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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Do You Need A Website?

Do You Need A Website?

If you have a product to sell or a message to share, the simple answer is 'Yes'! The real question is, are you ready for a website?

How Will People Find Your Site?

There are two ways for people to find your site; they find it through search engines or you share it with them (either directly or through some form of marketing). For your site to have a chance of being found on a search engine it needs to have the right keywords. Keywords are words that are relevant to your product that will match with words potential customers will enter into search engines. The more you have, the better your chances of being found in a search result. If you intend for your site's visitors to arrive due to invitation instead of the result of a search engine, you may think keywords are less important, and, in a sense, you would be correct. But you still need to have plenty of content on your site or visitors won't stick around long; and more content almost certainly means you have more keywords. Either way you choose to direct traffic to your page, content-driven keywords are critical. Which means content is critical.

Do You Have a Business Plan?

If you don't have a business plan, then you are not ready for a website. The main reason business owners don't write a business plan is they don't see the need; they know everything there is to know about their business. A business plan isn't just some tedious formality, it is the basis for everything that you share with customers and investors. The time consuming exercise of writing a business plan is actually a time-saver. What does this have to do with being ready for a website? Everything! Virtually everything that finds its way onto your website will come from a business plan - whether it be your content, your approach to reaching your target market, the tone of your site, the products you feature and how you feature them... the list goes on. All of these things are necessary for a solid website, and all of these should be set out on a business plan first.

Do You Have Time For Analytics?

Analytics are the means by which a website's effectiveness is measured. You can gauge how effective a website is by how much money it is making, but what if it isn't making any money? What if you want to make more money? To assess the effectiveness of your website you need analytics, which means you need to take the time to implement analytics and know how to both interpret them and make changes to your existing site. Analytics doesn't just mean the difference between making a little money and making a little money, it could be the difference between making a lot of money and taking a loss on your entire web experience.

Can The Rest of Your Business Communicate With Your Site?

Websites are getting more and more complicated. Shopping carts for online purchases, e-commerce tools for tracking inventory, logging in with Google or Facebook, interactive calendars for booking events, contact forms, store locators, specialty fonts, social media links and sharing, the list goes on. Websites aren't just a bunch of code and images, they are a mesh of outside services working together (hopefully) to distribute your product. Is your inventory system accessible by your website, or is it a clipboard hung out in your garage? Can you website create events on your calendar, or are you using a day-planner? If user's login using their Facebook or Google accounts, what information are you intending to collect from their profiles? Do contact forms send emails directly to you or are they through a third party?

How Will Your Site Interact With Social Media?

Websites don't work alone. If you update your website by adding more products, mentioning new distributors, or having a sale these things will likely go unnoticed; even the most loyal customer doesn't visit your website every minute of every day. Enter social media and online marketing. Email campaigns, Facebook Pages, YouTube videos, Feedly listings; all excellent tools for automatically sharing updates on your website with the digital the world.

What About The Real World?

Don't forget about marketing offline. Print media may be dying, but not everyone is ready to pull the plug; there are plenty of people out their that still clip coupons. Direct mail campaigns are still remarkably popular, and, if done correctly, they can be very successful. For years I worked with Realtors designing postcards, in several cases tripling or quadrupling their annual sales through targeted marketing efforts. Billboards, though expensive, can be great for the right kind of business (Realtors should avoid them). And don't forget about local gazettes, specialty magazines, church pamphlets, and business card racks (such as those at local restaurants).

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