Recently, I have been helping several clients beef up their Websites. I find that many business owners are simply baffled about how to keep their online marketing current in the Web 2.0 world. Although they may have a Website, it is either sorely outdated or generally neglected, often because clients don’t have the resources in-house to figure out what the heck to do with it.
In truth, the sudden influx of Web-based projects came as a surprise. After all, in today’s media-saturated, socially-networked marketplace, I figured everybody already has a robust Web presence. But, that’s simply not the case. From doctors to lawyers to event planners, thousands of professionals still need help capturing the attention of prospective clients surfing the Net.
As the maxim goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. To this end, your Website needs to shine – or at the very least, not offend. And few things are more offensive than a site that is outdated, whether in design, functionality or content. Although you don’t need to implement an annual overhaul of your entire site, you should avoid letting it go stale if you hope to keep visitors engaged.
Here, then, are three quick tips to renovate your Web presence and beef up your online marketing efforts:
1) Add a blog – If you don’t already have one, you need one. You can create a new section for the blog within your existing site, or set it up as a separate site – at zero cost – through a service like Blogger.com or Typepad.com. (Be sure to include a link back to your primary domain.) The power of a blog is that it lets you generate fresh content and speak plainly with customers. By adding frequent posts on new developments in your industry and other topics of interest to anyone visiting your site, you demonstrate that you are an authority in your field, and that you understand the needs of your readers. Likewise, by allowing Comments in your blog, you can establish a dialog with your clients (and let them provide part of your content).
2) Go minimalist – As little as five years ago, features like a Flash landing page were all the rage. But, these days, making them hit “Skip Intro” is a sure way to irritate visitors to your site. People want instant access to relevant information, not lots of fancy graphics (unless, perhaps, you are a graphic artist). What’s more, Flash puts a serious dent in your search engine optimization. If your site uses Flash, consider redesigning your landing page to take visitors straight to the main site navigation and summary content about how your business or practice can improve their life. (And remember, when it comes to text, less is more.)
3) Add video – Recently, a colleague shared with me that 25 percent of all search engine results are now links to online video. (That’s results, not searches.) As sites like Hulu and YouTube continue their exponential growth, Web-based video is becoming perhaps the most powerful tool for capturing your customer’s attention. Whether you are a shoe wholesaler or a mortgage broker, video lets you engage viewers and lay the foundation for your relationship before you ever meet. For example, I recently did a project for a Dallas video production company to create a series of videos for a bariatric surgeon in Fort Worth. Even if you aren’t considering weight loss surgery, this case study demonstrates how effective adding even a short video segment to your homepage can be.
You can implement any of these strategies quickly and at minimal cost. All of them will make a positive impact on your search engine rankings and help improve the user experience for Web surfers who come to your site.
For a free evaluation of your site’s content, functionality and search engine optimization, please contact me at leslie [at] lesliejthompson [dot] com, or by phone at 214-704-6661.