Making your website a success - Business Works
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Making your website a success

by Drew Griffiths, Managing Director, Mosaic Digital Why are some websites more effective than others? Sites need content and engagement strategies to be effective and should not just be another 'off-the-shelf' template that looks like so many others says Griffiths, Managing Director of Mosaic Digital, who offers his advice for success.

The two most common complaints prospective clients come to us with are:

  1. "Our site doesn't do much for us"
  2. "We get lots of traffic, but very few leads / sales!"
And this is frequently an issue for websites that have only recently launched.

So why does this happen?

You may have been told that it's due to having the wrong keywords in the titles or a lack of links pointing to your website. However, the problem is often something more elementary than adjusting keywords and getting other websites to link to yours.

To illustrate this, I will use an analogy. Imagine Jimmy Choo is planning to open a new store. The company likes its stores to have big glass fronts, be undercover and around 500 square foot in size. The requirements are put into a computer and the perfect location pops up. The store is built and they open it with a big party and wait. The store is a flop. Lots of people walk past, but no one goes inside. A few people do stop and gaze at the beautiful shoes in the windows, but then walk by complaining about the price of the brand.

What was their mistake? Opening in an outlet centre, alongside a Clarks and Barratts. No thought was put into researching the demographics of shoppers at this centre.

Wealthier customers are unlikely to visit an outlet selling discount brands' out-of-season stock, so the store was never going to do well. A lack of local need, as a result of bad planning, a lack of thought about audience (and their associated shopping habits), has weakened a luxury aspirational brand.

just ticking boxes within a project increases the likelihood of poor performance

Apply this example to a website and you can begin to see where the fundamental problems are. A business has built a website, either with the help of an agency or by itself, and just focused on ensuring it's visually pleasing and contains lots of information about the company. The business has found its shopping centre. The boxes have been ticked. But ticking boxes within a project just increases the likelihood of poor performance for the website.

So, now you see the real issue. Little focus has been placed on content and engagement strategies. No one has considered where they will create touch points with their audience. What does this audience expect to see? How much content will they read? Or even, will they be looking at the website on a train? There are several considerations that need to be explored before strategies are set, otherwise people will browse and then leave.

content and engagement strategies are just an afterthought

The bad news is the problem is getting worse, since design for mobile has led to an abundance of website themes flooding the market, which look and feel very similar. Content and engagement strategies are just an afterthought and, instead, the projects are becoming concerned about taking the business' content and making it look pretty in these boxes.

What content goes in these boxes?

If there is no strategy, approach or personality to base this content on, you're going to struggle for inspiration. Content will be generic, bland and ultimately unsuitable for purpose. No one will bother reading it. Returning to the Jimmy Choo example, imagine the store just has large posters in its windows telling you what a shoe shop is and why you need to wear shoes on your feet. It sounds unthinkable, but this is exactly the approach many websites take.

My advice to avoid this is to consider making the following topics intrinsic in the conversations around your website build:

  1. Your audience: Talk to them and do your research first so you know what they want to read, what makes them tick and what will make them engage. The analytics you have on your existing website should inform you. Before committing to needing a new site, use heat maps, create hypotheses and run A/B tests.

  2. Your engagement strategy: You have several options. Consider AdWords, social, SEO or even flyers handed out in stations. Every business is different and you need to work out how your audience will hear about you before coming to your site. Getting a new telephone does not guarantee it will ring and it's the same with a new website. The website will not attract new visitors on its own accord.

  3. You: Decide who are you and how you differ to your competitors. Your story, your personality and your proposition needs to stand out. It needs to be remarkable. Saying you are nice people to work with no longer cuts the mustard, I am afraid. Everyone says it.

  4. Your content strategy: Conversation is crucial for your website, as without continual fresh content, it will turn stale and very dull. If you become dull, you will put your audience off. Google will spot this and it will punish you for it.

  5. Budgets: Building a website with a small budget isn't necessarily the best in the long-run. We can all do tick-box websites. The fact is they will deliver instant wow with their shiny scrolly picture, everyone will comment on how fresh it looks but few people will come through the doors. They will walk on by and you will find yourself asking someone why your website does not do much for you.

A success story

Close Brothers Invoice Finance came to us wanting to improve results from their website. We worked with them on a new digital strategy, website re-design and build which - along with continued evolvement and optimisation - resulted in a more than 300% increase in visit-to-lead rates. You can read the details of the case study here.

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