August 1, 2011

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Energy Development in Utah

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Web Insights

Common Web Questions Answered

Michael Harker

August 1, 2011

Q: What is the one thing a business should look for in a website?
A: A website should attain the goals it was built to reach. Almost always, these goals will boil down to an increase in revenue of some kind.

Q: My company has a website but it isn’t getting much traffic, how do we get more visitors to the website?
A: There are a lot of different ways to increase traffic to a website but many of them require a lot of effort and take time to see the full results. I think it is important to differentiate between traffic and relevant traffic because it is possible to get traffic that provides little benefit to your company. I would recommend a blend of the following to increase relevant traffic to your website:

  1. For an immediate boost in relevant traffic I recommend focusing on search engine advertising. This is essentially a way to buy your way to the top of the search results. If done correctly this can be a very targeted approach because it focuses directly on people searching for what your company offers. This is also a great way to continually supplement the gaps in your overall search engine strategy.
  2. For a longer, more sustainable increase in traffic, search engine optimization (SEO) focuses on getting your website to rank in the top 10 results of search engines for the key phrases most related to what you offer. This can take up to 6 months to start seeing the full benefit and requires monthly ongoing effort.
  3. Social Media also takes time and ongoing effort but as you gain a following you will be rewarded with a group of active listeners that you can reach out to at any time. When engaged in any social media campaign you should see traffic spilling over to your website from each of the social media websites.
  4. Email marketing can provide a surge in website traffic with each email that is sent out. This method is a catch 22 because building a good list of interested email subscribers will usually be done through your website and social media efforts. Even so, it is worth starting these efforts early so that you can reap the benefits when you really need them.

Q: My company’s website is getting good traffic but we are not getting any leads, what is wrong?
A: Unfortunately, this requires a more detailed analysis to fully diagnose. There are a lot of principles involved in getting a website to do the job it was built to do… but here are a few questions to consider:

  1. Does your website make what your company does and how your company is different from the competition clear?
  2. Does your website make it easy for people to find what they are looking for?
  3. Does your website make a compelling case as to why someone should use your company’s services or buy a product from your company?
  4. Does your website ask visitors to take meaningful action (i.e. - request a free demo, buy now or sign up)?
  5. Do you pay attention to the analytics on your website to see what trends are occurring? What is your bounce rate (number of people who visit one page and leave)? How long are people visiting your website? What content are people visiting the most? There is a wealth of data here to help diagnose what is happening and why.

Q: What is more important: a website that converts or a website with great design?
A: Great design leads to credibility and credibility provides an opportunity for higher conversion rates. It is definitely possible to design a website and make it look great without any consideration for getting people to take action. It is more difficult to build a website that converts without using sound design principles. The ideal scenario is that you incorporate both into your website.

Michael Harker is the CEO of ThoughtLab and a founding partner in three other technology companies. He has been actively involved in helping organizations develop effective digital strategies for over 12 years.

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