In this article, I will explore some of the key questions that you need to ask yourself before you spend your hard earned $$s on a website.
What’s the purpose of your website?
Consider this rather obvious, but fundamental question – most likely you’ll already know the answer: what is my business and who are my customers? Defining this clearly will help you to understand how you should be communicating with your audience.
Your next question should be: what do I want my website visitors (customers) to do while they are on my site? Again, it’s a fairly obvious question, but important to define nonetheless because it will help you to shape the ideal “online experience” – and therefore the action you are seeking to achieve.
The primary site action you wish to achieve might be that your visitor makes a purchase, or perhaps contacts you for further information? The secondary action could be in addition to the primary, or it might be a substitute action that you encourage in case the first is not achieved, such as the visitor signs up to a newsletter, bookmarks the page, or suggests the page to a friend or submits it to a social networking site.
Defining your primary and secondary objectives will not guarantee any action, but it will certainly help you to refine your visitors online experience, and that can only be a good thing, both for you and them.
What content and design should I have?
Ultimately, if your site looks poor or does not function well, is hard to find or has poorly written content / images / videos, your visitors are unlikely to stay very long.
Research shows that on average, a person decides within the first 2 – 3 seconds if they want to read / watch the content on a website. That’s not very long to grab someone’s attention!
In this respect, it is absolutely essential that your website should:
- have clear, easy to follow navigation;
- look good and have a well thought out design that uses a consistent themes and colours (ideally that follow your branding);
- contain interesting, regularly updated content (articles / images / video) that’s relevant to your visitor;
- make it easy for your visitor (customer) to fulfil your site’s primary and / or secondary objectives – buy from you or contact you.
How can we attract visitors & keep them coming back?
Purple Dog offers a range of eMarketing services – such as advertising and Search Engine Optimisation, to help you attract new and repeat visitors to your website. Here are some other ways you can attract and keep your visitors coming back.
Regular updates are good. Your visitors want to read fresh new interesting articles, not the same old boring content that’s been there for the last 6 months. If the content is fresh, your visitors will return.
Blogs are an excellent method for posting regular snippets of information, latest news or just something interesting that’s relevant to your visitors. If you are selling specific products online, perhaps an article from the designer of that product – or if you’re selling services, perhaps a testimonial from one of your recent successes. Your visitors can subscribe to your blog with RSS and be notified each time you update it.
Email newsletters are also another excellent way to stay in touch with your customers, and encourage them to come back to visit your site. However, it’s important to use the right email marketing software because email addresses do change and also your email might get marked as spam if not written correctly. You’ll also have to compete with people’s “email time” – in other words, will people get to read it?
Social Networking is another good way to help promote your site and keep people coming back to visit. You can read more about Social Networking here.
Special offers, sales, promotions, change of leadership, major partner announced, PR release – anything that is “newsworthy” and can be easily communicated will help you to ensure your visitors keep coming back.
Know what you want your visitor to do. Know how to make it easy for them to do it. Update your site regularly (great for search engines and for attracting repeat visitors), ensure your site looks good and is easy to navigate.