Resources

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"The 1990s Called - They Want Their Website Back"

So you have a website. How's that working for you? Getting a lot of traffic, sales and interest from visitors making comments? No?

Well, it's no longer enough to just have a website. I've found that a lot of websites fall into this category: "Hey the 1990s called and they want their website back."

The era of the static website is long gone. You need an interactive site if you want visitors to come to your site and stay awhile.

Why do you think big book stores have a major coffee cafe inside like Starbucks or Seattle so a potential book buyer will stay awhile, have a cup of coffee, read a book and get so immersed in the book that they end up buying it.

Websites are the same except you can't smell the coffee, but you should have something just as enticing. Flashing, moving graphics? Floating or popup windows? Narrow page design so long that your hand goes numb from scrolling? NOT!

Here are some top level items you should consider for your site:
  • A website that uses blog software like Wordpress, Typepad or a custom design
  • A short video that doesn't insult one's intelligence
  • A slide show with good photographs and/or good content
  • Mobile viewing capability, i.e. Android and iPhone apps
  • Good content that actually helps people solve a problem or is of value
  • Fresh content as often as possible - hourly, daily, weekly
  • Social media and networking to help promote your product or service

Here's why you should consider these top level items.

The blog software allows anyone in your company to easily post content. You don't have to contact the IT department or hire a web designer.
The blog software also allows visitors to interact with any content you post. Now your customers, supporters, fans, stalkers, whoever feel they have a stake in your product or service and the power to mold it into the best thing since sliced bread.

The video sells your product or service instantly not only to PC visitors, but to visitors with mobile devices as well. This is also another reason why you should consider mobile capability. The slide presentation does the same in a different format but not as effectively as a video.

The mobile capability opens your site up to a marketing channel that is accessible everywhere, anytime. Visitors do not have to wait to be in front of a PC to view your site. It is the next big Internet wave and it's coming whether you are there or not.

Good content - this is the Holy Grail of the 21st century.

The search engine algorithms are intelligent enough to detect sentence structure as opposed to the earlier gibberish used to increase your rankings.

The content should not be how great your product or service is, but how it can help customers solve a problem or answer questions without the sales pitch. It should impart knowledge about your industry and give readers a good feeling about your product or service.

Information is your lost-leader of the 21st century.

Your content must be truthful and presented in a personal, one-on-one way. The Internet today is the age of highly-customized marketing down to the individual level.

Lastly, you really need to jump on the social networking bandwagon. It is a new and revolutionary, hard to fathom the numbers marketing channel. Social media is where you will learn the most about what your customers think of your product or service. Here, they will shape your brand into what they want it to be.

Imagine launching a product or service and getting a flurry of constructive and non-so-constructive advice not from only a few people, but from hundreds or thousands? Take what the majority says to heart and improve your offering.

When it works, it works like a firestorm and if your product/service goes viral, you'll need extra capacity to handle all the traffic to your site. Your site may even crash from too many visitors - what a terrible problem to have.

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In case you don't want to do all of these things yourself (don't do it all yourself), here are some recommended experts I've worked with who can help tremendously, myself included.

For the Wordpress site:
Michelle Gower's Gower Power - expert and creative WordPress Training, Consulting, Strategy, and Website design.

For a really unique customized website:
Outer Banks Internet - call Chris Hess or Tricia Joseph at 252 441-6698 or contact them through their website at http://obinet.com

For Social Networking:
Martin Brossman - sign up to many of his daily courses on social networking for businesses. You'll be surprised at what you didn't know. Check out Martin's Facebook page for more up to the minute information.

For Good Content:
Hire me. I created search engine optimized copy for one site that increased their visitors by 16,000% the first month it was launched. Check out my main site: Outer Banks Publishing Group.

For Mobile Apps and Video:
There are a lot of good firms out there and prices vary. Do a Google or Bing search.