First, Fix your Website

The most important component of any digital content strategy is a company’s website. Done right, your website is a controllable, private publishing platform that provides 24/7 customer engagement opportunities, which are easily measurable.

Sadly, basic website fundamentals are often neglected in the race to engage in other marketing initiatives such as social media, content creation or integrated marketing.

All these things are important – but you can’t afford to neglect the basics. Here’s a list of the most common issues we’ve come across recently – from companies big and small.

  • No analytics: Many websites lack the ability to track and monitor visits, referring sites, goal completions, and many other important metrics. To coin an old phrase, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Google Analytics code is free, easy to install and provides extensive capability. There’s no excuse for not having this most basic function.
  • Little or no optimization: Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex art / science, but many websites are missing out. There are a number of easy components that can be edited with even the most simple website creation platforms. At minimum, adding metadata such as titles, descriptions and keywords will go a long way to ensure a meaningful display when your company website shows up on a search engine results page.
  • Spelling errors: Proof read, proof read, proof read. And then get someone else to proof read. Ideally, a professional. Spelling accuracy counts – not only for your human readers, but for search engine crawlers as well. Websites should be checked carefully, not only on visible content but on all the metadata.
  • Bad writing: Writing for the web is different. Readers of a website scan the page, they don’t read carefully. And you have less than 20 seconds to engage their interest before they bounce. It’s hard work to provide to provide relevant information, from a user’s perspective, in a format that a reader can skim.  Follow website writing guidelines such as those from the Nielsen Norman Group – or hire an experienced website copy writer.  
  • No method to capture leads: Once a visitor is on your site, you should make every effort to learn who they are and encourage them to engage in a two-way conversation. In order to do this, you need to give them something of value such as whitepapers, an opportunity to subscribe to a newsletter or other material that is aligned with their interests. In return, you can ask for their email address and other important details so you can add these people to your lead nurturing program. It’s astounding how often this is overlooked. 

These are but a few of the things we see all the time – often overlooked, easy to fix. The guidelines are simple.

  1. Imagine yourself on the user’s side of the screen. If people come to your site looking for information, make it easy to find and simple to understand. 
  2. If you want people to engage with you, provide a good reason to.
  3. If you want people to buy your product, make it as easy as possible to do so. 
  4. If you’re a service provider, make sure you tell your potential customers what you do and why they should care. 
  5. Make it easier for people that don’t know you to find you on the web with some SEO basics.

Our best advice – no matter what’s on your digital content strategy to-do list, fix your website first. Let us know if we can help!

Posted by Linda Jackson    |    May 14, 2013