You see it all the time — on digital ads, on billboards or even on business cards: “Visit us online at XYZCorp.com."
It looks like a complete sentence, but it’s not.
On some level, customers need to see the website URL in that sentence followed by the word “because,” along with a reason to visit. A URL on its own doesn’t mean much.
When the Internet first took off, companies often went ahead with designing a website only when it helped serve a specific business strategy, like selling goods online via e-commerce.
Today, you don’t see a lot of press releases announcing a new website. It’s become as standard as having a physical mailing address or a phone number.
Unlike those things, however, a website is more than just an online presence for a business.
A website may be a place where your customers can access or be exposed to a lot of content marketing assets, from white papers and case studies and infographics and blog posts. It’s not just a collection of assets, though. It’s an asset in its own right.
A website represents a unique way to showcase your mission, vision and values, along with the full scope of the customer experience you’re trying to offer and the products and services that are part of it.
Of course, most companies may have had a website up and running for some time already, so you may not be in a position to start from scratch from a marketing perspective.
Instead, it might be better to conduct a sort of digital check-up to see if your site is delivering everything it can in terms of brand awareness, demand generation and customer retention and satisfaction.
As much as you may promote your website URL across various channels, your home page is not necessarily the first place the majority of your site visitors will land.
Given that most traffic likely comes through search engines or social media, some of the first impressions customers and prospects make will be based upon other pages instead. These could be product and service pages, blog posts or even your “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages.
If you’re focused on driving interest and conversion around particular products or offers, you’ll want to make sure there are quick and simple ways to encourage visitors who land on these pages to navigate to the areas you want. Sidebars and other widgets are one way to tackle this, as are simple call-outs or interstitials that greet visitors when they first arrive.
Rather than leaving such things to chance, create landing pages that help steer visitors towards a particular customer journey.
A landing page could promote a particular asset, like a guide or eBook, and include a form to capture information for sales leads. Visitors can not only get the asset they want but be driven to other critical areas of your website, like your most popular product pages.
No one would want customers to arrive at their office and find the lobby littered with discarded coffee cups or magazines strewn carelessly about. Even worse would be business cards of competitors lying on a coffee table.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is similar to a reception area in that it’s how you set up your site to be introduced to the world. It involves making sure you’ve included keywords and keyword phrases everywhere you need so that when customers search for terms, you’ll be ranked in the first page of results.
There are lots of free resources online to get up to speed on SEO fundamentals, but the biggest mistake is treating it as a one-time initiative. Instead, the most successful firms constantly review and update areas including:
SEO needs to be applied across everything you do, from video descriptors to product descriptions. It’s an effort that pays off considerably over time.
No high-performing website is an island. Its success is always driven in part by the number of “backlinks” or links from other web sites that are already considered authoritative.
This makes intuitive sense — if lots of other sites are linking to yours, it must be worth checking out, right? That doesn’t usually happen on its own, though.
Besides creating compelling content with strong SEO for your own blog, reach out to media or other third-party sites that matter to your customers and offer to author a guest post for them. In return, you can get a link back to your site which can directly affect its ranking.
Another approach is looking at the sites that already rank high for terms you need and suggesting an update to their pages. Many sites will have published a landing page or post with links to other sites, for example, but some of those links might have become outdated. If you’ve recently posted a valuable eBook or other marketing asset, suggest they link to your site to help make their content as fresh as possible.
Similarly, being active on social media — whether by commenting, liking or researching posts from influential people — can help draw attention back to your site. Just be genuine and authentic in how you engage in the conversation.
Remember: You’ve already invested in a website. Why not make 2020 the year it lives up to its full potential as a marketing asset that helps your business grow?