How To Plan The Ultimate Website

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A business owner I know proudly unveiled his new website today.

But when I clicked through to his new website, here’s what I found:

  •  It’s not optimized for search engines
  •  There’s no keyword rich blog to build website traffic or build authority
  •  It’s missing content designed to convert visitors to leads, and capture emails for lead nurturing
  •  It’s not mobile friendly
  •  There are no analytics, to track results

He hired a “website expert”, and most likely, thinks they did a good job.  Did they?

End-To-End Marketing,  for More Customers and Sales

Today, marketing is a continuum.  What problems are buyers looking to solve? How will they find your business online?  What do you want them to do once there?  After the website visit, how will you continue to build a relationship leading to sales down the road?

Before hiring a website designer, be clear about the buyer you are looking to attract, the business problems you are trying to solve, to make sure your new website delivers the results you need it to!

“An Educated Consumer is My Best Customer!”

Lots of people call themselves web designers, but that does not qualify them to design an online marketing solution for your business.  Beware of the “my brother’s roommate designs websites, and he’s inexpensive” type of referral.  Cheap solutions will often cost you more in the long run.

To ensure the right business result,  start by asking the right questions:

1.  Ask around for qualified referrals:   Static brochure websites are a thing of the past.  You may not know how to look under the hood, but your first step is to identify qualified designers who understand state of the art online marketing, and whose work gets the desired results.

2.  Look at their work:  Look beyond pretty designs.  How’s the branding and messaging?  Use Hubspot’s free marketing grader:  does their work use SEO best practice, content marketing, e-marketing, a blog, and social media effectively? If their website grade is low, ask why.

3.  Meet to discuss your project.  Does the “expert” ask the right questions  about YOUR customers and business goals?  This website will represent your business.  Do they “get” it?

4.  Review their proposal.   How does the designer plan to accommodate SEO (search engine optimization)? What kind of CMS (content management system)? What about analytics?

Have they connected the dots through the marketing funnel, from search query to sales? What are their ideas for branding and messaging?  To facilitate lead capture and nurturing?  Social media integration?

5.  Assess their online marketing skills. Do they blog, write articles, or speak on digital marketing topics?  Do they have inbound marketing certification or other certifications to demonstrate their mastery? What do they do to stay current as technology and tools change?

6.  Are they social marketing savvy? Have they integrated social media across their entire business?  Is there good engagement on the pages they administer?

Maybe You Need More Than a Website 

If your goal is to grow your business, you need a marketing system.  Anyone who knows me, knows my obsession with inbound marketing and connecting the dots.  The other day, I read a great blog post by John Jantsch, where he talks about the benefits of a systematic approach for marketing success.  I couldn’t agree more.

The point is, what do you really need?  If more customers, will a new website really accomplish that?  What will truly help you build your business?

First Things First:  Start With a Website Audit

A new website essentially offers a new beginning —  a great opportunity to re-evaluate your marketing, and see what’s working, and what needs improvement.

Spend some time reviewing your analytics, your competition, and bookmarking sites you like, and prepare a creative brief for the website to review with your designer.

For a website audit or help managing your website project, simply phone, tweet or comment below!

Make my day … leave a comment!  And, stop by and say hi on my facebook page, where I share marketing tips, opinions, and news.  Thanks!

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About Rhonda Hurwitz

Rhonda Hurwitz, @rhondahurwitz on Twitter, is an internet marketer and business development strategist who helps businesses develop more effective online marketing strategies. I also blog at Forbes.com: http://blogs.forbes.com/people/rhondahurwitz/
This entry was posted in marketing communications, small business, website effectiveness and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How To Plan The Ultimate Website

  1. More great information!

    • Thank you very much, Cindy! This is a subject you know very well, as a web designer. Good design + marketing strategy is the best combination of all :)

  2. Pingback: The ROI of Marketing on Main Street: Be “Awesome” | she means business

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