Your Web Site as an Effective Marketing Tool
In order to ultimately have an effective web site that adds value to your business you have to convert visitors to buyers once they reach your web site. While one can get all the visitors your web site can handle, it is another issue altogether to get 1) the right visitors to your site and 2) conversions from your site; by conversions, I am talking about gaining a paying and profitable, not simply a revenue generating, customer.
While I have many clients, past and present, that have used various search engine optimization and marketing companies, I am constantly amazed at the amount of time, effort, and money that is spent in trying to find that “solution” that is going to move the company ahead and actually produce a notable increase in revenue only to give up on that strategy with only negligible results.
It all comes down to determining what the business objectives are and determining how cost effective the various strategies based on the “best case” scenario for each plan of action before moving on into the implementation phase.
For example, before investing in an SEO strategy it would be wise to investigate which particular key words would produce the most beneficial increase in web site visitors. Determining which particular key words to target with ones web site is extremely time intensive but certainly well worth the investment as attaining high rankings for insignificant key words will result in either minimal increases in site traffic or an increase in traffic without the increase in revenue.
Another example is before implementing a strategy to increase sales from ones web site it would be beneficial to ensure that company has the product and resources to handle projected increased sales volume in a profitable fashion.
In either case, it is essential to specifically outline the business objectives before beginning to analyze various strategies to reach those objectives.
The budget that a business has specified for the development of their web site needs to be established at the beginning stages of a web development project. If one goes back to the “Defining Requirements” points above, those points have a direct impact on the costs associated with developing a web site. One cannot possibly expect to have a site that functions and behaves like a million dollar site without having the necessary budget in order to develop it.
My advice is to determine the “need to have” and the “nice to have” requirements of your web site and then match those items to your budget for the project.
The purpose of the web site
Every web site has a purpose. The purpose can be range from promoting your business to being an integral part of the day to day operations of the business. Defining the purpose of your web site is an essential first step in the developmental process
Some basic items that need to be considered include:
- Is your company going to want to be able to easily update the content of your web site?
- Are you going to want to add new pages, or articles, to the web site on a consistent basis?
- Is the site going to include any type of customer interaction, for example, customer accounts where a customer will be able to create an account on the web site or should the customer simply be able to contact the company via a web form?
- Is there any need/desire to integrate the web site information with current software or systems being utilized by the business?
- Is the web site simply going to be an information portal which is designed to enhance the business operations by providing a marketing tool?
These few items will provide some key information from which development and cost factors can be determined.