By James Pennington
At a recent seminar with the Chartered Institute of Marketing at UK's Warwick University, National B2B Centre consultant James Pennington presented some pointers on how to make your website a more effective marketing mechanism.
First things first - plan your website
So many people sit down and start working on their website, then they stop and never get started again, because they haven't thought about what they are trying to do. Your website is another sales medium - understand your proposition & unique selling point (USP) and have a strategy for using the web. These resources can help:
Characteristics of effective websites
When it comes to designing your website or drawing up a spec for your design team or agency, it can help to think first about what it's going to say and how it's going to support your web strategy:
Define what each page will say
Another good principle to apply is that if you can't think of a reason to have a page on your site, it shouldn't be there. Every page should have a purpose and call to action. To help apply this discipline, the NB2BC Website Planning Workbook, includes a page definition template that sets out for each page:
Drive traffic to your website
Search engine optimization (SEO) can help you build traffic to your site. There is no magic to SEO, it's based on simple principles that you can implement while you're developing the content and design for your site. Some of the work you do in the planning phase will already help you.
Web search engines examine each page's title, content and links. The art of SEO is to construct each page so it will be found by sites such as Google and Yahoo! for specific phrases. One of our clients who based his SEO strategy around the phrase "plastics west midlands" doubled his revenue in three years, mainly through search-engine friendly directories such as DMOZ.
The NB2BC search engine optimization tool (free registration required) can analyze the current performance of your website and where it ranks in popular search engines and give you a starting point for how you can make your website more search engine friendly. The following Word resources can help you undertake a more thorough, step-by-step SEO process:
Review and improve how your site is performing
If you build it, they may come... but do not just leave your site to fade away through neglect. There are numerous free tools such as those at Google webmaster central that can help you analyze site's traffic, design, coding and accessibility. Use them to see how the site is performing and to devise improvements that will make it better. Recent articles looked in more detail at SEO on zero budget, and Using Google services such as Google Analytics. Further links and tools are listed on the NB2BC website and search resources page.
For more information on the National B2B Centre please click here.
(Editor's note: Online registration is required to gain access to the NB2BC materials, but there are no other conditions or costs.)
This article first appeared on our sister site, AccountingWEB.co.uk