Most of the small and mid-size businesses in US still think of website as a peripheral entity to the day-to-day operations of their business. Most of them still do not realize the potential of their own website and the kind of pivotal role it is capable of playing when it comes to Integrated Marketing.
Your business website not just acts as your 24 hour active brand evangelist, but also has the potential of acting as a salesperson ready with all the arms and ammunition to fight a sales battle and convert visitors into prospects. You can even improve your customer relations and answer their questions, queries and handle their objections on your website, in a manner that increases your brand’s reputation online.
To fuel the growth of your business, you need a powerful website. Taking shortcuts with your approach towards getting an online “nirvana” can definitely beat your purpose and ruin your brand and business. Let us have a look at the top 5 critical mistakes to avoid while designing your business website:
Not Choosing a Design That Aides Marketing
Being in the web design business for over 5 years, we know that business owners tend to worry too much about the visual aspects of their website alone. Their time should be well spent in fine-tuning their marketing and aligning it with the website look and feel, but it is unfortunately the later which takes precedence.
This doesn’t mean that a business owner should accept anything less than professional and robust from their website design company. Yet, your website design, look and feel and the technology delivering it, should not get in the way of your marketing message. Remember that website visitors get impressed by your design, but once they move further, your message becomes all the more important. If you’re beautiful website is a puzzle to wade through or if the copy is less than substantial, chances are high that the effect of a great web design will wane away quickly.
That said, the website copy and the supporting graphics should very clearly state the value proposition of your offering. Your products, services, subscriptions or events should do more than just focusing on your “unique approach” or rock bottom pricing. Clearly telling visitors what they get by associating with you or adopting your offering is a great way of making your website pages “actionable”. Your message can always be enhanced by customer testimonials, client certificates, high participation numbers etc.
Not Seeing Website as a Part of the Integrated Marketing Approach
Many business owners separate online and offline marketing to an extent where their gameplan for offline marketing is never adopted (or tweaked and adopted) for online communication. Many a times, there is NO gameplan at all. Integrating the to can not only result into a satisfying experience for your online and offline audiences, but can also help in lessening the customer management, reporting, updates and promotion related hassles. As an example, your web development company can develop “Customer Sections” where you can run special deals, offer download of product literature, have a communication channel, upgrade, sell AMC and what not. You can also have dedicated chat facilities for your clients in particular or for all website visitors using an online chat tool.
Not Defining Website Objectives Clearly and Concisely
While it is true that your website is a part of your holistic marketing approach, you should still be defining what is the purpose of its existence? Why are you investing in developing or redesigning an existing website? What do you want your website visitors to see and do? What are the objectives to be met and how do your prioritize multiple objectives? Once you yourself understand the requirements better, you can tweak the design and modify the functionality to achieve it.
Website Functionality, Too Less or Too Much??
With an expertise in developing web, mobile and CMS applications, we have observed a trend that business owners are clueless about what functionality they require on their website. Sometimes, when they put forth their requirements, they are unknown to the fact that design apart, it is the web development (contact forms, databases, editable CMS, interactive sections etc) that consume time and add to the cost.
Web development can come in many forms. eCommerce product management and credit card integration is a form of web development and so is displaying live Twitter feeds on your site. Whatever feature needs “coding” on your website is classified as web development. Converting design files to HTML usually is still considered as design, but when your web company adds client or server side scripting to impart interaction to it, this is known as web development or programming.
While it is true that you as a business owner, may never completely know what you require, until you see a website working for you. It is always better to discuss in depth about what you want from your website, with your web designer. The expertise of your web design company kicks in here as a company with huge experience levels can help you choose your requirements with the minimum up-front investment.
Not Measuring Your Website Progress
Website performances can be tracked! If this came as a shocker to you, please go and read more about Google Analytics, AWStats and Sitemeter. These tools are free to use and can measure your website visitor traffic, click patterns, traffic sources, time on site, top content, goal conversions and many other metrics. If your web design company has good SEO experts on-board, they should be able to help you with proper installation and reporting from the web analytics tool. You can also have a web analytics based reporting mechanism set up which tells about the state of your website activity on a regularly basis.
In conclusion, if you plan on getting a new website, have properly laid goals for it and see where it sits in your marketing mix. Also have a plan to get the best out of your website and keep improving it further, don’t think it is a onetime affair.