Business has changed, and the internet is a constantly changing place. While it’s important to have your Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media spaces, the core of any digital strategy is a website that you own.
One of the most cost effective and essential tools that any business can have is a blog, an effective place for your business to communicate to your customers.
There are many different platforms out there, from Drupal and Joomla, to Squarespace and WordPress. Here at NorthIQ, we lean towards WordPress because it is easy to implement, and quick to develop for, but any tool that lets you quickly post to a website domain that you own, and which will allow you to get your content back out of it later is a great choice.
No matter what you choose, there are some things you should consider when building your home on the internet.
Your Home Page
An effective home page answers “The Four W’s”
- Who are you? – What’s the company’s name and brand
- What do you do? – What are your primary services?
- Where are you? – Where are you located, although that’s not as important for some service based businesses, if you’re selling a product or a service that requires in-person consultation, this is important.
- Why are you the right choice? – What is it about what you do that is unique? What value do you provide that others don’t?
Once you’ve answered the four W’s, you also need to tell your viewer what they should do next. Should they contact you? Should they get on your mailing list? What is the one simple call to action that would benefit them the most?
How Can Someone Find More About You?
You need some sort of about us content. This page is an excellent place to restate Who, What, Where, Why in a different way. You can give more information about what makes you unique, give information about your companies values and process.
About Us is the place where you let your potential customer build trust with your brand.
Where is Your Contact Information
You will need some sort of contact page. This should have as many ways to contact you as possible. Remember the different use-cases for people who would need to contact you. There’s prospects, but current customers could be looking for your contact information as well.
- Email address or form
- Physical mailing address
- Social Media contacts (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all have direct messaging options).
I don’t generally put my email address on a website because Spambots can find it easily. I use a form which lets someone quickly send me an email.
Link to your Social Media Sites
While your website is your base, you should also link to all of your social media sites. I generally keep these in my footer, and on my Contact Us page.
Things to remember about your site.
Photos Need Descriptions
Every picture you put on your website should have some sort of caption and description. This makes pictures crawl-able by search engines, and is important for accessibility standards.
Keep Writing for the Web rules in mind
We’ve written previously about the need to create scannable text that is easy to consume on the web. Use active voice, establish your own voice, use billboard design, use plain language, and omit needless words.
NorthIQ – Simple Rules for Writing on the Web
Make it Yours
You’ll need to apply your own unique spin that makes it readily apparent that this is your site. We’ve decided to add hand-drawn pictures to our posts. They take more time, but they add a lot of style to the site.
We’ve also made a concerted effort to write in an informal, friendly style. This goes for every platform that we post to. We keep this “brand” consistent across social media, our blog, and anything we write for clients.
There’s an excellent post on this subject By Regina – Creating a Style Guide for Your Blog
How Are You Generating Leads?
A website isn’t about passively sitting there, a good website is always generating leads. One of our clients converts 10% of their traffic every week to leads from a simple form that’s on every page.
We offer a high value piece of content – our NorthIQ Smarter Business Guide, which we use to get people invested in our mailing list.
We send out a monthly update that engages our list, and keeps us top of mind.
Make Sure You’re Engaging Your Social Channels
Don’t just build a bunch of social media profiles, make sure that you’re regularly posting to them. Cross post your blog posts. Ask questions, engage in conversations, pop up in unexpected places. Every now and then I post a picture of a goat, why? Because it’s memorable. Also, goats are awesome.
Your website is the anchor for all of your other online efforts. It’s an asset you own, and you need to make sure that it reflects your brand through consistently applying your style to everything you do.
Build an effective home page, make sure there’s about us and contact information easily accessible. Link to your social media sites, and keep our general rules for writing on the web in mind.
Finally, make sure you have a lead generating strategy, and that you are engaging your leads over time.
Have you downloaded the NorthIQ Smarter Business Guide, it will help you answer four questions to make your business smarter, and three solutions every business needs.
This is the backbone to the onboarding document we send our clients, and to date every one of them has said it has helped them focus on what’s important.
We’re giving it away FREE! Plus, you’ll get monthly updates with new content from our blog. Get the guide today!
Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.