An excerpt from Booms and Peents, Nighthawk’s little magazine. Read or download the full magazine for free »
Website design is one of Nighthawk’s most popular services, and for good reason: websites are arguably the most important marketing tool that a business has. It’s no secret that websites can be extremely beneficial when well-constructed – and disadvantages for a business when they aren’t – but creating a solid website requires a carefully designed strategy.
Here are five things to consider for your business’s website.
Your website is your most important digital presence
No question about it: your company’s website is the centerpiece around which the rest of your marketing should revolve. Social media and other channels can be used as promotion tools and to build awareness, but ultimately, they are not yours to own and maintain, and that means that they can be changed at any time to the whims and algorithms of the companies that own the platforms. You control every aspect of your website, and strategized websites will allow your company to be found online, show your audience what you offer them, prove your credibility, and result in customers.
SEO is important, but you may be missing the point
We have many clients who come to Nighthawk looking to get into Google’s top rankings or increase website traffic, and they’ve usually made unsuccessful attempts already. You’ve maybe heard about things that affect your website’s Search Engine Optimization, and many are extremely important — like having a website that loads quickly and is mobile-friendly. But it’s way too easy to get bogged down by tiny factors that have barely any impact on algorithms and overlook the main reason that SEO matters: because search engines want to deliver the best possible results that they can to their users. That means that they want to offer the websites that users visit, spend time on, click through, and return to. That is the ultimate key to SEO: creating a website with an exceptional user experience.
Your audience needs a reason to visit your site…
Having a beautiful website won’t drive results if your audience doesn’t know it exists. There are way too many options and distractions for the old “build it and they will come” strategy to be effective. Instead, you must provide your audience with compelling reasons to visit your website. Vague phrases like check us out! and see what we have to offer! often aren’t strong enough. Instead, look into your company’s strengths and identify the ways that you uniquely excel, where you are expertly positioned, and the reasons that your customers love you. Create website content that focuses on those aspects of your company and use your other marketing channels to entice your audience with those worthy reasons to visit your website.
…and also needs reasons to come back
Keeping your audience’s attention is a constant but important battle that doesn’t have to require huge ad spends and the loudest messaging. Instead, aim to position your company as a resource and companion. By doing so, you build an ongoing relationship with your audience to build their trust and awareness of what your company has to offer. But even with high-quality work, if your business provides limited content that is consumed too quickly, there will be no reason for your audience to keep coming back. Keeping information and content fresh is key to maintaining a connection with your audience.
Keep realistic website goals in mind — and implement them
A website’s optimal role is different for every business, but in many cases, websites cannot make sales without a thoughtful nurturing strategy in place. Websites are, however, exceptional tools to form connections with your audience. Consider your website’s best uses when monitoring its performance. Capturing emails of potential customers who visit your site is a practical way that your website can be highly effective. Building on strategies like email collection is a simple and productive way to use your website to its full potential.
No matter how simple they are, there are few shortcuts to take when running effective marketing strategies. However, there are clever ways to make the most of your efforts — see page 15 for details.