Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is Your Website Doing the Trick?

Some of you may have read this before in my Newsletter but remember repetition is never bad policy if it reminds one of things they need to watch out for! If you website is not bringing you what you need – make sure you have gone through this check-list. Each step will make a difference.

Is your web pulling in the clients and revenues you need?

10 Secrets to Building a Profitable Website.

1. Research - check out your competition.

Who are your competitors?

You will want to go online and do a search for your product or service. Look at the companies on the first two pages of Google.

That is your target. Those are the companies that you want to beat in search engine ranking.

Take a look at their website. Notice the copy. What meta data are they using? Analyze their website. Are they successful? What are they not doing right?

Look for the holes. You are going to meet the needs of their customers (that they are not fulfilling) so they become YOUR customers.

2. The Image of your Website Must Reflect who you want to Attract.

Websites should always be designed with your target audience in mind, not just your own personal preferences. Understanding the products/services/information your target audience is searching for is paramount to designing and maintaining an effective web site.

Knowing the type of design elements, colors and look that will attract your perfect customer and keep them there is of utmost importance.

3. Keep a consistent look and feel

Make sure your website is consistent from page to page, same font, color scheme, basic layout and navigation. This will make your business look professional and pulled together.

When visitors come to your site you want them to have a good experience and you need to have a great image. 4. Build Consistency in your Branding Identity.

Your website should have your distinctive logo and look like your business cards, letterhead, and any other marketing material you have. If you are serious about your business you want the public to get to know who you are just by glancing at your logo or seeing anything with your business name on it.

Smart business people realize that a powerful image attracts new customers and distinguishes their business from the competition. What is branding? To create a distinct and memorable identity, through the consistent use of company logos, corporate colors, typography and any other visual elements that have been decided on.

5. Build a Website that can Grow with your Business.

Many businesses think that once they build their website it will stay the same forever.

As your business evolves and changes so will your website. It is important to keep this in mind when you are initially designing your website.

Make sure that the design of your website will allow for future links – future growth. Don’t design your site so that you have to start from scratch just to restructure or add a few pages.

6. Make sure your navigation is clear and concise

The people that visit your website should be able to find what they want easily. As a general rule they should not have to click more than 3 times to get to where they want to go. Try to make it 2 clicks if possible.

Be sure and develop a site map for your website, this will allow an on-line user to quickly locate the information they want.

Remember if a visitor to your website becomes overwhelmed and cannot find what they want quickly they will leave and go to your competitor.

7. Optimization your Website Properly

Your website should be quick to load into any browser. It is a fact that visitors to a website will quickly lose interest if your pages don’t load quickly.

The type of animations, movies, and graphics used and the compression of these items make the difference between success and failure.

Always make sure your first page loads fast and consider what type of access your target audience has to the internet. Build your website to the lowest common denominator. If you do want video or larger animations on your site make sure your visitor can download the plug-ins needed to view these items and warn them that it will take time for them to load.

Note of interest: Google is now ranking websites that load fast, higher than those that do not.

8. Set Your Website up for Marketing.

From the very beginning a business should be cultivating a good data base of people that are interested in their products or services. Don’t make the mistake of not putting a sign-up on your site.

Offer a free newsletter, article or anything that is valuable to your customer.

Collecting this information will allow you to keep in touch with people who are interested in your product or service but are not ready to buy at this time.

Make sure you let potential customers know of your privacy policy – keep the information you gather for your marketing only.

9. Internet Marketing through Search Engines

Meta tags are much less important than placing Keywords in the content of you website copy. Algorithms change constantly so it is important to know what each individual search engine is looking for. A great resource to use is http://www.scrubtheweb.com it will evaluate your website and determine if your website is search engine friendly and best of all it is free.

Once all your key words are in place and you have your site optimized you are ready to submit your site to search engines.

10. Keep your website fresh.

Make sure you have a section on your website that is updated on a regular basis. People will not come back to your website more than once if it stays the same week after week.

Draw interest with a blog, message board, articles or an events page.

Within the next few weeks I will be unveiling my new website and it is completely different from my current one. I will be announcing it and I hope you will check it out.

Contact me for solutions to your online business needs!

Pamela Jacob – Artista Design