Over my time in business and in the digital marketing field with Netvision and Business2Sell, I have seen some amazing websites and some absolute horrors.
One thing to remember is that your website is more than just your calling card, often it is your first impression to the public and potential customers and may very well be your main source of leads, so here are some important tips to help you understand why a website developer should be the last person who you get to do your website.
Website developers can create a website for prices ranging from $150 to $15,000+, but just because they charge more, it doesn’t mean that they actually know what they are doing or understand what the right requirements are for your business.
To develop the best and most functional website for your business, you need someone who wants to understand your business and can grasp what you are trying to achieve, while also having a full understanding of all components of digital marketing.
Their understanding of digital marketing should include everything from the basics of website development, SEO and CRO, through to the correct strategy of planning and executing digital marketing campaigns like Google AdWords (now called Google Ads), Google Banners, Social Media Marketing and E-mail Marketing, just to name a few. Some of these may be new to you, but I’ll go into a detail to help explain further and help you understand why each of these are important.
If you don’t get the website structured correctly from the start, then you may need to have you website optimized or if poorly structured, then this may mean having to throw away your new website and starting again.
The wrong structure will mean that anyone who takes on SEO, Google AdWords or Social Media Campaigns will need to either optimize your website before they start a campaign (if they know what they are doing) or set up a landing page specifically for the campaign and it will cost you more for all of these. This means a short-term cheap website can cost you $1,000’s in the medium to long term.
If you want to develop a website, you need to start by structuring the website design, menus, etc… to meet the requirements of SEO and CRO, as well as the operation and structure of the business.
Some of the structuring requirements may include the following:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – This requires that the website menus match the business structure and functionality, including items like, number of locations, services/products, blog pages, etc… Some examples of these include the following:
- Locations – If you have more than 1 office, then you should have pages for each location so that you have a landing page for each location for the purpose of SEO and Google AdWords. The more relevant the page, the better your rankings and the less you pay on Google AdWords.
- Services/Products – If you have more than 1 service or product, then you need to have a separate page for each, depending on the number of locations, these may be able to be combined.
- Blog – All website should have a blog section to allow you to post your own articles, improve on-site SEO and show that you have the knowledge and experience in what you are doing.
- CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) – This is how easy the website is to use and ranges from location and positioning of your contact details on the website to follow the KIS (Keep It Simple) principle, so that people visiting your website find it easy to contact or buy from you, improving sales and leads.
You only have seconds to impress a user and the harder it is to contact or buy from you, the quicker you lose them. Something which is simple, but which many websites don’t have is a menu which follows users down the page so they can call or make an enquiry quickly.
- Operation of the Business – By understanding the structure and operation of the business, i.e. who receives e-mails and phone calls for what, you can then make sure that the CRO and website structure is correct to match the business requirements.
This may be as simple as all calls and e-mail enquiries going to 1 person through for processing through to something more complicated like sales enquiries going to the sales department, customer service enquiries to the customer services department, etc… It is important that you understand the basics of how the business operates so that the structure of the website is right for the business.
Many people develop a website with a basic understanding and belief that they know their market. This means that the structure, heading text, etc… will be performed and developed based on what you or the developer believe is the right market and keywords for what people are searching for. This means that your website may be set up to be positioned on Google where there is no traffic leading to a website which is never seen.
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I have seen websites which are ranked on the 1st page of Google for a number of keywords which sadly there is no to little traffic and there for minimal to no visitors. I have even seen Google AdWords campaigns where there is high competition for specific keywords with as little as 10 to 20 people searching for these keywords per month. This is an indication of how many people are putting their money into campaigns in the hope of getting it right.
There is actually a science behind Google AdWords and with the right website and digital marketing strategy, you can not only become successful, but actually beat your competition by paying less money for more leads and this all starts with your website and website structure.
The first thing which you need to do is to put together a keyword search, this will not only tell you what people are searching for, but the exact phrases of words, that they are putting into the Google Search bar.
This will help you in many ways, including, but not limited to setting up the headings on each page for the services which you are offering, through to looking for titles for blog posts which you want to put on your website. By understanding what your marketing is looking for you are already steps ahead of your competitors.
By optimizing your web pages for the relevant keywords, if they are set up correctly, it will cost you less for your Google AdWords campaigns as well as your social media marketing campaigns and will save you a fortune in SEO costs as your on-site SEO will be optimized for what everyone is already searching for.
This is a basic overview of what is needed for your website and an experience digital marketing company will have many questions for you, but this is to help them gain a full understanding of what is required.
You need a company who understands what you are planning on doing currently and in the future with your website so that they can set up your website correctly. This includes offline (magazines, pamphlets, etc…) and online digital marketing. This way they set up a means to help you set up tracking of online leads, visitors and offline campaigns like voucher codes, etc…
The company also needs to make sure that your web hosting matches your current and future hosting requirements and usage. Servers can be set up to only allow a certain number of visitors on your website at a time (i.e. 10, 20, etc..). If this is exceeded, then the next visitors will receive an error which will stop you from accessing your website and will cause you to become penalised by Google for your website.
You need a website which is tailored to meet your services, needs and requirements in all areas, making sure that the website is structured to have natural/organic SEO to give you a head start and you gain continued advice and the option to grow and improve your website as you grow.