Website design and having a website has come a long way from the early years about 15 years ago. Back then, there weren’t as many people with websites as there is today. There are an estimated 206 Million websites according to the Web Server Survey by Netcraft.
In the light of the number of websites that are online today, simply having a website presence is not nearly enough.
So, what should a person or a business do about the mass of websites. Many owners have seen little or no benefit from having a website, and it’s no wonder with over 206 Million websites for consumers to choose from. This leaves us to reason that a business who decides to have a website needs to have some sort of strategy.
A strategy, or a plan, is of the utmost importance when deciding to set up shop online. Besides, you are going to pay somebody good money to design and set it up for you. You have to make sure you get the most “bang for your buck.” That, in business terms, is called Return on Investment (ROI).
A website strategy has to be comprehensive, and there are, I think, three indispensable goals for your website strategy.
1. Quality Design
There is a whole school of thought on web standards. Learn more here and here. Standards keep your designer at the forefront of quality design. It is best if they have adopted an active approach to using, or at least learning, web standards. If a designer is trying to design with tables are something from the 1990’s, run and run fast the other way! Standards also help ensure that your designer will design you a website that will be “search engine friendly.”
In the movie, Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character was told, “If you build it, they will come.” While that philosophy was inspirational in the movie, it doesn’t work in the world of websites. With over 206 Million websites on the web (see above), visitors have more options than they can possible choose. Skilled webmasters and designers have to work on the website in an ongoing attempt to bring traffic to their website through the use of skills such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is only part of the solution. Many website owners are turning to social media to help draw visitors to their sites. Further, good old fashion marketing has its place as well.
Once you have visitors coming to your website, then what? Conversion is the art of converting visitors in to consumers. Every business has to do this. When I worked in a book store, we recommended books and other items to the customer in which we thought would be of interest to them. Without sales, businesses go away, and conversion is the process of “closing the sale.” Much of the conversion process is accomplished different ways, but copy writing is very important. Coppyblogger is one of the best blogs that helps writers with their conversion skills.
In the backdrop of these three goals is communication. Communication is at the heart of a website, and communication is the basis for building a community–a community which can become customers.
In today’s online world, running a website is a full time job, although most small to medium size companies can’t or don’t hire someone to manage and run their website. However, given the right person, the benefits can more than pay for the position. If you are a small business owner and you have a website, you can and should learn what you can to make your website successful.
What will you do to improve your website? Do you have a plan or a strategy?