The Keys To A Successful Website
There are many website development cost options. The market is flooded with low-cost options such as GoDaddy, 1and1.com, Weebly and countless others just like them. Traditional advertising and interactive agencies both build at a premium – why? What’s the difference? What makes an agency the better choice over a low-cost solution?
Information architecture, user experience, conversion funnels, lead generation, and more importantly, ROI, sales, brand experience and recognition are all key components that play a pivotal role in developing a successful website and a successful interactive marketing strategy. While some low-cost options offer a number of templates which allow users to change colors and upload their own photos, most agencies approach websites from a customized, strategic position to ensure the client’s goals are being met and the website is tailored to the target audience’s needs, not just the company’s.
Some of the key components to developing a successful performance-driven and goal-oriented website include:
Goals and Conversion Funnels
In order to effectively use a website to strengthen a business and foster growth, the site must have established goals and identified lead generators. Whether the goal is to sell products, capture email leads, inform/educate an audience about a brand or sell a service, all goals must be identified in the discovery phase so that every decision strategically made in the planning process is working towards those goals, allowing successful planning of measurement tactics and the placement of tracking pixels to evaluate the success of stated goals.
Also referred to as site architecture or sitemapping, this is one of the most important parts in a website process, as it determines how the information is going to be set up for the user. The site content and information must be presented in a logical and easy to access manner. If website visitors cannot find what they are looking for quickly and easily, it will negatively impact website goals and the overall user experience of the site.
Brand Identity & Design
Every brand needs to have an established identity before attempting to take their business to market. That brand needs to resonate or speak to the target, both conceptually and visually. Without an identity that corresponds to the defined direction of the company, the brand’s target audiences will be lost and unable to connect to the brand.
Another key component in developing a new site is the user experience (UX), or how an audience receives or “experiences” a brand. Visitors should have a positive and easy experience on all areas of a site, whether it relates to page load times, ease of navigation, compatibility for the user’s web browser, or site functionality. The goal is to build a site that moves beyond just telling the user about the brand, to actually motivating and inspiring them to take the brand’s desired action.
In today’s world, there are several browsers, browser versions, devices and operating systems. In building a new website, it should be optimized for all possible scenarios in which a user may experience a brand. Responsive website design is a great solution in optimizing the user experience across various screen resolutions and devices.
Content Management System Integration
A Content Management System, or CMS, is a highly recommended tool when building a new or redesigned website. The investment up front will allow for easy site maintenance and continuous updates to the site without having to hire a developer or needing extensive programming knowledge.
Online Brand Reach
Having an online presence extends far beyond a web address. In today’s world, businesses need to have a much wider presence that extends their brand into the consumer’s online world. Popular channels for immersing targets into a brand include social media platforms, online review sites, web directories, search engines and online advertising platforms. Incorporating links from the website to the brand’s endorsed social media channels makes it easier for visitors to extend a brand’s reach with additional content, reviews, and sometimes even criticism.
Even after a site has launched, the work is never completely finished. It is vital that a brand continues to analyze the site performance and visitor behavior. Reviewing website analytics data enables a brand to monitor how visitors are experiencing their content and provides insights and/or necessary site adjustments to improve the usability and user experience. As technologies continue to evolve, so should a website.
What is the difference between a low-cost, template website and the strategic work of proven professionals immersing themselves in a brand and identifying with a target audience to create the right site? Potentially, results.