There are no excuses for not having a Click-Ready Web site! Here is a simple 10 step check list to ensure you don’t overlook anything.
1) Assemble a Website development plan that is integrated with your overall marketing processes
The content should be consistent with offline materials. The graphics/images don’t have to be identical with traditional
media, but should be consistent with your overall branding, style guide, usage of colors etc.
2) Hire a Website design firm that understands your market position and one that won’t get "geek crazy"
Meaning they are so in love with their own design capabilities, your site gets bogged down with graphics, plug ins, GIF garbage,
etc. But, conversely, check your ego at the door when you work with your design firm – I’ve seen so many good Website designs get ruined by clients who can’t or won’t listen to what we tell them!
3) Pay attention to "load times"
How long does it take your Website to load on a 56 KBPS modem? If it’s more than 25 seconds you may experience the "click of death"
– the site doesn’t load quickly and the surfer is gone. Of course, if you’re targeting broadband customers who are reaching your site via ISDN or DSL then you can build a site that incorporates multimedia-ready content that may include streaming audio or video, or Shockwave or Flash capabilities – go ahead and let those digital geeks get carried away with cutting edge
4) Dare I say it, "keep it simple"
Make your site easy to move around in, build a menu structure that is consistent with industry standards, local menus (for a
page or section) on the left and global menus (overall site navigation) at the top and/or bottom of each page, keep as much
information "above the fold" (above the cut off point at the bottom of a monitor), don’t make people use horizontal scroll
bars unless absolutely necessary.
5) Inculcate "digital speed" into your overall site design
Your client/customers should be able to get to their desired area of your site within one or two mouse clicks; they will quickly get frustrated if they have to clickthrough multiple menus to find information they are seeking.
6) Develop content that is Web-enabled
People don’t read Website content like they do offline media. Keep your paragraphs short, no more than two to three sentences, build in white space with your content, include links in your pages -don’t try to tell your whole marketing story on your site
– get people to call you (hello the telephone still works!), email or fill out a profile form (see below).
7) Make your site permission-based marketing ready
I love Seth Godin’s "Permission Marketing" book http://www.permission.com/ and we recommend it to all of our clients – he champions building a long term relationship with a customer by asking their permission to continue to market to them and incorporating value/information in all marcom (marketing/communcation) processes.
8) Ensure your site is optimized for Search Engines
Identify 8-12 keywords that people will use to find your site, then incorporate these keywords in your site content (to drive relevancy with s/engine spiders/bots) and then manually submit
your site to the top ten search engines. We generally don’t recommend most of the free or $19.99 specials available.
Getting listed on page 75 of 350 pages won’t really drive qualified traffic to your site. You need page 1-3 listings on the top ten engines to really drive qualified traffic. And, this typically requires incorporating some very specialized processes and technologies.
This is the way we do it at
http://www.wolfblast.com and it works extremely well for our
9) Delve into your log server files
To uncover "digital tracks" made through your Website – your log files are raw files that show how and from where (in most cases) people accessed your Website, where they went on your Website, how long they stayed, etc. Web Trends is the defacto industry standard, http://www.webtrends.com/default.htm/ but we use and recommend a market-experienced firm in Europe, Fantomaster, Ltd.
to our clients http://www.fantomaster.com/ – they have a suite of Search Engine products that can be downloaded for free or
10) Think global in your overall site design
The greatest Internet growth is occurring outside North America, so it is essential to build a site that can be accessed easily by people around the world.
What issues do you need to look at? Load
times are very important (again). Develop content that avoids colloquialisms that may not be understood by others who may not speak the same language. You may want to make your site content available in diverse languages. There are a number of emerging applications that will facilitate this process and ensure your ecommerce capabilities can be utilized by all.
That’s it… Follow these handy tips and ensure your Website is Click-Ready!
Lee has over 20 years' marketing experience. He's the co-founder of a Northern California and Brussels, Belgium, based, privately held, Marketing Services and Software Company, Intelective Communications Inc. Intelective focuses exclusively on providing strategic and tactical services to small to medium sized companies.