How to have an effective website - part 1: What’s the point?...
What exactly do you want your website to achieve?
This may sound like an obvious question, but it’s often not thought out in enough detail. Even the simplest website should have a purpose beyond simply establishing the fact that your business exists and giving you some sort of credibility.
There are only a finite number of things that you might want people to do as a result of visiting your website (some are easier to achieve than others). Some of the main ones are:
• Pick up the phone to call you
• Take up a trial offer
• Complete an enquiry form, questionnaire or registration form
• Buy a product
• Book an appointment
• Download a freebie (report, discount voucher, tip sheet, etc)
• Subscribe to a service
• Donate to your organisation or cause
• Sign up to your newsletter or blog
• Visit your premises (if you have a bricks and mortar business)
• Leave a comment or other feedback
Once you’re clear which of these are the most important goals to achieve (ideally no more than two or three), that provides a good foundation for building your website. In simplistic terms, when you come to consider all the possible content that you could include in your website, you simply ask ‘Will X help achieve one of the aims of the site?’ If it will, include it, if it won’t - leave it out. As the saying goes, ‘if you don’t know where you’re heading, you’re unlikely to end up where you want to be.’
Building on that, what do you want to have happened within the first 6 months (and then 12 and 18 months) as a result of launching your website? Are you looking for a particular return on investment? How will you be able to measure the success of the website? For example, if one of the key purposes of your website is to increase telephone enquiries, what percentage increase do you want? Do you have the correct measurements in place in your business for you to verify that the website is doing what you wanted?
Again, if you don’t know where you’re heading, not only are you unlikely to end up where you want or need to be, but if you did happen to end up in the right place, you wouldn’t know how you did, and therefore couldn’t repeat the same success next time round.
A later post will describe how to get visitors to do what you specifically want them to do, but in the meantime, part 2 next week will be - Who’s going to visit your website?
How to have an effective website is a weekly series of short and ‘pithy’ articles to help your website shine out from the rest and turn visitors into customers. If you’re just about to have a website built, there’s some helpful tips and advice, and if you’ve already got a website, there’ll be some good things to take on board for future development.
I hope you find them helpful.
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