You may be wondering why that great e-flyer you sent out last month didn’t convert? Putting all your time and effort into a marketing campaign can be a waste of time if you are leading your audience to a website where they feel uninspired to stick around and drop-off as a result.
A website can underperform for many reasons. Bottom line? You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of having a decent website at the core of your marketing strategy. That’s why I’ve listed a few factors that you should be considering if you really want your website to perform well and more importantly get results!
To help get you thinking, try reviewing your website by asking yourself:
- Branding – does your website reflect your brand?
- SEO – Is your website being found on search engines?
- Site speed – does your website load quickly? (2 seconds is the threshold)
- Responsiveness – is your site optimised for desktop, laptop, mobile and tablet?
- Competition – How is your website performing compared to your competitors?
- Conversion – does your website help you to win more work by generating leads?
If you answered no to only couple of these then maybe you simply need to invest time and money into your marketing plan on how you can really make the most of your current website.
If you answered no to most of the above, then maybe its time for you to consider a re-design.,
NEW MARKETING STRATEGY OR NEW WEBSITE?
If you think you could benefit from having a new website, then there are a few things you need to consider before jumping right in. Any changes you make need to have a valid reason to have a positive impact. I have listed a few key factors below to help get those creative juices flowing. If done well and with the right thought out strategy, a website can be your best investment when it comes to winning more work.
The first question you need to ask is who is your website for? Existing clients? Potential clients\leads? This will help you to understand how they will find and navigate your site.
Again, remember to keep it consistent. Your website should be in-line with your branding and be familiar to your audience from interacting with any other forms of marketing material.
OUTLINE YOUR WEBSITE’S GOALS
Your digital marketing strategy should highlight your aims and objectives. Is your goal to generate more leads or brand awareness or increase sales? These objectives are the foundations to any decent website re-design and should be worked throughout the site. If you have an idea, ask yourself “Does this meet with my objectives for the site?” if not then don’t waste any more time.
It is also a good idea to ensure you have laid out measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each objective whether it be measuring your conversion rates or simply page visits and bounce rate. You can do this by using Google Analytics in the dashboard area and by setting Smart Goals. Defining goals is a fundamental component of any digital analytics measurement plan.
To guarantee that your site meets your objectives, you need to consider:
- Search engine optimisation
- Conversion rate optimisation
- Brand identity
- User experience
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION (SEO)
Not many people are aware that there are 3 types of SEO that an SEO strategist will work on for you:
- On-page SEO- this type of SEO focuses on the content that “on the page” to ensure your website is search engine friendly using page titles, meta descriptions and alt text.
- Off-page SEO- This type of SEO focuses on driving traffic to your website from elsewhere. Common examples of off-page SEO strategies include social media marketing, email marketing and backlinking to help you build trust in the eyes of a search engine like google and in turn, can help your website to rank higher.
- Technical SEO- this type of SEO focuses on your website’s architecture, inspecting the backend of each webpage to see how it is technically set up. Google cares as much about the code of a website as it does its content so it’s important to get this one right as google will punish you for it which could affect your ranking.
There is also the issue of having a website that is not responsive. I have seen far too many websites in our industry that are not optimised for laptop, tablet or mobile and with over 60% of searches taking place on a mobile device nowadays it can be frustrating to navigate around a non responsive site.
CONVERSION RATE OPTIMISATION (CRO)
Conversion Rate Optimisation is the process of tweaking your website in order to increase the chances of a visitor completing a desired action you have set. Every time this happens you can adopt the same approach in multiple campaigns to improving your conversion rate.
However, a conversion doesn’t mean a visitor has to buy something a conversion can be anything from submitting a contact form, signing up to your newsletter or completing a booking. This known as creating a ‘Call to Action and you must design your site with these in mind.
Discuss your aims and objectives with your web designer to include relevant call to actions. There is a lot of trial and error involved in this so don’t get put off if this doesn’t work for you straight away but once you know what works with your audience stick with it.
USER EXPERIENCE (UX)
When designing your website, it is important to keep in mind the experience you want your users to have when browsing your site. User experience centres around user satisfaction which can involve several factors. This is heavily linked with what we discussed above in how you are going to get your visitors to convert and the user journey throughout your site.
UX is also essential to your SEO strategy. Search engines nowadays main focus is not on keywords but more on trying to match up what the user wants with the most relevant websites.
Having a website that’s looks the part is also an important factor to consider however do not fall into the trap of putting all of your efforts into making a website that looks visually appealing but is a nightmare to navigate and takes a long time to load. People will be unlikely to return to your site if they have had a bad experience.
In terms of page speed, we all have high expectations on how fast a site should load. It’s always better to bare site speed in mind during the design stage rather than trying to back track at a later stage. Googles Page Speed tool is a good place to start. You must also ensure that all your content i.e photos, videos are compressed to limit the size of your files and increase your page load speed, for this is suggest tinypng.com.
Responsiveness also plays a big part in user experience, its often the case that when viewing some websites on a mobile I have found that contact forms don’t function very well or images not resizing to the relevant screen size.
Once your website has launched, I recommend you test it regularly as a means to constantly enhance the users experience.
Your website speaks volumes about your business. Your visitors will generate their own conclusions about your brand within the first few seconds of entering your site, so it’s important you are happy with how your brand is presented.
Brand identity builds trust between the user and your business and will play a big part in their decision-making. A bad experience on your website will reflect badly on your brand and may force your users to go to your competitors. Therefore, the bottom line is – try not to overcomplicate things keep it simple and clear through navigation, structure and visuals. Ensure you brief your web designer with your brand guidelines, values, and ethos and make sure that these shine through your site.
There is one thing I need to be clear about and that is that there is no perfect website. Even after your website has gone live it demands a lot of time and effort to keep it performing to its best.
If one of your businesses objectives is to convert, you will need to know which parts of the website is converting and which parts are not. Again, this is not a simple task, you will need to dedicate some time to properly study your websites analytics by understanding the user journey and identify your most popular pages. You can do this through using the Google Analytics tool.
If you don’t know how to study the data, you won’t know where to focus your energy to maximise results. At a basic level anyone can learn how to use Google Analytics. It’s definitely worth taking advantage of this useful tool and even better it’s free!
Having a great website is more than just having a presence on the Internet. It requires a lot more thought and effort to turn it into a marketing machine and placed at the core of your marketing strategy.
It’s important to get it right in order to achieve its full purpose and support all your online and offline marketing activity. Everything else you do as part of your strategy whether it be social, email, SEO may have less of an effect as a result of having a poor website.