I constantly see ads on television for Web.com. They promise affordable websites at a fraction of the cost of an agency. They even have the ecstatic business owner who says, “I contacted a web design agency and they wanted to charge me a fortune!” Web.com is supposed to help you circumvent those exorbitant costs.
Sounds like a great deal—right?
“Web design” as we know it is dead. You heard it here first, folks. The entire concept of building a website and letting it sit out there on the Web for all to consume is dead.
Today, your website has to be a living, breathing organism. And as such, it will require continuous care, monitoring, updating, and support.
The old school method was simple.
Every 2 years or so, your company may engage with a web designer to give your website a coat of fresh paint.
You’ll come up with a concept as to how this new site should look or act based on your competitors. You’ll analyze their bells and whistles, and your web designer will work to come up with something that matches.
Then you’ll let it sit for a couple of years while you focus on other priorities until it’s time start the process all over again.
Today, we know better.
Studying competitors is somewhat helpful, but today, a web design project has to focus on goals, objectives, and results. And instead of being done in one shot, it should be consistently maintained, adjusted, and managed to ensure it’s actually accomplishing those goals.
So what should your number one objective be? It should be the creation of a lead management ecosystem that identifies, converts, and nurtures leads into sales.
How is this accomplished? By creating a system with a variety of technologies and mediums, which should be combined with qualified help to keep those pieces running in tandem.
The first part of your new online presence does indeed start with your website. Every online ecosystem must have a destination for users to land on. But what your website really needs to be is a source of information, a home for your entire enterprise that is optimized to convert anonymous users into marketable leads.
This means a website isn’t just designed anymore.
It is built on a strategy that starts with the discovery of your core buyers, developing them into personas, and then focusing content creation around capturing their attention.
As you develop your website, you must carefully consider who your customers are. What are their behaviors and motivations? And what content is of most value to them? Without this step being taken, a website redesign can be a lost cause.
From there, two important pieces have to be integrated into your ecosystem. Contact relationship management (CRM) tools and marketing automation. These systems are the secret sauce to a well-rounded, marketing-driven Web presence.
What do these systems do?
They help you build, organize, segment, and manage lists of leads and customers. They provide real-time insight that previous analytics tools were unable to accomplish. In combination with a conversion-centric website, these tools create powerful, automated frameworks to further accomplish your marketing goals and objectives.
How do you develop an online ecosystem? Think back to your buyer personas in conjunction with your business’s needs and overall structure. After all, your personas are the heartbeat of your online ecosystem. Think about what tools will enable you to reach them best while also benefiting your business’s digital goals.
The strategy that goes into planning a truly successful website may be best calculated by speaking to web experts who do this type of planning every day.
If you choose to boldly plan the strategy of your ecosystem on your own, there are a few factors that need to be contemplated. How will you manage the content that will be created? What type of CMS will be best suited for your needs? Who will do the content creation? Who will monitor your website’s analytics?
It takes commitment, not just a one-off project.
As mentioned earlier, the old model of building your website and letting it sit is no longer effective in today’s highly digital world. If you want to create the type of business that has real potential for growth, your online ecosystem will need to be refined on a monthly basis—at a minimum. Because it’s a living organism, you must continue to fuel it with quality content, check if your personas are biting, and then adjust if they aren’t.
It’s no longer about just designing your website so it looks aesthetically pleasing. Now it’s about designing an entire system that brings in new business from places you may never have had the opportunity to grow from previously.
Your website should be your number one sales tool. It should sell your product or service before your customer picks up the phone or places an order. The route to success is to give your website the attention it deserves or, at the very least, leave it to the professionals.