“One of the most difficult client introductions I experience is when a CEO comes to me for help after having invested a significant amount of money in a website, only to find that the site itself prohibits effective digital marketing,” says Kevin Hourigan, president and CEO of Web design, Web development and online marketing agency, Bayshore Solutions. “This is a harsh reality for any business to face, yet it is all too often the ‘norm’ and often requires a costly rebuild to create the correct website that can be marketed and grow a business.”
Smart Business spoke with Hourigan about how to ensure that the right items are in place from the start when building your business’s website.
Why is the way a website is built so important?
Business websites today are not only the first impression of your business to the world but a critical tool in marketing your products or services and delivering leads and sales. To effectively compete, a business website needs to be easily found via search and deliver a visitor experience that informs, assures and influences.
Here are some major considerations to address before you start building your company website, so you end up with a web presence that is capable of and fit to deliver the business growth performance you expect.
Ensure core code fitness
There are a variety of ways that websites can be coded. Some approaches result in more efficient and consistent processes and rendering of a website. The way a site is coded can dramatically affect the time it takes to load or view a web page. Load time is a key element of any search engine’s algorithm. The faster your website presents itself, the higher up on the list of search results it will appear.
There are a staggering amount of development intricacies involved in programming the features and functionality of a website. Proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires code-level arrangements and additions to enable the optimization that makes your website competitive in search engines. Knowing that the finished website will be marketed via SEO and other digital marketing tactics alerts the development team to anticipate and allow for the integrations, arrangements and ongoing code updates the website will need.
How does your developer plan to accommodate your website for the digital marketing tactics you will use? If he or she can’t answer this specifically, you should be interviewing a different website development company.
Keep it device agnostic
Most search engine spiders and Apple iPhone and iPad devices do not read Flash code well, if at all. Yet Flash is a very popular way to accomplish impressive visual design used by many Web designers.
Today, a website built entirely or mostly with Flash design may look fantastic, but it is severely crippled in its chances of being found by your target audience, especially those using an i-device. If your Web design must incorporate Flash, what is the plan to present an equally impressive visual experience to your non-Flash-reading website visitors?
This same audience accommodation principle applies to your website visitors who use a mobile device. The visual and functional experience of your business by visitors using a mobile-device grows more important each day as more and more people are using smartphone, tablet and mobile technologies. Your website’s presentation and feature functionality need to be tailored differently to a mobile visitor. What is the website development plan to not just accommodate but elate your website visitors’ mobile experience?
Build website flexibility
SEO and digital marketing are ongoing processes with dynamic, ever-evolving tactics and best practices. Web marketers need to access, update and publish changes to web pages quickly to take advantage of and stay on top of market dynamics that affect your business. These types of items include keyword refinement, pricing changes, call to action alternatives, message and page layout edits, timely campaigns and promotions, etc.
Access to editing and updating website content is mission-critical to effective Internet marketing. Integrating a Content Management System (CMS), to your website enables this. Insist that a web content management system be a part of your website development. Some CMS systems are more SEO friendly and more administrative user friendly than others. Take care to select a CMS that accommodates your Internet marketing needs in an easy-to-use format.
Incorporate cross fit integration
Points of integration that need to be considered for optimized development of a website include data-processing platforms or eCommerce shopping carts and payment modules. Each has critical security measures that are required to make your business a trustworthy online store or information bank.
Another basic business website integration to plan for is your Customer Relations Management (CRM) platform. Determine what type of information integration you will need and how this will be accomplished as part of your website development requirements.
Social media platforms, including blogs, social networking profiles and content syndication channels can be greatly enhanced with proper integration, capability for RSS feeds, etc. Enabling and achieving these connections with your website design may require extra development effort but is a key differentiation in effective web marketing.
In today’s digitally marketed world, as you understand the strategic importance that your website has in your ability to grow your business, it is clear that your website needs to be purposefully developed with fitness for SEO, user experience and Web marketing.
Kevin Hourigan is the president and CEO of Bayshore Solutions. Reach him at (877) 535-4578 or http://www.BayshoreSolutions.com.
For a snapshot of Bayshore Solutions Web marketing methodology, visit www.bayshoresolutions.com/about-bayshore-solutions/methodology.aspx.
Insights Web Design, Development & Internet Marketing is brought to you by Bayshore Solutions