Before You Go Social, Ask Yourself First, “Is My Own House In Order?”

Posted: February 8, 2010 in 1, Advertising, Business News, Creative, Design, Marketing, Resources, Social Media, Trends

Five Must-Dos To Assure Web Success.

Launching and maintaining a successful website, regardless of your businesses’ size or budget, is not an easy undertaking. The technical, marketing and practical considerations alone are more than some people can wrap their brain around. At 1-Stop Design we bring our team and “Five Must-Dos for Successful Websites” to our clients in order to help them build their business on the web. Follow them and they’ll bring you success as well.

1) You must have a strategy

Our experience tells us that most folks want to go straight to design first, but a design that’s not informed by your business strategy is, at best, a nice electronic piece of fluff. We begin the process by outlining all of the things you want your website to do for you. Do you have major segments or markets to consider? Who is your audience?  Do you have divisions of products and services? Are you trying to sell, educate or create leads? To make your site as effective as possible, it’s essential that you focus your strategy and filter your content and design decisions based on strategic thinking. Looking to grow your business? Increase sales in one particular area? Establishing clear tangible goals and gearing your content towards those goals is essential before you head towards design.

2) Your design must reflect your strategy, brand and desired results

A great design is one that allows your strategy, brand and content all to be combined into visual language. A successful layout moves your prospects and customers effortlessly through the information to the results you determined in your strategy. Design creates the visual road-map that brings information to your clients and customers. It also provides assurance to your prospects and customers that they are in the right place on the right track.

3) You must develop under the hood code to keep it all running smoothly

Another key to a successful website is functionality. Successful websites integrate the right mix of plug-ins, communities, ratings, subscription, comments, customer portals, and membership only sections to increase engagement and usability.

Feature-rich add-ons extend the functionality of your site. Solid development keeps them working together seamlessly under the banner of your brand. Standards compliant (See WC3) code, search engine friendly code and an overall foundation that loads your site fast must be incorporated.

4) You must beta test your site first with users

No matter how brilliant your strategy, design and code appear to be, it’s the website visitor that determines success of failure. We utilize usability aids such as those offered by UserTesting.com or by creating A/B tests in Google Website Optimizer to test clients sites and see how people actually use and interact with the site.

5) Your marketing must go way beyond creative content

Your site goes live. Now how are you going to get prospects and customers to the site and keep them coming back for more of what they came for in the first place?

How do you plan to keep the content and search engine optimization plans moving forward? What type of content will you create? Personal landing pages? Blogs? YouTube videos? Podcasts? Funny? Serious? Informative? All three? How will you network for links? How will you measure/analyze traffic and user patterns? How will you capture lead data, drive more traffic, manage PPC, and create and test campaign specific landing pages? Who will do it? When? What are realistic expectations, timetables and objectives? What does your convergent media marketing (merging direct mail, print ads and other offline traditional tactics with those online)  campaign look like?

How will you determine ROI?

We possess the online, social and traditional marketing expertise to help you implement the answers to these and other important questions.  And we can deliver the skill sets that will turn the aforementioned, “must dos” into jobs well done. And help you get the results you want to build your business.

Remember. It’s a big world in there. Don’t go in there alone. With 1-Stop as your online marketing partner, you’ll find the surest routes to new business and more business with your current customers.

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