Web Strategies For Small Business Owners In 2007
The year 2007 is round the corner and companies are getting ready to implement new strategies for their businesses. If your website is not working to support your business in terms of its sales, lead generation, brand building efforts etc, it’s still not too late to create a strategy that supports and facilitates your short, medium and long-term business objectives.
1. Redefine your web strategy
A web-strategy should be simple and focused. For example, if you are a small service based organization, your website should be able to generate leads, provide online tools, and promote you as an expert in your industry. If you are a retailer, you should be able to sell your products online or at least make a deep and active connection with your regular customers.
2. Stand out as an Expert
In spite of limited budgets you can still make your company / brand the most admirable one. Standing out as a customer-centric company requires you to provide your customers with content / information which will help them with their problems related to your product. Such content and information will go a long way in building loyalty towards your company. Good, relevant, and focused content is information in the form of articles, whitepapers, research reports and web-based tools, which is built closely around the information-requirements of your customers.
Here is an example to further clarify the concept; Let’s assume that you are an insurance agent, what would be expert content for your website? Content educating your customers and potential customers about how insurance policies work, tools and self assessment calculators, an expert blog etc. It’s important to understand that once you start providing such content regularly, you will see a large number of people coming back to your site, and also referring your company to others.
3. Open up communications
Customer Centric companies are good listeners. The web being a very interactive medium makes it easier for you and the customers to communicate. You should provide your customers the tools to communicate with you by giving contact forms, feedback forms, forums (moderated) etc. Also you can start a corporate blog, an e-newsletter, or a moderated forum to create a two-way communication with your customer base.
4. Apply the power of Search Engine Optimization
If you are still not doing it, you are missing out big time! Search engine optimization, popularly known as SEO, is about optimizing your website in a way so that it appears in the top search results when people make search queries in popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN etc. Anyone can learn search engine optimization but if the lack of time and interest are what’s holding you back, hire a consultant or a SEO company with a successful track record.
5. Earn Revenues from Your Website
You would be pleasantly surprised to know that everyone with a website can earn revenues from it. You can become a contextual publisher (AdSense, YPN etc), become an affiliate, or simply set up your own store and sell online. With e-commerce revenues totaling up to billions of dollars; why not take a small meaningful share of the chunk? If you have a service or product you can sell online, don’t stay back.
6. Design and Visual Appeal – It Counts!
Your website needs to look visually appealing and there are no two opinions on that universally. Visually appealing however can be a matter of personal tastes, however following are some industry standard best practices.
o Avoid Splash pages. Splash pages are actually a hindrance and increase the number of clicks and time to reach your homepage.
o With a large number of internet population now switching to Mozilla browsers (FireFox), make sure your website is cross-browser compatible.
o With the various screen resolutions available, (600 x 800, 1024 x 768 etc) always check if your website looks acceptable in all popular screen resolutions. Also check how your website appears in hand held devices such as mobile phones, PDA’s etc.
o Use flash and other rich media sparingly as users with low speed internet connections may have difficulty viewing them.
o Meticulously focus on the design consistency. The colors, layout, and buttons, should be consistent across the site.