If you are running a business, and do not have a web presence, you are missing
a great opportunity! So many people these days look to the internet to
research providers of products and services. A website can play a vital
part in your business, from making you visible to potential clients, right
up to actively selling your products and services online.
An effective website establishes your company credentials, provides an online brochure of products and services, and gives potential clients a reason to contact you! It can also be really helpful in communicating with existing customers, including an easy way to make sure they always have your phone number and email address to hand!
So, how do you go about setting up your own website to reach these prospective customers? Here's a guide for clients about to embark on a brand new internet identity, and of course, we're always happy to help you in any way we can.
Whether you already have a website, or are considering your first launch onto the Internet, you should ask yourself: "What do I want my website to do for me?" If you don't know where you want to go, how do you know which direction to take? It's just like the Cheshire Cat's advice to Alice. Before you even think about how to go about building a site, you should first do some planning and research so you can answer some basic questions.
These are the people you want to attract to your site, and who will be your consumers. It makes a big difference to your site design if you are aiming at mainly home users, or corporate business users. Within business users, too, there are differences between CEOs, senior management or technical staff. People have different reading patterns and attention spans, and each will have different needs from your site. Try to identify what your audience will gain from visiting your site, and what kind of information they will be looking for. Keep in mind an idea of your typical visitor as you plan your site.
Identify the main purpose of your website early on. It simplifies the design process, and allows you to focus your time and resources more efficiently. It will also result in a better, more focused site specifically aimed at your identified audience. If you don't know your objectives, how will you know if you are successful?
Your aim might be simply to have your company details out there on the web, to make more people aware of your existence, and what type of products or services you provide. Providing contact details allows interested visitors to email or phone you for further information.
In addition to company details, you may want to provide more specific information on your products and services. You might set out to educate your visitors about your business, provide service manuals, or an online catalogue of your products.
One step further from merely presenting information, is to allow visitors to interact with you. This could be online ordering and paying for products, booking appointments, or getting customer feedback, for example.
Develop a Relationship
If you want to keep your visitors coming back to your site, you could ask them to register. Provide additional services for your regular visitors, for example regular product updates, an email newsletter, or preferred services.
Your website should be considered as a part of your Marketing Strategy.
Project an image consistent with your existing marketing materials, and
be sure to update both together.
If you are expecting your website to produce additional interest and customers for your company, you should consider in advance how you expect to handle that. Who will be responsible for answering product questions? Technical questions? Where and how will automatic orders be processed?
Once you have your brand new website published on the Internet, how can you attract the right customers to come and visit? Most interested visitors will find you by searching, or by following a link from a related site.
List your Site
Search engines will look for relevant content and links into your site. Optimize your website for specific keywords related to your business. Make the site interesting to attract links from other websites, and list it on directories related to your subject.
Promote your site
There are companies on the Internet that will promote your website for a fee, or you can place banner ads on sites that are likely to attract people who would be interested in your products.
And, of course, you should ensure that your website address is printed on your business cards, marketing materials and press releases.
Web Pages That