Below are some checkpoints to ensure you are on track. It is by no means a complete list. Larger organisations and e-commerce sites have more complex issues to consider. It is however a good 101 checklist that applies to everyone across the board.
It sounds crazy but it happens all the time. Make sure you have uploaded the latest works into your portfolio, that all the services information is up to date, the news section is current and the like.
It is easy to forget about the web site… out there in cyberspace… when you are busy running your business. But to a site visitor there is nothing worse than a site that feels “stale”.
So if your last portfolio item is from 2009 and the last news item published was in 2011 don’t expect enquiries. It would be the equivalent of walking into a store where the floors are dirty and the Mannequins naked.
Online is as much about function and information as it is about entertainment.. “infotainment” being the buzzword for such. Away with the days of endless bla bla. No one has the time. On average a site visit will last between 1 to 3.5 minutes.
So be precise. Short paragraphs, entertaining visual treatment, videos and info graphical elements work well. To make your message palletable and enjoyable.
The technology landscape is always changing. Especially with mobile internet on the rise. So make sure your site works in the last 2 browser versions (for Australia I suggest Chrome, Safari, FireFox and Internet Explorer). and make sure it works well on iPads and iPhones.
If you need a dedicated mobile site, or a responsive web site, depends on a number of factors. A discussion for another article. (coming soon)
Having a blog on your site is a great way to publish your business news, projects, work details, product info, tips and tricks, consulting information and the like in an informal way. The great thing about a blog is it can show potential clients your competence in a much broader way than a ‘polished’ purpose built website can. Both are important and have different functions. A blog is naturally text rich which is great for being indexed by search engines. More content means more pages to index. It allows you to go into detail about certain topics without cluttering your main site.
The thing to consider though is your commitment. If you are going to blog then make a rule to blog at least every 2 weeks. This equates to approx. 26 articles per year. Over 4 years that’s 104 articles, once a week would be 208 articles!!
Two aspects to consider here. Does your site have social media share buttons to make it easy for visitors to post you onto their feeds? If not get them right away!! It won’t cost much and is a no-brainer. You want as many back links to your site as possible.
Secondly, should you consider having a social media presence such as a Facebook page, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube channel or the like? Again it comes to commitment. Nothing worse then a neglected Facebook page. I suggest a post frequency of twice a week here, or more.
The great thing about social media is that it’s about being social. So don’t make it all about your business. Use it to convey what your culture is. Have some fun with it, share humour. It’s like taking your client out for lunch on a friday afternoon!
A more strategic question. Have you really thought about the purpose of your site. Is it an online business card / brochure you want to point people to for more info? Is it meant to be a tool to reach new potential clients? Do you want to sell products and services without personal contact? Each use case requires a different strategy. Different calls to action. Different content.
Your Search Engine Optimisation and other online marketing efforts should underline your purpose.
A great way to test if your sites conversion rate is good before spending money on SEO is to setup a AdWord campaign. It’s a quick way to drive traffic to your site. If boosting does not lead to conversions something is wrong. Either with your product/service offering or with your site. No point in wasting money on SEO till that’s sorted. Read more about the Cost of SEO.
I hope you find this 101 of Effective Online Presence useful. If you want my advice on your online presence please contact us for a website review and free consultation.