In the everyday process of dealing with customers, your primary business website is probably not getting the full attention it deserves. It may be that you spend little or no time at all concentrating on your Web presence. Or (as is commonplace in the last few years), you may have decided to put all your efforts into marketing, such as using social networking or other methods to drum-up new leads.

The impact of social profiles:

Businesses often spend a significant proportion of their time updating, polishing and tweaking Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and organising other methods to generate visitors. But while these things are important, a visitor will not convert into a lead or sale if the website is sub-standard. Remember: While social provides great opportunities to start a conversation, most prospects want to see the whole package, not just a social networking profile.

Any primary business site should not be an afterthought, but rather, at the cornerstone of online marketing activities. Let’s face it, there’s no point a visitor landing on a page if they’re not going to make an enquiry, or at least bookmark the site for later viewing. This is why it is crucial to maintain a clear focus on your website. If the main site is stale, lacking energy and otherwise unattended, all marketing efforts will be in vain.

The main business website is the only Internet property where you have complete control. Your site is a ‘shop window’, communicating company values, brand, tone, style and unique selling points. Consider what might happen if Twitter or Facebook ceased trading. While this seems unlikely at this juncture, those who have invested time solely in these networks will suddenly have their online presence dashed in an instant. Therefore, it makes sense to use social in partnership with other online marketing activities, and this includes marketing your business site, via content marketing, e-mail, SEO, PPC, and other methods.

Search Engine Optimisation also relies heavily on a well-functioning, credible site. Only websites can hold the required amount of content necessary to have any real impact in the search engine results pages. One-page sites and those with thin content will find the task much harder, which is why investment in the primary business site should be undertaken alongside any other digital marketing activities.

There are a number of common traits seen on outdated or neglected sites. These include:

  • Outdated design – not compatible on mobile or using outdated technologies.
  • Insufficient information for the customer.
  • Lack of updates giving the impression “nobody’s home”.
  • Outdated product information or imagery.
  • No interlinking between the primary site and social profiles.
  • No feature providing the opportunity to distribute content to friends.

A good, solid website will have the following attributes:

  • Well laid-out and easy to use.
  • Fast-loading and multi-browser compatible.
  • Communicate brand values and give the visitor an overall ‘feel’ for the company.
  • Allow the customer to easily request further information or make an enquiry.
  • Hold a sufficient amount of product/service information.
  • Be updated on a regular basis, either via a blog or other regular customer contact.
  • Reliable architecture and hosting platform for maximum speed and uptime.
  • Allow search engines to crawl and access key information.
  • Provide features that allow a user to share content with others.

Your business site is a 24-hour salesperson and the tool that will ultimately convert prospects into customers. Remember this when thinking about how best to improve your online marketing!

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