Does your site work for you?

Just a few short years ago, it seemed that to have a Web site displaying your business was a symbol of success. It proved that your company was ahead of the game; you were primed and ready for the 21st century.

But now we are well into the 21st century, and having a Web site for your business is no longer something to boast about; it is an absolute necessity. Here are some important things to keep in mind to help make your Web site a valuable marketing tool.

Design and Branding

Think of the Web site as a storefront. Your site is the first impression Web users will have of your business. While designing your site, or working with a professional Web site builder, consider what you want your digital image to be.

Whether you have already established an image that you want to perpetuate, or you are starting from scratch, remember that the more unique, professional and interesting your branding efforts, the more likely you are to make a deep impression in the minds of potential customers.

What to include

The internet is a never-ending, ever-growing sea of competition. Your site will not increase your business if you don't include critical information. Anything that isn't a company secret should be on the Web site. That means an online contract, contact information, license information, frequently asked questions, and a complete list of services with brief descriptions. Consider including tips, before and after pictures of recent projects or company history to make your site more unique.

If you have a large company, you can also use the Web site as an opportunity to educate your employees. Give them access to their own secured section, where they can share information on upcoming and current projects and an employee bulletin board for important updates.

Eliminate the Guesswork

Do whatever you can to make all that content manageable. A successful Web site is one in which the brilliant design, detailed content and functionality are perfectly seamless. That means that it needs to be well-planned with a user-friendly navigation structure. There are a few ways to go about this. One essential is a searchable database. Cross-referencing products and services also helps. From a marketing perspective, an efficient Web site implies that you are an efficient business.

Update Frequently

New information should hit the Web site right away. Some businesses don't realize that it is easier and faster to update a Web site than it is to keep print materials current.

Web site builders can create customized administrative tools to help keep your database content up to date. Your company should have someone on staff to update the site regularly, or if that is impossible, then your site-building company can do it for you.

Web design is usually best left to professional Web site builders. However, if you want to design it yourself, remember these simple rules:

  • Your branding image will define the impression you make on Web users.
  • Include as much information as possible.
  • Keep the content manageable.
  • Update regularly.

Keep these thoughts in mind and your company Web site can be your most valuable marketing tool.