Why do I need a website?
You’re just about to start the journey of creating a website for your business or brand, but where do you start? You could be planning on demolishing an old website to build something engaging and functional in its place or maybe you are starting on fresh soil with a new vision for your online marketing. Either way, these FAQs will help you think through why you are building the website, who it is for and what will serve their needs. When you understand what drives your customer, your website will appeal to their needs and they will find it easier to navigate and respond to your call to action. Our goal is to help you connect with the online audience so that your business will gain new customers.
For many businesses a website is the front door for their customers. Even if a business relies on foot traffic like a retail store does, the public will often visit a website before they visit the business. Word of mouth advertising is very important to the goodwill of a business and when someone hears about your business they will often look you up online to see if you have the services and credibility they are looking for.
You’ve probably done it yourself. By visiting the front page of a website you quickly decide if they have the goods or services you want. You are quickly evaluating if they are aimed at your market and if they provide their services at the right time, price and place to suit you.
What can a website do for me?
Firstly and most importantly a website represents your business or organisation. It has to be consistent with the brand and values that people will experience when they do business with you. For this reason a good website should be an amplifier for your marketing strategy.
Because it is interactive, your customers can give and receive through a website. They can provide you with feedback and by the use of forms, offers and competitions you can also gain leads. Your website will also allow you to sell products and services or distribute communications that build your brand. By giving useful advice or online offers you are building trust with your customer base and becoming a source of information that they will refer to their friends.
What can’t a website do?
It’s important to remember a website is not a magic wand for your business. In fact as we said earlier a website is an amplifier for a business, so we should be using it to promote the qualities of your operation.
Websites don’t replace good customer service. They can allow your clients to reach you and for you to provide sales or service support, but ultimately the website is the communications platform for you to connect with a customer.
What should I include on my website?
To answer this question a great piece of advice we recommend is the ‘Restaurant Approach’. When someone looks at a restaurant’s website they are wanting three key things. Firstly, what type of restaurant are you? What ambience and food will I experience? Secondly where are you and when are you open so I know whether I can feed my hunger or book a date for my wife and I? Finally how do I contact you to book a table for Saturday night?
For your business those three things may be slightly different, but rather than flood your website with ideas, content and gadgets, concentrate on the 80% rule. What do most of your customers want most of the time.
What should my website look like?
This is the difficult subjective question. Each of us are unique individuals who have different artistic and colour tastes. Keep in mind that your brand is also a personality. Rather than a website being designed around your favourite car or flower colour, it should be consistent with your company brand.
Our designers can start from scratch if you don’t have a corporate logo or set of brand guidelines to give you something that will be a launching pad for your website or marketing collateral. However if you already have a logo and design guidelines then let us use those to keep your brand consistent so your clients will continue to associate your website with the rest of your business strategy.
A good website is built on attraction and direction. First impressions should immediately make a customer feel at ease or inspired by your site. Secondly the whole site should visually direct a user through the site so they find what they’re looking for and are also introduced to your ‘whole of business’ service offering.
How will customers find my website?
This question is an important part of your digital strategy. Simply building a website doesn’t bring customers in the same way that building a restaurant or erecting a billboard on a back street doesn’t give you customers or effective advertising.
Once a website is created it should be clearly promoted through your offline channels like traditional advertising, client newsletters or email, company documents and any other marketing collateral. As part of launching a new website the company should use the opportunity to relaunch the business objectives and its brands to leverage from the launch activity.
Like a restaurant that needs customers or a billboard on a lonely highway, you need traffic and preferably lots of it. Using a six to twelve month Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) launch campaign will help your website turn up on the right page of search engines like Google. Depending on your business model you can also consider Search Engine Marketing (SEM) like Google AdWords to get your business front and centre when customers look for information on your products or services.
What is SEO and why is it important?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of fine-tuning the content of your website to ensure it is found by search engines. Sadly as much as we would love to think computers are smart, they are sometimes in the first grade when it comes to reading your website. Search engines like Google are constantly searching through the Internet to see if there are new pages or changes to existing pages. Like a good librarian they then index the information so you and I can find things easily when we search. The question you have to ask is does your website content make the job easy for the librarian (search engine)?
If your website isn’t formatted correctly or easily tagged with categories and subjects that make the search engine’s job easier, then you may not make the front page of the search results. Have you ever searched for something like “tomato sauce recipes” and Google told you there were 29,900,000 results? How many times did you look at anything on the second page? That’s why we recommend an SEO strategy to all our new website clients, so that your site is on the front page for searches relevant to your customers.
What is SEM and is it for my business?
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. While SEO helps you turn up on the right page of search results, SEM is the service that gets your business or products displayed as brief but appropriate ads on search engine results pages beside or above the organic search results. Services like Google AdWords allow you to bid a value for advertising your business when someone searches for a word or phrase that is aligned with your products or services.
For some businesses, particularly those who are able to receive an online sale, give-away or sign-up for a service, SEM is vital to engaging customers and making sales. When someone is searching on Google they have pre-qualified themselves as a customer. Often they are ready to purchase, and having your offer in front of them when they are ‘on the boil’ drives your sales.