The days when the website was only a form of business card of the company are long gone now. Today it is an advanced tool which not only creates your image, but also is a cherry on top of the marketing campaign and increases sales. Why care about a website and what key elements should a website have to attain marketing and sales goals?
These days perhaps all companies are well aware of the importance of having a website. If you’re present online, your potential customers will have easy access to your offer and contact data. Branding, i.e. brand awareness, is equally important. The latter increases your credibility in the eyes of your both customers and candidates for work. Adverts are no longer the only source that those looking for a job turn to. Before sending their CV, 80% of candidates tend to verify employer’s branding online. And a modern website which is updated frequently will probably boost the number of applications.
How to build your brand awareness through a website?
To do that, your website needs to be something more than just a mere presentation of the offer. Make sure to include some elements of communication, so that visitors may identify with your company’s values. An absolute must-have is the following:
- Values and mission: both customers and employees look for enthusiasts. This makes customers feel that services you offer are of high quality. Employees, in turn, expect positive vibes and greater development potential.
- Business track record: information about how long you have run the business may influence the level of trust. You can also mark different stages in the development of your company.
- Achievements: include certificates and information about your participation in fairs or conferences. A photo report will be an advantage in such a case.
- Recommendation is also an important part which boosts credibility of the company. You can, for instance, ask satisfied customers to place their logos on your site. Another solution is to emphasize cooperation (upon the prior approval from brands’ representatives).
- Team – think about presenting short bios of the company’s members. You may also consider including pictures taken by a professional photographer.
- Job offers – even if we don’t want to run any recruitment at the moment, prepare a separate subpage for future potential candidates with a separate contact mail.
- Blog – branding and content marketing are inextricably interconnected. On your blog, write about interesting topics from your sector. You can answer and dispel most frequent doubts of your customers.
- Contact form – your potential customers will be more eager to contacting you through a simple form rather than their mailbox. Also, what they value is the possibility of calling you right from your webpage (thanks to special plugins, e.g. CallPage) or asking you a question via a chat (among the popular tools you will find LiveChat and Messenger)
What you include on your website is up to you and this is how you create employer branding. This is a great advantage over other forms of market communication where these options are limited and the message you send may get distorted (e.g. Instagram is mainly about pictures, while Twitter limits the number of characters). However, this doesn’t mean that when creating a website you don’t need to abide by any rules. Actually, it works the other way round: in order to make the website efficient, you need to match certain standards if the site is to be your marketing tool.
Website as a marketing tool
When creating a website, you need to define measurable goals you want to attain thanks to it. If you do that, functional design will be easier. Specific goals depend on the nature of your business and the policy of the company. However, they are usually limited to boosting your revenues through collecting queries and online sales. To do that, you need to acquire customers, improve customer service, and increase sales of products and services. A website is also designed to collect data about key customers and analyse expectations and preferences through reviewing interactions with the website’s content.
You need to remember that it’s not only advertising campaigns and online actions that may route users to your website, but it’s also about offline actions (i.e. flyers, catalogues, billboards). Consider launching a landing page (a website dedicated to a campaign) for specific channels and termporary campaigns. This is to achieve the maximum conversion rate (e.g. filling in a form or making a purchase online). In general, the website should be a consistent element on the whole sales path and a place where a decision to buy will be made, if not the purchase itself.
In order to make sales assumptions and offer queries more real, a proper approach to website design is needed. In this case, you need to have analytical brain and be fluent in using the existing data analysis tools (i.e. Google Tag Manager, Senuto or Facebook Ads Manager) Thanks to that, your website will be compliant with SEO requirements which will allow getting the highest conversion rate but you will also be able to make some improvements on an ongoing basis.
Key elements of a website
In the most detailed aspect of designing your company’s website, we need to abide by SEO and SEM rules. Website optimisation for search engines is an absolute must in driving the number of visits. While PPC campaigns routing users to sites may be very efficient in increasing the number of views, they also are really capex-intensive. SEO is a long-term investment and, as time flies, it begins to cost you less, providing increasingly better results.
While requirements of SEO and SEM constantly change, there are some key ones which your website needs to meet. The key rule says that the more your website quotes, the more credible it is and will be displayed to users of search engines more frequently. What other elements are important?
- Proper name for your domain – an easy name is an advantage for a user, as it will be easier to remember; it should also contain the name of the company or the product/ service; also, Google likes domains which have a proven track record.
- Smart website structure – your website must be correct in terms of technicalities (a.o. domain, header, description, link structure), UX (a.o. design, navigation, responsiveness), and content (above all its uniqueness, key phrases, formatting).
- Well written texts with key phrases – texts should have proper length and be well saturated with key phrases. You pick the latter based on the most frequent Google searches by your potential customers. Google itself supports you in doing that by providing adequate tools.
- Descriptions, tags, headers – each of these should include metadata for Google robots, as these contribute to indexation. They should also contain key phrases.
- Availability for robots – if Google stumbles during indexation of your website, you can check that using Google Search Console. You can correct errors on an ongoing basis or report them if they are unjustified.
- Optimisation for mobile devices – a website should be not only responsive. It’s worth designing a separate template for mobile users, as it will enable easy navigation. Currently the big players (e.g. Google and Facebook) use the “mobile first” approach, where mobile devices are a priority.
- Safe https protocole – prevents data capture and other changes. Currently it is a standard supported by Google which depositions websites with the obsolete http protocole.
- Well-proven CMS – thanks to it you may update your website on your own. Nowadays the most popular content management systems include WordPress and the similar WooCommerce for online sales.
- Stable hosting – to avoid breaks in your website functioning or slow loading, select a server with fast data transfer: it heavily impacts the Page Rank by Google.
Optimisation of the existing website
Today we no longer ask why a company needs a website, but why a company needs a good website. We live in a digital world and competition is quite intense in every market segment. An optimised website is a significant advantage at the very beginning of the race for winning the customer.
A company website is an advanced project which may require involvement of many specialists. When creating a website, you need to focus both on its content and its visual and technical aspects. Currently it is not possible to build a professional website without abiding by the rules of SEO and SEM. A business website should also be linked with the social media, but it is advised to use the latter as a separate communication channel.
However, algorithms and technological standards change at a staggering rate. You need to remember that it is necessary to review and optimise your website (UX, SEO, technology) on a regular basis. To do so, you can use tools available online (e.g Ahrefts for SEO or Hotjar for UX) or just consult one of the external agencies. Don’t forget that usually, to optimise the website, it is necessary to interfere with the website code. Positioning itself is a constant race for finding your name among the top 10 results on Google page: and remember that you are not the only one to participate in the competition! A well-optimised website is a starting point for the whole marketing communication in the majority of marketing campaigns in the SME sector.