Top 5 Tips for a Successful New Website

Having been involved in website design and online marketing since 2004, I have worked with thousands of clients to bring their business plan and creative vision to life online.

An outdated website can have a dramatic affect to your online conversions and your brand reputation.

One common theme throughout each initial meeting has been that business owners know what they like and don’t like in a competitor’s website, but haven’t done the preparation necessary to effectively convey their own company culture and unique selling points (USP) on their website.

Unfortunately, many business owners have a bad experience with a previous website designer. Often web designers don’t listen to what the business needs in a website. Sometimes web designers don’t identify what customers area looking for in a great online experience.

In the early days of web design, 90 percent of my work was designing new websites for clients. Only 10 percent of projects were website re-designs.

Now, the metric has reversed with 90 percent of projects being website redesigns for many reasons. Some clients have outdated websites. Other clients have websites that are not mobile device friendly and cannot function on a tablet or smartphone. Others are just plain bad–offering a poor user experience such as difficult navigation or misinformation.

It is essential to have great communication with your website developer so that your business’ vision, culture, and identity translate into a fantastic website that speaks directly to your online customer.

A great website should be designed to catch your attention long enough to have you interested in learning more about a product or service. An effective website results in either a purchase or inquiry.

HOW CAN YOU SUCCESSFULLY PREPARE THE LAUNCH OF YOUR BUSINESS?

One of the best ways to start is to ask yourself the following 5 questions:

1. How Do You Get Potential Customers To Your New Website? 

You found the right website designer and built a fantastic website, but if no one see it, then what has all the work been for?  You need to have a clear marketing plan and budget before placing your trust in a seasoned professional.

The easiest way to learn about a client’s past experience with web design is to ask and listen. This is where I learn about a brand’s online marketing successes and failures. There are many examples of this. For instance, perhaps you tried to do a pay-per-click Google ad campaign that proved too costly. Or maybe you launched a Facebook advertising trial without realizing that you used a huge chunk of the monthly marketing budget without receiving a strong return on your investment.

It is very important to decipher which marketing vehicle is suitable for your market and customer base.  Ask yourself: Is my targeted demographic more likely to engage via social media or a Google search?  Without having a plan in place, experimenting with marketing platforms will cost you money.

2. Who Is Coming To My Website?

55 percent of users spend less than 15 seconds evaluating whether to stay on your website or move on to a competitor.  This is why it is important that your web design grabs a user’s attention immediately.

You must understand and analyze your website’s analytics on a weekly basis to get an idea of your targeted demographic. If you don’t know your audience’s interactive behavior then you are missing out on a goldmine of customer interaction data.

If your website traffic is dropping off on the homepage without going any deeper into other landing pages, you have a problem.

This means your website’s web design is not user-friendly. To pinpoint the issue behind your website, you need to investigate it.

A number of factors can cause this. Perhaps your call-to-action isn’t prominent. Or, maybe your website doesn’t navigate you to the right information.

By taking the time to evaluate where you are losing users, you can rectify the issue and increase overall conversions.

3. What are some common mistakes businesses make when trying to “Stand out from the Crowd” online?

Too often people use gimmicks such as flash animation, loud music, or quirky videos thinking it will make you want to engage.

Studies have shown that these “tricks” have the opposite effect on users by turning them off  before they even learn about your business.  We have all gone to at least one website with loud and annoying music playing in the background. You either mute it or close the page.

Even though this has been proven to be an ineffective marketing strategy, you still see it everyday.

The loudest and flashiest websites don’t always translate into increased conversions.

A website that keeps the theme and industry expectations for a service or product while having a more engaging design with a strong call-to-action on every landing page has a high likelihood of converting.

4.  What Do You Want Your Visitors To Do On Your Website?

Once you decided on your website’s theme, you need to create a strong call-to-action for each landing page.  But what kind of action do you want to happen?

Do you want a visitor to pick up the phone and call you? Perhaps you want a potential customer to sign up for a newsletter? Submit a contact form including their phone and e-mail address? Buy your product or service online through a shopping cart feature?

The answers to these questions are key to the success of a great website.

The questions and answers will give you an outline that will guide your traffic where you want them to end up.

For example, if your website is selling a product, you have to convince the visitors to buy online and make it easy for them to do so.

Perhaps offer 1-Click purchasing similar to what Amazon has set-up or offer an online promotion code to create a return audience.

You can design a subscription club for automatic ordering depending on what you have on offer.

Try to be creative but simplified in your marketing approach.

If you offer a service, potential customers should know how and why they can benefit from engaging with your company over competitors.  One rule of thumb to keep in mind is simplicity. Don’t make the visitors of your site think too much. Be very clear and concise with your website’s calls-to-action that can be taken to purchase your service on every page and with minimal navigation.

You can have your  homepage open in a separate tab, so if a visitor needs to go back and look at a description again, they still have your Store tab open. Keep visitors engaged and your conversions will skyrocket!

5. How Do Visitors Stay In Touch With You?

Now that we have developed a strategy to keep your visitors on your site, how do we convert them into engaging long-term?  What are three things to remember to accomplish that goal?

Answer: Know your audience.

By reviewing your Google analytics for the website, you can break down the demographics of your engaged visitor and create a customized marketing plan to optimize converting traffic.

Do your visitors prefer to stay connected via:

·        Facebook

·        Twitter

·        LinkedIn

·        Google+

·        RSS Feeds

·        Newsletter

·        Promotions/Specials

Engaging your customers is important since the majority of first time users, 96 percent to be exact, don’t convert on the first visit. Ensure they return by identifying your target user and catering directly to the platform that best reaches them.

If your website visitors are between the ages of 18-30 years old, you can create and maintain a strong social media presence to cater to them. Regularly provide your demographic reasons to return to your site. Have a strategy of consistently posting engaging content informing them of specials, creative visuals, and current news that effects your industry.

By engaging visitors you’ll give them incentive to return, convert, and hopefully invite their social network to become regular users of your website as well.

After all, a website is not just a static “snapshot in time” of your business. Instead, your website should be  constantly evolving, reflecting what your brand represents in the marketplace and offer your customers value with every visit.

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We have more helpful articles on web design, SEO, social media marketing, content strategy and video marketing. Follow Carla St. Louis, our in-house Content Strategist. Follow Be The Square on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for more information on useful internet marketing strategies.

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