by Wendi McNeill
Setting up a website is the first step of an online marketing campaign
The success or failure of your web site depends greatly on how you have defined your website goals. If you don’t know what you want your website to accomplish, then it will most likely fail to accomplish anything. Without goals to guide you in developing and monitoring your website, all your site will be is an online announcement and will defeat the main purpose you put up a website which should have been to generate business, make online sales, market, get new clients and build relationships.
If you expect your site to kindle some form of action, whether it is for visitors to fill out a form so you can contact and stay in touch with them, or purchase a product, there are steps you can take to guarantee that your website is functioning at peak effectiveness. One of the first indications of how well your site is functioning for you is finding out the number of visitors in a given period of time.
However, just because tons of people have visited your site does not mean your site is successful. You want those visitors to take immediate action. You have about 60 seconds to grab their attention and get them to take action – to do something before they leave your site. It is equally important to monitor the number of visitors to your site who made a purchase. This figure is called the site conversion rate, and it is an essential element of the effectiveness of your site.
If your website is set up to get visitors to fill out a form, make sure to figure out what the difference is between your site conversion rate and your sales conversion rate. The reason is because not everyone who fills out your form will actually become your customer. However, whether your site is set up to sell a service or product, or to get the visitor to fill out a form, the site conversion rate will measure the success or failure of your website whenever you make changes to the site.
You may find that you need to apply some additional marketing strategies if you find that traffic to your site is low. There are several effective methods to improve the stream of traffic to your website, particularly launching a search engine optimization campaign. This campaign is targeted at increasing your position in search engine results so that visitors can find your pages quicker and easier. You can research the steps you need to take to improve your search engine rankings, or hire a search engine optimization expert to do the work for you. In either case, after you have improved your search engine positions, make sure you stay on top of them by regular monitoring and adjusting of your efforts to maintain high search engine positions.
Another issue to examine is how easy it is for a visitor to accomplish the action the site is set up for. For example, if you want your visitor to fill out a form, is this form easily accessible, or does the visitor have to spend a half hour looking for the sign up box? If it’s too hard and takes too long to find, then more times then not you will lose that visitor who will move on to another site. Make sure your buttons are highly visible, and the path to your form or ordering page is quickly accessible. My suggestion is to have your sign up form on your homepage (every page if possible) either in the header or the top right hand corner of the body.
Finally, if you can afford it, have an expert evaluate the copy on your website. Remember the goal is to get your visitors to make a purchase or fill out your form. Website copy must be specifically geared to your online campaign and not just a cut and paste job from your brochure or flyer. Trust me the right copy can make the difference between success and failure in your online campaign. If you feel you could benefit from an expert copywriter please feel free to send me an email and I can recommend someone to assist you.