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If you have a company website you’ll want it to work hard for your business, bringing eager customers ready to spend their budgets with you.  In order for your website to succeed it needs three ‘legs’ – a bit like a 3-legged stool.  If one leg isn’t working your stool (website) falls over.

Traffic

Usually generated by Search Engine Optimisation.  As the formulas (algorithms) that search engines use to calculate the rankings on their pages change with alarming frequency, this needs to be done by an expert.  However, there are other means of generating traffic – including using social media marketing, content marketing, email campaigns and paid campaigns using tools such as Google Adwords or the advertising facilities on social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

There are software packages that can assist with some of these activities.  The secret is to choose the ones that best meet your needs and to streamline as much as possible.  Before you buy ensure you know what all the possibilities are – not to mention whether they’ll all talk to each other.

Look and feel

This is your web designer/developer’s job: to make the site look good and work efficiently.  If it’s hard for your website visitor to find what they’re looking for, they’ll soon leave.  If you’ve invested in traffic generation, that’s likely to be a lot of wasted money.  If there are broken pages or links that will impact on whether your visitor stays or goes – and also will influence their perception of your company.

When your website is ready to go live, ensure you test it with users.  The best usability tests are those where you give the ‘guinea pig’ tester a series of tasks to carry out and then watch how they get on.  These tasks might include:

  • Find the company contact number.
  • Identify the three key services or products.
  • Find out how to buy a ‘product name’ or ‘service name’.
  • Ask how could this company help your business – what outcomes do they promise?
  • How can you ask the company for more information on X product/service.

You’ll need to develop your own list of tasks – but stick to only a handful or your tester will get bored!

Message

When your website visitor lands on your site they need to be able to work out if you can help them quickly.  The opening screen needs a headline that engages them and captures their attention.  That means that you may have a short introduction on your home page, but your core products or services need to be somewhere near the top of the page with a line of explanation that will encourage the visitor to click through to more specific information.

Bear in mind that your visitor doesn’t need the detail of how you do what you do, but they do need to know ‘what’s in it for me?’  That means your content needs to focus on benefits, not the nuts and bolts of what you offer.

  • Without traffic people won’t find you.
  • Without an easy to use website visitors will get frustrated and leave.
  • Without an effective message, visitors won’t ‘get’ it and will leave.

A good website pays attention to all three elements creating a strong and stable stool.