Build it and they will come
Getting a new web site off the ground can be a daunting project. You may have spent months creating an online strategy, gathering content and collaborating with a professional web development team to get your site up and running. Although a big site launch may feel like crossing the finish line after running a marathon, it’s really just the beginning. Imagine your site as an online version of your brick and mortar business–you’d never think of paying a contractor to build a retail space or office and then walk away once you’ve finally turned the lights on. Worse yet, it would be foolish to expect customers to start flocking to your store just because you’ve opened your doors.
Before you start to develop a new web site you should have a comprehensive marketing program in place to help drive traffic to the site and engage customers. Getting a new site to rank high on search engines is no easy task–it takes time and a lot of hard work. To start, you may need to augment your traditional media and online avenues with paid search.
Web sites live on another planet
Too often I see well-designed web sites that do not sync with a company’s offline branding. Strong brands transcend media types to develop a seamless impression. A new web site should dovetail with your existing branding efforts. Before you start developing your new site, take time to evaluate your current marketing efforts to see what’s working and what needs to be retooled. A new web site may be the driving force behind a complete brand overhaul, which is a much larger project than just launching a new site.
To ensure your web, print and brand identity correspond, consult with a design agency that has expertise in all three areas. Designers who specialize in just web sites may not have a clear understanding of how your web site needs to tie into your overall brand strategy. Work with a design professional who understands the big picture, someone who can extend your brand across multiple platforms to help engage your customers.
Web sites are online brochures
The days of static, lifeless web sites are long gone. If you’re looking to translate a print brochure to the web, you may need to move your business out of the cave and into the 21st century. With the profusion of web based tools, apps, mobile devices, video, and social media, web design has evolved to encompass online brand management. Web designers must understand not only how to create beautiful sites, they must be able to deploy the right online arsenal to effectively shape a comprehensive online brand. Mapping out the right mix of social media and other interactive components can be challenging. The advice I always give my customers is to customize their online mix to meet specific objectives. Look at your product offering, brand personality, and customer behaviors to devise a plan that works with your unique needs. Also be realistic when it comes to time and budgetary commitments and don’t feel you have to do it all.
Food and water not required
Managing a web site is a lot like being a gardener–you can only reap the harvest with a lot of ongoing TLC. To simply plant the seeds of a new web site is not enough to produce results. The more you are involved with managing and analyzing your web site the greater the return. Too many web site owners flip the auto-pilot switch once a new site has been launched. To avoid this mistake, set obtainable goals for updating and nurturing your web site. Ask your design firm for assistance and think about scheduling periodic web reviews to go over the latest trends and best practices.
Web sites are silver bullets
In today’s market having a well-designed web site is a necessity. The thought of running a successful business without an online presence is frightening, although you shouldn’t expect your web site to magically solve all of your problems and bring throngs of customers to your door. True, for certain businesses like online retailers, the web is hugely important, but it’s still just one piece of the communications puzzle. Look at how your customers interact with your brand and figure out how best to support these connections. Don’t expect your web site to take the place of other touch points such as good old-fashioned human contact.
If you’re thinking of launching a new web site or reinvigorating your outmoded site, give Bozeman website design company Engine 8 a call. We’ll make sure to help you avoid the five pitfalls listed above. 406.222.7566
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