7 things you should get with your website
Websites are the cornerstone of online marketing, multiplying the value and impact of all the other related activities. For your site to be really successful, your social media, newsletters, ads and so on need to be connected to it. When purchasing a website, make sure to consider all these elements to make sure you’re not missing an important piece of the puzzle.
1. Regular fresh content
Content of your website has two forms. The first kind doesn’t really change often, because it’s always relevant. An example might be an “About” page. We call that static content. The second kind is only relevant for a short time, and thus should be changed regularly. This kind usually takes the form of blog posts, news articles, events, new products, etc.
Having new things to read or explore is pretty much the only thing that will keep visitors returning to your site. This constant activity also impresses new customers. It’s also helpful for SEO, as Google considers websites that have regular new content to be more valuable than those that don't. And as you’ll see, frequently publishing new content is valuable for other online marketing platforms like social media and email newsletters.
2. Social media
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter; these are the places people choose to spend much of their free time and attention on. It’s on these sites that people are the most open to engagement, because it’s where they expect to be among friends. Having pages / profiles on these platforms allows you to collect fans - they're not just followers - providing you with more opportunities to speak to them.
It turns out that these platforms are also the places many people start from when searching for new products or services. While social media may be free to be part of, it takes lots of time and care to grow a community of your customers, which can eventually lead to improved customer loyalty and sales.
3. Email newsletters
Did you get an email from a company recently? You probably said yes. Was it appealing enough that you read anything in it? You probably had to think about that for a while. It should be evident that emails you send can be effective if they’re done in a way that your customers will want to read them.
Bulk emails can be incredibly effective when done well, because nearly everybody these days is required to check their email daily. Emails that aren't appealing, however, get discarded before even being read. If you make sure they’re planned and created really well, and you have a large audience to send them to, you will be rewarded with a massive amount of reads and clicks.
4. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
When we want to find a product or service, the first place we're likely to go to is Google. We'll search for something like "Printers nearby". Google then checks every page it has reviewed recently for the most relevant, helpful, authoritative (important and trust-worthy) webpages, then provides them as a list to the person searching.
The process of making your website show up at the top of the list of results is search engine optimisation. It requires a lot of time and effort improving the site's technical details, its content, and getting other sites to link to yours. SEO can take months and can cost a lot to get right - sometimes even more than the website itself - but it can be worth it in the long run because of the number of visitors it can bring to your site.
5. Online adverts
While SEO takes months to show real results, online ads show up immediately. But they can disappear just as quickly when your ad budget runs out. Online ads are often thought of as a short-term solution to getting visitors to your website.
Most ads are pay-per-click (PPC), meaning you only pay for the people who click on your ads, not everyone else that sees them. Ads on search engines like Google are the most well-known, however ads on social media (Facebook in particular) are also a popular option. Ads can also be useful and effective in other places like phone apps, using Google's "ad network".
6. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO)
Getting hoards of people to visit your website is fantastic, but it's pointless if your website doesn't turn the visitors into customers - or customers into repeat buyers! Assuming your website has a particular purpose, each time someone achieves a website goal (such as filling in the contact form), we say they're being "converted". Your website's conversion rate is therefore how successful it is at fulfilling its purpose.
It's difficult to achieve a truly excellent conversion rate when a website is first designed, so it's important to have someone continually monitoring the website for ways to improve conversion rate.
7. Analytics (measuring success)
It's probably obvious that measuring how people interact with your website can tell you which parts are doing well, and which parts need improvement. What isn't obvious at all - even for experts! - is which metrics (the things we measure) to use and for what purpose.
A very popular metric, for instance, is bounce rate: The percentage of people who leave the site without visiting any pages other than the one they arrived on. A lot of bounces is clearly bad, but that metric alone doesn't tell you how much better or worse your site is doing than it should be, or even what to change to improve it. Having a skilled professional review your website metrics regularly helps you learn what can be improved and which changes will make the biggest impact.
Not sure you can afford all this?
We hear you; it's a lot! But here's the thing; adding these features should make you more money than they cost. If they didn’t, there wouldn't be any point in adding them!
You don't need to have all of these right away though; select the ones that will give you the best value-for-money - it depends on what your business does, and your market - and start with them. For instance, when you purchase your website, make sure some ads are included to bring traffic to it, and social media or email newsletters if you already have a list of customers’ email addresses.
If you feel like you can only afford a website, consider either doing some of these yourself - make sure you spend enough time learning them - such as social media. We're not suggesting you can do it as well as a social media expert (they have a million ways to make social media really successful), but a little effort can go a long way to start with.
If that’s not an option, consider spending less on your website to afford more of the other services. There’s always a more affordable way to make a website, but a cheaper website will always be simpler. A great website agency will be honest and tell you that; we want you to achieve as much success as possible!