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Anxious About Your Website? You’re Not Alone.

By February 4, 2014In Other News
There was a time in the not so distant past, that while having a business meeting in a coffee shop, the person sipping the breakfast blend might ask, “Do you have a website?” The person downing the steaming espresso with a double shot might answer, “It’s in our five-year plan.” No big reaction from the breakfast blend. No need for an explanation from the double shot. Today, the original question has changed to, “What’s your web address?” From a single site in 1991 to more than 700 million in 2013, the Internet continues to grow exponentially. At the rate it’s growing, that number will reach a billion in 2014. And users? Well, even your grandmother has thrown away her phone book. Today’s consumers have expectations, and they’re not easy to please. They’re also web savvy, impatient and mobile. There are five major – and hundreds of minor – things to do when building a new website or freshening up an old one. These are the biggies. 1. Reinforce your brand David Ogilvy described brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” It’s what people think of when they hear your name. When someone visits your website, your brand should be obvious. Every element from typeface, color-scheme, text and graphics should define who you are. It should also match your off-the-web collateral and honestly reflect your company. Authenticity resonates with smart consumers. 2. Make it look good First impressions are a big deal – in person and on the web. Your website should look interesting, which doesn’t mean overly complicated. Today, minimalist websites are the trend. Many feature only one perfect picture or graphic on the home page, and are designed with great typography and an appealing color scheme. With so many choices of websites to visit for information, or to buy something, your website must catch the eyes, and keep them there. 3. Fill it with good content A great looking website without relevant content is like going on a date with someone who’s unbelievably attractive, but has no substance. You really want to date the woman, but you just can’t. To continue the date metaphor, remember the old boyfriend who monopolized the conversation and tired you out just listening? Good web content doesn’t mean more content. Make content useful to your customer. Make it something he cares about. 4. Optimize it No matter how good your website looks, it only adds value to your company or brand if it can be found (and crawled) by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Most recently, relevancy seems to be the key to an optimized site. This can be accomplished by ensuring you have regular new content. You can do this with a blog, new photos, new banners and a social media feed. Another key is keywords. This means that the textual content contains words people use in their search. Keywords should be present not only in the actual words on the website, but should be used to tag pictures and graphics to make it easy for search engines to match you with your target audience. 5. Make it interactive. Once a user has found you, you want him to stay on your site, even share it with others. Interaction is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Include a video or an audio clip. Create a blog and ask for comments. Create a survey or quiz and provide instant results. Make it easy to share content with social media buttons – and ask for the share. Provide relevant downloads such as eBooks or white papers. And most importantly, make your website mobile-friendly. If this post makes you anxious about your website, you’re not alone. Businesses are competing with more than 700 million sites to get attention. Many companies have given up trying to build and maintain their own site and turned to professionals who understand the intricacies of web design and optimization. Take a breath, have a cappuccino and let HenkinSchultz build your site or evaluate the one you have. We’ve been helping brands succeed for more than 22 years. Why not yours?