Creating a website is one of the most important tasks on your to-do list when you set up a business or a side project. You know you need to do it, but do you truly understand why, and what a powerful marketing tool it can be? If you view it as just a task to be completed and ticked off the list, you’re not doing your business any favors. Your website needs to be functional, enticing, and informative. It is your shop window on a global scale, and if you do a good job, it will be one of your most valuable assets. (And it will keep doing its job even when you’re asleep or on vacation.)
What makes a good website? A good website is one that is fully functional and does everything a potential customer requires. Slow loading pages, error messages, and navigation difficulties are all factors that will put people off your site. With so much choice, consumers don’t have to persist with your site if it isn’t delivering, so it’s essential to have a solid foundation on which to build your site. You can have a bespoke site designed for you, use a website builder, or start a simple WordPress blog; the choice is down to your needs and budget. Whichever you choose, make sure that all the pages are active, link correctly, load quickly, and are easy to navigate. You’ll also need to keep checking your pages to make sure they continue to function correctly on an ongoing basis. The design of your site is a key factor in making it attractive to potential customers, but design shouldn’t detract from functionality. (Seriously, I cannot stress this enough.) A site that has a beautiful home page won’t do you any good if visitors can’t see the menu, or any information about what you can do for them.
Marketing your site
Your site is both an asset that you use as a marketing tool, and the focus of your marketing efforts. You want to drive people to your site, so they can find what they need and become your customers. You also want your website to be an ongoing promotional tool that helps customers find you in the first place. To achieve both these goals, you need to make sure your site is well-designed, looks professional, and has content that draws people in. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of search engine optimization, do some research so you can make sure your site and all the content is helping to make your business more visible online. There are some excellent tools available on the Web that can help you with your SEO and pay-per-click activities, such as the keyword planner that helps you find high traffic keywords to use on your site and in your advertising campaigns. Make use of these tools to enhance your visibility and get your site higher up the search engine rankings.
A website needs to be developed on a constant basis – checking functionality, upgrading when necessary, keeping content fresh and interesting, and maintaining high standards of presentation. Monitor the effectiveness of your efforts by studying your page analytics, and never stop working on your site if you want it to work hard for your business.