Are you finally frustrated enough by your existing website to start redesigning it? The question is - where to start? With the myriad of software platforms, ready made packages and web agencies out there, deciding on a starting point for redesigning your website can be hard. If you already have a site, then you are one step ahead - only 32% of businesses in NZ have one!
A website is an investment in your business and as with other investments, it needs to pay a return. The web is packed full of ways to grow your business and New Zealand businesses are starting to work that out and become more savvy online. In order to get a return for your website, you need to understand what it can do and needs to do for your business. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before you start investing money in a site that might not suit your customers:
1- Who is your customer, and are they your website visitors?
The best thing you can do when thinking about your website, is not call your IT guy, but to re-think who your customers really are. Have they changed over the last while? Who is buying your most profitable services/products? Are they really who you think they are? Are the customers you have now the ones you want in the future - do you want to target a new market segment that aligns with your brand and strategy?
Answering these questions thoroughly is critical to the success of your website and business. At LeftClick we complete targeted research with business owners, stakeholders and customers. Simple, well done, on the ground research often provides the fresh perspective needed, and paves the way for website design, development and online marketing work. There is not much point spending good money on a new or redesigned website if you don’t do this well - you may just build a site that you like, but has nothing to do with what your customers want.
2- How will your site provide return to the business?
If you are thinking about redesigning your site, chances are you want it to provide more value or improve its performance - that is a great start.
There are two main things websites do to generate ROI for businesses; 1. Sell products online, 2. Generate sales leads. Either way, websites should not be a cost to business; they should provide income. Some of our customers have increased sales by 200%, some 4000%. Sound far fetched? It is true and, they are not one-off cases. New Zealand business is still new to the web and what it can do - that is why we are so passionate about the web and keen to get the word out there. MYOB report that businesses with websites enjoy a better sales pipeline and higher revenue than those that don't.
Still don’t believe the increase? Come in for a coffee and we can have a no-obligation chat about what we can do for your business.
3- Who’s the king? content is!
Google is constantly trying to provide the best results for their searches - whether that be video, text or images. Can you remember how hard it used to be to find information on the web? Now there’s a plethora of maps, images, websites and news items that turn up in the results from just 2-3 keywords! That is why more and more people are using the web. One of the best things you can do is provide current, engaging content on your site. There are hundreds of guides to improve your rank with google, but the fact of it is you will only get good rankings on google if you have good content for your customers.
When you are getting a new website, you have a chance to look closely at your Content Management System (CMS). If it allows you to update and maintain your site easily, you are more likely to do it. Freshly updated sites will get found in search results, and more importantly, you can give better information to your customers.
You also need to decide who is going to write the content for your website. This should be allocated to one responsible person - and give them work hours to do it! That is a radical idea for some, but if you pay for advertising, content for your site is no different. They can maintain the tone and style of writing, make sure updates happen, and be a portal for others in your organisation to get changes made that don’t break the site. You may want to consider employing a specialised content writer, and discuss with them keyword strategy to align their writing with.
4- How do I get my site found?
A major boost that you should get from your new site is the ability to get the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) right. 85% of people click one of the top 3 links in search results - so you need to be up there for the keywords that matter to your business.
You content also needs to align with your target market - check your website statistics for what people are looking at on your current site. Does this line up with what your customers are telling you from your research? Why not? Where are the gaps? What information is most important? What is not?
Get your keyword strategy sorted from research, and focus on phrases that are right for your business. Now is the time to structure your site to suit your customers and what they are searching for, then you’re ready to bring quality, targeted traffic into your site.
At LeftClick we use a combination SEO and Adwords, depending on our clients needs. Call us if you are interested Search-Engine-Management on a month-by-month basis.
5- What about people to help?
The web is a complex place, but it’s worth getting it right - your business can’t afford not to. Whether you have the budget and confidence for a one-man-band operation or a solid web design agency, you need to get on with them and create a good working relationship. Both parties want good results within budget.
We have seen many companies try to save costs on their sites, but they end up losing money. The site costs money to develop, then redo, then maintain a site that is technically complex and doesn’t communicate what their customers need to know. All the while they are losing customers. One client recently increased their revenue from a few small changes by 16K a week. If that change had been just left a month they would have lost $64,000! What business can afford that?
Redesigning your website is an exciting time. A new site can consolidate your business, clarify your business value proposition, and ultimately serve your customers better. But it pays to get the basics right, so hopefully those 5 questions will get you started. Let us know, your thoughts, and any new project successes!