Why Your Website Is Your Hardest Working Employee
If the internet is an information superhighway, you need to decide if your website is a billboard on the side of the road or an 18-wheeler hauling gold in the fast lane. At the most basic level, your website is your digital business card. It tells customers who you are, what you do, and how they can find you.
However, if you aren’t taking full advantage of the robust capabilities of website design and development, you are missing opportunities to tell your story, get noticed, and drive leads and sales.
Owners and entrepreneurs work hard to get their businesses off the ground. Investing in a quality website will ease some of the challenges you face once your business is established, with your website fulfilling a number of important roles:
1. Your Website Is Your Brand
Many business owners (especially in the early days of the internet) have made the mistake of treating their website like an online poster and not much else. It is not uncommon for early websites to consist of a homepage with maybe a paragraph of text and very little else.
Web design has grown by leaps and bounds, with plenty of do-it-yourself options as well as high-quality agency offerings. Instead of muddling through lines and lines of code, designing a website has become much more visual and intuitive.
As a result, the process of website design is a perfect opportunity to integrate brand messaging into your online presence.
Your brand is the story you tell your customers that makes them want to buy from you and no one else. It is also your business identity.
Using an online content management system (such as WordPress) enables you to tell this story in words as well as visuals. You can select color palettes and fonts, as well as upload visual assets like your logo. When customers visit your website, they should be able to see and feel the tone and message you use in person and in other forms of advertising.
2. Your Website Is a Search Magnet
Search engine optimization is one of the most basic components of a digital marketing strategy. It is also one of the most important, and your SEO efforts will come to naught if your website is not built in a way that web crawlers (and, by extension, human users) can find you.
Optimizing your website for search is an intensive and ongoing process. In addition to performing keyword research and creating content that speaks to human users and search bots alike, you need to ensure that the website conforms to the best practices used by search engines to determine if a site is trustworthy and reliable.
Whether pushing webmasters to upgrade their security protocols or emphasizing the importance of page speed in search results, Google doesn’t just rank websites for search queries. The company has become the de facto authority for what web designers and developers need to do in order to succeed in SEO.
In addition to optimizing your website for search, another key component of SEO is ensuring that the information users find about you online is accurate and consistent – and that your website provides the same information. You need uniform NAP data (name, address, and phone number) so customers and search engines can get the correct information to find you in the real world. This is especially important for Google My Business listings, which is a prime vector for search traffic, leads, and more.
On-site and off-site SEO should be cohesive to keep the information consistent. The NAP information in your website footer, on your contact page, etc. should be the same as what appears elsewhere online.
If you create a website on your own, it will be challenging to implement all of Google’s best practices and stay current with the latest algorithm updates. Hiring a dedicated and knowledgeable web design and development agency can be enormously beneficial for keeping your website competitive in the ever-shifting search marketing landscape.
3. Your Website Is a Destination for Digital Ads
Organic SEO is just one strategy for driving customers to your website. Your website can also be used to drive leads through digital advertising.
Many different advertising campaigns benefit from specially designed landing pages that are developed and written for a particular audience. Although these pages can be hosted on a separate domain, it often makes the most sense to utilize your current website.
Through creative design and strategic development, your website can be the landing zone for ad campaigns such as:
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Social media ads on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other major platforms
- Proximity and geo-targeting campaigns
- Digital video and audio ads
- Ads appearing on or in traditional media
- And more
Without a website to serve as a central destination for your ads, you will incur additional costs and likely face confusion when it comes to managing the various campaigns. By capitalizing on your website’s design and functionality, you can create quality landing pages and control the appearance, messaging, and desired actions on a single domain.
Consumer trust is key for the success of your business. If customers click on an ad and reach a website they already know, they are more likely to buy.
4. Your Website Is a Prime Conduit for Leads
Lead generation is the number-one reason businesses invest in marketing and advertising. In years past, leads could only be quantified by in-person visits, phone calls, mail submissions, and the like. Tracking leads from these sources was inexact, making it difficult to evaluate the success of each campaign and quantify how many leads were generated.
Modern website design and development has revolutionized this model. Not only has widespread internet usage opened many new avenues for businesses to drive leads, but a far more sophisticated way to track lead generation has emerged as well.
Customers who visit your website need multiple ways to engage with your business. If one or more phone numbers are listed, you should invest in track lines so you can monitor what numbers users dial or click to call you. Your website should also have one or more online forms, effectively enabling customers to reach you via email. Online chat is a way to engage visitors to your website in real time, providing the immediacy of a phone call without requiring the customer to talk on the phone.
A great user experience is essential for the success of your website. In addition to being engaging, searchable, and easy to navigate, perhaps the most important aspect of the experience is the ease with which customers can convert. Effective web design and development is essential for driving leads on your website.
In addition to driving leads, a wide range of web-based tools enable you to track your online leads. Google Analytics, for example, allows you to create goals and track conversions on your website. You can also use paid services and software to oversee leads that come through via phone and online chat.
With the massive number of potential customers on the internet, you need to know not only how many are buying from you but when and how they reach you. These insights are imperative for evaluating the ROI on your website and the digital marketing and advertising strategies you use.
5. Your Website Is a Means to Drive Marketing and Advertising – Not the End
The number of leads is not the only metric you can glean from your website. You can get a comprehensive understanding of your website’s effectiveness with online analytics and reporting.
Google Analytics and other tools offer robust insights on the performance of your website. This information can help you make data-driven decisions about your marketing and advertising, as well as identify your website’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.
Too often, business owners think that the work on a website comes to an end once it is launched. In reality, the launch of the website is only the beginning.
Your website should be cultivated like a garden. New and updated information should be added when the time is right, while outdated material should be removed. Over time, this approach will allow you to maximize the value of your website as a branding tool, as a marketing and advertising asset, and as a way to drive leads. The insights you collect from analytics and reports can help you plan long-term and make short-term adjustments to improve performance and maximize your ROI, as well as serve as a springboard for your marketing and advertising efforts.
If online domination were easy, everybody would be doing it. It takes more than a URL and a snappy tagline.
Building a website is hard work, and finding consistent success online is even harder. As your business grows, you need talented and committed employees who can help you realize your vision, make sales, and grow profits.
Creating a high-quality website is akin to hiring a “unicorn” employee – a team member who excels at multiple functions and makes valuable contributions that help you achieve your goals. However, developing a truly outstanding website is difficult without devoted time, knowledge, and resources.
The industry experts at Twelve Three Media have decades of experience designing and developing websites that present a compelling brand image, increase online visibility, and drive leads for a wide variety of businesses. We eschew stock templates and one-size-fits-all designs, creating custom websites that look great and work hard to boost your business.
Gain the unfair marketing advantage. Speak to our Website Design & Development Team today to start creating your winning website!