Thursday, September 2, 2010

A site for sore eyes

By show of hands, how many of you have a website? That’s what I thought. Ostensibly, every business that exists in any capacity has a website of some sort. Whether you’ve hired a professional developer and designer or you had your neighbor’s kid design it for his seventh grade computer science project (in 1995), you have some sort of online presence. Your website is your single most important piece of marketing collateral, and if your competitor’s site tops yours, the game is over.

So, take a step back and pretend you are visiting your website for the very first time. Ask yourself the following questions:

Does it look professional? If fonts don’t match, if you have animated GIFs or if you have a background with dolphins (unless you sell dolphins, which seems illegal), your answer is no. If your site hasn’t been updated since Little Johnny did it in 1995, your answer is again, no. We could write an entire post specifically about outdated designs, but that’s for another day. Just remember your website is the first impression of your company, and if it looks amateur, so does your brand.

Do not do this. 

How fresh is your content? If it hasn’t been updated since 1995, you have a problem. Still, if it hasn’t been updated since last month, you also have a problem. A website should serve as a hub for all of the information surrounding your company – events, new products, initiatives, community service projects – all the on-goings of your business should be there and up-to-date. As an extension of your brand, this dynamic content shows your constant progression and commitment to growth.

How valuable is your content? If the only material you have to offer is about you, you are missing the mark. As with social media, your website should be a resource – not an advertisement. Provide information about industry trends and news stories as well as your personal advice and experiences. This will encourage visitors to come back so your brand stays top-of-mind and establishes credibility.

Are you connected? As the central location for all of your brand’s resources and information, your website has to fit seamlessly with your social media campaign. Twitter streams, Facebook updates, Flikr feeds and other widgets that allow visitors to engage are essential to maintaining a web presence and providing a cohesive network for your current and potential customers. This framework magnifies your social media efforts by giving viewers one more opportunity to interact with you one-on-one, and those relationships make the greatest difference in your business.

And here’s the kicker: It’s really easy. Thanks to user-friendly content management systems and robust blog services (like WordPress), you don’t have to speak HTML or any other type of web language. If you can operate a computer, you can operate your site – and once you have that kind of control, there’s no excuse to not comply with our rules. Plus, there’s a good chance your ROI will finally move out of the red, and that makes everyone happy.

We have to admit, we’ve got some pretty big news. Our website is making its big debut tomorrow. We’d like to send a shout out to our partners in creativity, Culture Pilot (WE LOVE YOU!), for their commitment to providing an environment that complements the real-life experiences we strive to give our clients. We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

We’re going live tomorrow, so join us at the party! Visit on Friday, September 3, as we make our inaugural clicks. 

IMPORTANT: The blog is permanently moving to the new site as of next week, so keep following us over there!

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