your text.
- Hyperlinking to helpful articles, pages, and resources on your site (known as internal linking).
- Hyperlinking to helpful articles, pages, and resources on other sites (known as external linking).
- Filling in metadata (things like titles, descriptions, image alt text) on the backend of your site’s content.
- Making sure your website is mobile-friendly.
SEO can feel overwhelming, but taken one step at a time, it’s actually quite a simple way to affordably boost your site’s position in search engine results — which directly leads to more traffic.
Maintaining a Quality Website
Around 87% of consumers conduct pre-purchase research online. There’s no arguing with numbers like those. If you don’t have a good website, you’re going to lose out on an essential opportunity to snag potential customers’ attention, whether you’re offering them a free month subscription to a streaming service, a steaming cup o’ joe at your coffee shop, or anything in between.
If you don’t feel capable of building a quality website on your own, consider hiring a professional to help. There is no shortage of website building companies and contractors available, and the upfront costs are typically well worth the benefits. As a word of warning, though, there are plenty of freelancers out there that talk a big game but can’t necessarily come through on their promises. Make sure to vet your web designer carefully before you hire them to make sure you’re getting the right person for the job.