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Is Your Website Doing Its Job?

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Your website is your most important marketing tool; it's where most of your prospective clients will form their first impressions of your company and find out about your business. But an effective website is way more than a digital brochure.

Your website has the potential to turn leads into customers – if it's doing its job properly. These features of an effective website will help you to assess whether you're making the most of your most important marketing tool.

Effective websites attract customers
While some of your online traffic will come from referrals, social media and existing customers, your website should also attract new audiences by featuring in online searches for queries related to your market.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of identifying the key words or phrases that relate to your business and ensuring that your website ranks well for those by doing things like;
• creating content that features your keywords and related terms,
• including these keywords in strategic places like page URLs and descriptions, image names and headings, and
• stimulating engagement and building a network of links to your website pages. Search engines use engagement and link information to gauge the value of your content – if other popular, relevant websites link to your website then they assume that your content is of a high quality.

Effective websites deliver the info that your visitors are looking for
Understanding your target market and their user journey will help you figure out whether you've got the right content on your website and whether your site architecture makes that content easy to discover.

Create a list of the different types of visitors you're targeting and, for each persona, think about their characteristics, motivations and frustrations and how these might influence what content they're likely to be interested in. Then put yourself in their shoes and see how easy (or difficult) it is to find this information on your website.

Effective websites are engaging
Companies with engaging websites don't only provide good content – they make it easy to interact with their content by;
• keeping their website design clean, with a consistent visual approach,
• writing in plain and simple English that is easy to read and understand,
• employing responsive design so that the content layout adapts to suit the device you're using and
ensuring that pages load quickly.

Effective websites drive action
Like any marketing or sales activity, your website should drive visitors to a specific action that is tied to your goals. Your journey mapping and page design should ideally be structured around call-to-actions which encourage visitors to do things like;
• subscribing to your newsletter,
• following your company on social media,
• downloading or sharing your content,
• submitting an enquiry or contact request or
• placing an order.

Turning your website into an effective sales tool doesn't necessarily require a total redesign – often a few tweaks can have a big impact. If you want to get a better understanding of your website's traffic, where visitors are coming from and how they're engaging with your content, Google Analytics provides a freemium service that tracks and reports website traffic that's easy to implement and use.

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