Intro

The question is: do you think your website is working for you? In simple do you think your website is an effective marketing tool to grow your business and client base. Most businesses adopt the attitude of “we have a website and an online presence isn’t that enough” but the cold hard truth is that your website is the face of your business in an age where people ‘Google’ before they meet and first impressions count. So let us look at what could be alarm signs that your website needs a face lift!

Is your website text based? Does it load slowly? Do you appear on the 5th page of Google? Is uploading an update a hassle? Do you make use of outdated design elements?

If you answered yes to any of these questions it is time to take your website into the era of well designed effective websites that speak to the heart and mind of your target audience. Let us break it down into seven key elements:

Appearance

Visual design is paramount to anything else when creating a website – the idea is to catch the user’s eye with clever design and guide the user effortlessly through the most critical communication elements. The use of graphics, text, colour and imagery needs to appeal to your target audience, captivate their imagination and leave them wanting to explore your online presence.

Content

The aim is to have content that is engaging, that succeeds at teaching, persuading and entertaining the user whilst also helping you meet your business objectives. It is crucial to keep the information on your website concise, direct and memorable. Ensuring your content is targeted to a specific user group and incorporates rich media like video content or material such as infographics and whitepapers, will not only capture the users attention but also hold it long enough to get them to take action. It is also vital that content is regularly updated.

Functionality

Most websites fail to take into account who is going to be visiting the website and the fact that the most users spend an average of two minutes on a website. For example if the primary function of your website is to sell a product then it is important to clearly display the product and its description as well as have a user friendly check out system so purchasing is quick and easy. Data capturing is also one of the most over looked functions of a website, make sure you have a newsletter subscription option or member sign up area. This way you will create inbound communication which means leads for your sales team and a database that you can continue communicating with on a regular basis.

Usability

If a website is easy to use, users are more likely to stay on your website for longer resulting in them becoming engaged with your brand and the services or products you offer. The belief is that a website’s success is determined by how it guides its user towards its primary goal. A good website will load quickly, have minimal scrolling, clear navigation, a consistent layout, a logical flow, and clearly show the purpose of the website within 5 seconds of arriving on the site. It is not enough to just have a user friendly website, it is also needs to be responsive and be compatible on all browsers.

Social Media

Social Media is not only the most progressive online marketing tool but it also is one the most effective tools in creating brand awareness. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, Google plus, pinterest, and Instagram should be embraced and strategically utilised as a marketing tool and the best place to start is on your website. Every website should have social media links not only to allow users to connect with your business on the various social media platforms but also to allow users to share the information you have provided.

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engines natural search result, basically SEO effects where your business is listed when it is searched for online. SEO consists of optimised links, key words and rich content that is used to help people find your website on the over populated world wide web.

Analytics

A website is an asset that requires continues investment in order to see results. It is merely not enough to build a great website and place it online, you need to monitor its success and progress in order to see if it is fulfilling its aim. So how does one do this? Thanks to a number of analytical programmes we can now test and measure the activity on a website. This gives you valuable information which allows you to make improvements on your website where needed.

The question remains: is your website working for you? If not it may be time for a change and a new online presence that successfully communicates your company’s message, remember the clock is ticking and your competitor may already be pulling out the drawing board!