Everyone who builds a website for their business wants it to be aesthetic and highly-functional. Yet few achieve their goal of building a great website. The reasons for dismal results are not immediately obvious.
If your website has not performed as well as you had hoped, it can be baffling figuring out what went wrong – especially if you hired a top designer who deployed the latest website trends and if you marketed your website well.
The reason you didn’t succeed is that you didn’t plan backwards. You must reverse engineer your plan. You didn’t fully think through how you were going to get people to your website and figure out what you wanted them to do once they visited it.
Here are five things you need to think about before designing your website. Once you do, your design will mold itself around the goals you want your website to achieve.
Once people land on your website, how will they find what they’re looking for? Obviously, a good layout and navigation bars will help direct people to find what they’re looking for. However, there is more you can do, too. Predictive site search can be used on both eCommerce and non-eCommerce websites.
The way it works is quite simple: set up a search box. When people start typing in their query, it will predict what they are typing and give additional recommendations. Similar to suggestive selling at a retail store or restaurant, it invites visitors to think about options that they had not considered or known about before.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful, how informative, or how useful your website will be for visitors if they never see it in the first place. So how do you get more people to your website? Study marketing techniques in general and online marketing techniques, in particular, to figure out the best options for your business. Ideally, you should use a mix of paid and free traffic.
Paid traffic is a little like turning on the faucet. After you place an ad, say Google’s Pay Per Click advertising, then people will start coming to your website. In other words, you’ll get traffic quickly. However, like a faucet, you can also turn the flow off completely when you discontinue your ad campaign. Free traffic works in just the opposite way. It takes a long time to get traffic, ranging from weeks to months, but once you do, it is steady traffic.
Some good sources of paid traffic are Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Outbrain, LinkedIn Ads, and Twitter Ads. Meanwhile, some great places to get free traffic are article marketing on established ezine sites like EzineArticles.com, SearchWarp.com, and eHow.com; guest blogging on A listed blogs in your niche; slide submissions to Scribd and Slideshare; sharing ideas on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and using video sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, and Metacafe.
The better you know your target audience, the easier it will be to develop a website that suits their interests. Your in-depth knowledge of your target audience will determine the type of copy, graphics you use, and even the type of layout that they find familiar.
Obviously you want your visitors to do something once they land on your website. It’s up to you to direct their attention to what you want them to do, rather than leave it to chance for them to figure out what they want to do.
Here is a short-list of desirable results:
- Contact you directly by phone.
- Email you.
- Subscribe to your newsletter.
- Join your free webinar.
- Download your white paper.
- Buy your product.
Few people who come to your website will visit again unless you offer them some avenues for staying in touch. It’s estimated that average conversion rate is about 1%. This means that only one person out of every hundred will buy your product, join your list, comment on your blog post, or take any other action that will benefit your business.
Here are three examples of ways to build relationships:
- Extend your Internet marketing presence to include adding your profile and pages on major social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest, and Instagram.
- Write highly engaging blog posts.
- Develop a YouTube channel.
In conclusion, building a great website is based on thinking up functionality before form.
Once you’ve decided what you want your website to do, then you can design a website that has all the elements you need to engage visitors and convert your offers.