When you’re having your website designed, have you ever asked yourself the following questions:
- What do I want to achieve from my website? Do I want more subscribers? More sales? More enquiries?
- Have I set any targets for achieving these goals? E.g. 25% of new business enquiries should come from my website.
- How will I measure my goals?
The sad truth is, most website owners I come across don’t have answers to any of the above questions. They know they would like more enquiries through their website but have little idea how to go about it. Few website owners even know how to access their web statistics.
A website is more than just an online brochure, it’s a vital sales tool that works around the clock, advertising your business. If you do the following preparatory work before your website is designed, it will go a long way towards ensuring a successful outcome.
- Your business plan should include objectives for your website. For example, if you’re running a charity, what is the purpose of your website? Are you simply trying to raise awareness of your charity? Are you looking for more volunteers? Or do you simply want to raise more money?
- Are there goals that you can set for your website? These may be quantitative as well as qualitative. A qualitative goal may be improving the image of your organisation. A quantitative goal may be to get a least 5 email / phone enquiries through your website per week.
- As well as setting goals, you need to have tools in place for helping you to achieve them. Aiming for more online sales is all well and good, but how are you going to attract visitors? You need an online marketing strategy that takes into account all the available tools such as search engine optimisation (SEO), pay per click advertising, social media, html emails, and online PR.
- Most importantly, once you’ve attracted visitors to your site, how are you going to convert them into clients? I see no end of website home pages that are cluttered and full of copy that no one reads. You only have a few seconds to convert a visitor, so think about the message you want to send to them. Let’s say you’re selling a weight loss product. What are the benefits to the consumer? How can you persuade him or her to buy your product? You need a simple message (with images) that presents the problem the consumer may be experiencing (i.e. Finding it impossible to lose weight?) together with your solution. Keep to the KISS principle (Keep is simple stupid!). This should lead to call to action e.g. “Subscribe to our free newsletter that shows you how to lose weight in 5 simple steps” or “Fill in our enquiry form now for a free consultation”.
- Last but not least, make sure you have good analytics software installed on your website so you can measure visitor behaviour. You need to establish that your marketing campaign is attracting the right visitors. And if it is, you need to be able to measure how many of those visitors are converting to customers.
When choosing a website designer, ask them one simple question: “How will my website bring in new business?”. Producing a design that can convert visitors into customers is an integral part of website design. If your internet consultant can’t answer that one simple question, your website is money down the drain.