Today if you are going to set up a website for business – whatever that business is – you need to consider investing in the following:
Quality and relevant design by an experienced designer
The quickest way to fail is getting your first impression wrong or unprofessional. Get advice, research your market and test on people you know and don’t know.
Remember that every page is a potential landing page
People spend ages designing their home page but often run out of energy for the the subpages but because of the way search engines work people are just as likely to landing on your subpages as much as the home page so make sure all pages communicate your USPs and are optimised for search engines.
Onsite search engine optimisation
Make sure that whoever builds your site and writes the copy does it in a search engine-friendly way as advised by Google.
Quality original imagery, elements on page
Stock imagery and poor quality imagery can put people off.
Creating and managing multiple social media channels on a daily basis
Updating on-site information from the website updates and offers to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Man these with staff – they are not an afterthought. Also consider film in explainer videos – YouTube is the second-biggest form of social media.
Maintaining a blog with a good writer who understands your business
The blog is a staple requirement now – it shows thought leadership, embraces the customer community and it help SEO in terms of keeping the site active, keywords and long-tail search queries.
A sustained PR campaign for quality external press to link back to your website
Online newspaper and magazine articles as well as key influencers like popular bloggers can link back to you to funnel traffic your way.
Pay Per Click advertising campaigns
The investment amount is your call but using PPC has the potential to increase conversions and track customers.
Analytical software such as Google Analytics
As with any business – unless you analyse the way your customers interact with you, you won’t know what you are doing wrong or what you are doing right. What are the reasons people are converting to a sale? Adapt your website with any new intelligence around user interaction.
Today you need to approach your website in exactly the same way as someone would approach the challenge of setting up a bricks and mortar shop in the high street. You need staff, you need to challenge competitors, you need brand design, and you need to keep ahead with your customer interaction and draws. Importantly you need to monitor all the time and make decisions around your observations.
Apply the rules of running a shop to your business website: invest, design for customers, market, analyse constantly. Sometimes, free and cheap does not help your costs but eventually increases them as your growth is stunted. Invest intelligently and nurture your brand.
Tom Vaughton is the managing director of digital marketing business Varn Media.
Image via Shutterstock.