10 Elements of a Successful Website
May 16, 2014
The internet is the #1 tool buyers use to research before they invest. Your website should be one of your most important marketing vehicles, helping to market your products and services 24 / 7/ 365. It is absolutely essential that your website make a positive impression on your visitors. Ask yourself:
Does your website look professional and interesting?
Does it communicate your unique value proposition?
Does it engage your customers and entice them to buy from you?
Does it lead your visitors down intuitive paths and offer appropriate and timely calls to action?
Too often, manufacturers’ online messaging tends to focus too heavily on the “nuts-and-bolts” details of their capabilities, and not enough on how those capabilities really help visitors solve their business problems.
Here are 10 ideas to help you stand apart from the online herd in your market space.
Is the welcome mat there for visitors?
It’s no secret that attention spans—especially for people reading online—aren’t what they used to be. Visitors are looking for instant confirmation that they are in the right place. This is particularly true on mobile devices. Visitors are still reading, but they’re reading in new and different ways. Decide what you want the takeaway message to be for a given page, and put that message front and center.
Are you widely appealing to your audience?
Do people know and recognize your brand? A good site will serve every visitor, no matter where they fall on the customer activity spectrum. Be sure to write and design for your best, oldest customers, as well as the prospect who has never encountered you before. Your content and engagement processes should speak to the curious visitor looking for details on your products, services, and prices, but also make it easy navigate to when it’s time to buy.
When it comes to your website, email blasts, brochures, and all other outgoing collateral, a consistent visual brand is vital for reinforcing your image. Establish effective conventions for all external communication pieces and standardize your look/feel and messaging to support your reputation in the marketplace.
Is your navigation & architecture inviting and intuitive?
An excellent User Experience (UX) is rooted in good design—layout that enables easy navigation, facilitates positive UX, and is engaging at the same time. Through images, copy, and a compelling way to guide visitors on to each successive level of interaction, you will build a high-quality UX.
Are you welcoming search engines?
Make sure your site follows the latest SEO rules and guidelines. That means no keyword stuffing, no hidden text, and absolutely no paying for links. Search engines reward flat architecture.
Have you fostered an environment of community?
Your customers, suppliers, prospects, and partners will want to be part of your extended community. Be sure to include blogrolls (lists of business-relevant blogs you like), and offer guest posts to build collaboration. The added bonus? Guest bloggers make it possible to have fresh content without much effort on your part. Remember to be a good corporate citizen, though—help your corporate partners to help you. Make sure your links work, and offer reciprocal links whenever possible.
Is it easy to get in touch with you?
Lead capture is one crucial, but commonly overlooked element of too many sites. Make it easy for visitors to let you know they are interested; your site should have multiple opportunities for them to sign up for your eNews, ask for a return phone call, or even schedule a visit. Forms are quickly becoming the preferred way to capture prospect interest. With two or three simple fields to fill in, you’ve made it easier for them to connect, easier for you to respond, and easier to move them to the next phase in their customer relationship.
Can you engage on a smart phone?
If you think your customers don’t do mobile, think again. Fully 31% of all searches took place on a mobile device in the first quarter of 2014. That means in order to play in the mobile world, your site must be easily navigated on tablets, phones, and lap/desktops. Be sure your site is compliant with the more popular, mobile-driven design conventions (scroll-friendliness, plenty of white-space, and clear, concise messaging among them).
Is your hosting service reliable?
Your site must live someplace reliable. With servers, as with so many other services, it’s true that you get what you pay for. When you encounter a middle-of-the-night technical problem—and you will—premium hosting that gives you access to a live operator who understands your problems is well worth the extra cost. Hosts with redundant server hardware and >99% uptime are a must.
Are you being social?
Be sure your site content can be easily shared/linked to, and make certain your corporate social media presence is active. Track who is sharing your content and how, and use analytics to determine the best social media outlets for your content.
Combine these elements and your web presence will become more than simply an online brochure. It will be an effective outpost for your sales, marketing, and branding efforts. To learn more about applying these best practices to a website upgrade in 2014, contact CONNSTEP today!
“CONNSTEP solved a huge problem for us and helped us bring our delivery rate to 100%. As a direct result of that, we have been awarded with an increase in business which, ultimately, will also benefit (our supplier) Har-Conn.”
“I see great value in the new experiences and perspectives CONNSTEP brings to our business, at reasonable prices. They’re not like consultants, they’re like partners in the business – willing to roll up their sleeves and help.”
“CONNSTEP has proved to be a tremendous resource for ESI. CONNSTEP has helped us to adapt to today’s marketplace and remain a quality minded, competitive global player. Our ISO/TS16949 implementation process was efficient and rewarding. I look forward to our future projects with CONNSTEP.”
“CONNSTEP worked with FuelCell Energy to educate and facilitate Lean initiatives and to help meet our needs to establish an overall production improvement plan. This plan has been utilized over a period of time as a ‘guiding light’ to spur numerous improvements that dramatically reduced our product cost.”
“CONNSTEP is a valuable partner to Hologic, providing the expertise and ‘outside eyes’ everyone needs to keep their continuous improvement on track. We are now well-positioned on a dynamic growth path and look forward to a long-term relationship with CONNSTEP.”
“Our experience working with CONNSTEP has brought us benefits we never expected. It’s a great team to work with!”
“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”
“The Business Growth Program is working well for us. We enhanced our website following the meetings to improve our SEO and become more visible to search engines. The segment on negotiating … promoted changes in our thinking and improved how we interact with customers. The mentoring between sessions was helpful in boosting our progress.”