Website: What have you done for me lately?

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Ask not (only) what your website can do for you but what you can do for your website!

Any relationship has to have some give and take in order to be fulfilling and this is equally applicable to your relationship with your website. A relationship with a website? Really? Yes, I use the term deliberately because a website is quite different from many other elements of the marketing mix in that it is not static; it is a living, breathing entity that requires on-going love and attention. However, like anything that receives the time and TLC that it craves, it will pay it all back to you in spades in the form of relevant web traffic and client conversions.

Assuming you’re not the technical type and you are using a designer/web developer to create your website, there are many things that they should build into your site to make it work for you. It is however not good enough to assume that your involvement begins and ends with giving them a brief and paying your invoice. You need to engage with your site and ‘give something back’ and only then will you maximise your investment and really have a website that works for you.

The following tips can be used as a checklist for any website and I’ve broken it down, firstly into what you should demand from your site and secondly what you should be contributing to the process.

Gimme Some: What You Need Your Website To Do For YOU

1. Make sure your website is optimised for search engines. The most beautiful website is only of use to you if your prospects can find it!

2. Your site should feature optimised web copy. Choose keywords wisely, aiming for a keyword density of 3-5%. They should be relevant and specific to your business to try and beat the competition

3. Make content interesting and engaging and NOT enslaved to SEO: you should never compromise flow and message with blatant keyword cramming. Clearly communicate your benefits as visitors have very short attention spans!

4. Include a clear ‘call to action’ on every page. Understand what it is you want your prospects to do

5. Provide clear navigation. Allow your prospects to find their way around the site and locate the information they want quickly

6. Use images that reinforce and enhance your messages and break up the page. Use them in a functional way as well to aid SEO such as alt text and descriptions

7. Make it easy for your prospects to interact and engage with you. Feature enquiry forms, RSS feeds, e-news sign ups etc and clearly signpost them on the site. Data capture can also allow you to conduct permission based marketing

Everything I Do, I Do It For You: What YOU Need To Do For Your Website

8. Keep your content up to date, fresh and interesting through your blog and news pages. Update weekly if possible – neglecting your site once the initial page copy has been created is a big no no. Search engines love fresh content and so, in fact, do your visitors!

9. Share success via your site. Case studies, testimonials and quantitative results all send powerful messages to prospective customers

10. Offer free resources on your site, relevant to your industry. They will drive traffic and demonstrate your expertise and after all, everyone loves a freebie. Just give a taster though – you still want people to need your products and services!

11. Regularly review your page content to keep it fresh; blogs are not the only areas that benefit from being kept up to date!

12. Integrate your web content with social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to maximise exposure. People consume information in different ways. Some prefer smaller bites of information but you can still drive them through to your site if you whet their appetite sufficiently

Don’t panic! While your website does demand constant attention this is one relationship where you can actually get away with passing the job to someone else. If you don’t have the time or the skills to manage your site yourself you can outsource this to a professional who does – I’m always happy to be ‘the other woman’ in this type of relationship!

This blog post accompanies the #loveyourwebsite series posted on Twitter 14/02/11

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