A successful website is essential for a successful business!
In today’s digital, mobile world, there are many components or “pieces” that need to fit together to create a modern web presence, which is the key to a successful website and a successful business.
Is your website working for you or sitting idly by, static, collecting dust. If your website is old, outdated and dormant then you need to step up and establish a modern web presence. Don’t let your competition pass you by. Read on to discover the components that will make your website (and business) a success. What pieces are you missing?
Why do I need a modern website? Nobody visits my site anyway.
WHAT!! Unfortunately this attitude is still prevalent in a lot of businesses today. This is largely due to not understanding the tools, opportunities and potential results a new modern website can bring.
If nobody is going to (and coming back to) your website it’s most likely due to one or all of the following reasons:
- Your content is old, outdated, irrelevant or just plain not useful.
- Your website never changes.
- Your website is not optimized for search engines or visitors.
- Your website is not optimized for mobile devices.
- Your not taking advantage of social media.
- Your not facilitating or encouraging community, interaction, feedback.
- Your website is slow, so people leave.
- You have no Internet marketing strategy.
- Your website looks outdated and amateur.
- Information is hard to find.
Essential pieces of a successful website.
Each one of these topics could be an article unto itself. My goal is to get you started in the right direction, providing the core components, objectives and strategies of a successful website.
Setting goals for your website should be a no-brainer, but surprisingly many businesses just dive in. They just want it to be “cool” or look good. A successful website is much more than an online brochure with a pretty face.
There are many typical goals like increasing revenue or your brand awareness, generating leads, and converting visitors into prospects. However, for a successful website, you need to set specific goals that can be analyzed and measured over time. Ask yourself, what results do I need to consider my web website a success. How do I define a successful website as it relates to my goals. What is the main thing I want my website to accomplish.
Create a plan
Defining goals gives you a target, creating a plan gives you a strategy to hit your target. A good plan provides the road map leading to efficient production, lower costs and timely development.
Below is a list of important considerations while planning your website.
- Do a “needs assessment” as it relates to your goals. What functionality do you need?
- Take an online “field trip”. What websites represent the design and features your looking for.
- Check out the competition. What are they doing? What can make you stand out?
- Consider the scope and budget of your project. Break it down into steps you can build on.
- Work with your developer –designer to clearly determine who is responsible for what.
- Set project milestones, a timeline to achieve them and stick to it.
Build your website on a solid foundation
There are many tools, programming languages and methods that can be used to build a website. There is also a huge range of what a website can and should cost you. Finding the right balance will give you the best bang for your buck.
Here’s the short list of what your website core should provide.
- Modern, up to date, search engine friendly code.
- Scalable, grow as your needs grow.
- A content management system (CMS) to manage your own content.
- “Future proof”. In other words, lasts you a long time, continually updated.
- Ease of use.
- Proven platform.
- Easy Customization.
Find a good home for your website
A good “home” for your website means you have a fast secure server with the software, tools and support to host your website. Your websites’ performance is important not only to your visitors, but to search engines as well.
Provide great content that is useful and relevant
Quality content is the cornerstone of a successful website. Useful, relevant content establishes you as an authority and builds trust. Engage and involve your visitors with the information they want and they will keep coming back. Not only will they keep coming back, they’ll tell their friends, you’ll rank higher in the search engines, driving in more traffic, which you can then convert in prospects… you get the idea.
A successful website must look professional and be up-to-date
While quality content is the cornerstone of a successful website, a professional attractive design will open the door. When someone lands on your site you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression. If your site is old, outdated, broken or is just plain awful, they will run for the hills. Leave a good first impression and they will stick around to read your content, subscribe to your mailing list or share your message via social media and that my friend is what you want.
Here are a few signs that your website is poorly designed, outdated and needs a redo.
- Layout is cluttered and busy.
- Poor navigation.
- You use giant blocks of wall-to-wall text.
- Type is too small.
- Illegible or looks bad on mobile devices.
- Loads slow.
- Code is outdated, not up to today’s requirements.
- No search capabilities.
- No search engine optimization.
- Amateur – no elements or principles of design.
Mobile friendly websites are essential
Mobile is starting to dominate the market. Simply stated, more and more people are browsing the Internet, looking up information and finding businesses from their phone or tablet. A successful website should be mobile responsive, is yours?
The need for speed
Visitors and search engines alike expect your site to load fast. Google actually will penalize you if your site is slow and visitors will just leave. Make sure your website is optimized for performance.
Develop an Internet marketing strategy
Developing an Internet marketing strategy is key to growing your business. Traditional marketing is dead or dying. While you don’t need to ditch your current marketing overnight, you better start getting familiar with some of the Internet marketing services to start building your strategy. In today’s business the future of marketing IS Internet marketing.
Keep your website current
The work is not done after you launch your new site, in fact its just beginning. Keeping your content fresh and your software updated is key to a successful website. Don’t let your website sit idle. Whether your doing the work yourself in-house or partnering with a developer or Internet marketing specialist, make sure you at least stay involved and make sure your website is up-to-date.
The future is now!
Don’t get stuck in your comfort zone, in yesterday’s business model, burying your head in the sand. Get educated, get involved and start asking the right questions.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, creating a successful website is a process. There is no silver bullet; it takes time, effort, planning and research.
The good news is that open source platforms like WordPress allow you to get in the game. Successful websites built on the WordPress platform are affordable and provide the scalability, features and ease of use (manage your own content) not possible just a few years ago.
By taking one step at a time and working from a solid Internet marketing plan, you will get there. Building a successful website needs to be a priority, it’s important for the future of your business. Ignore at your own peril.