1. The home page of the website should display current content.
This means that the home page should not be static (not changing) it should be dynamic. Clients, prospects, vendors, whatever, should get used to seeing different information on the home page of the site when they visit.
By “content” I mean pictures, words, headings, titles, links, announcements, and social media updates (that, ideally would be live on the home page).
An example would be site that has various items on the home page that would change when new content of the proper type was added.
Employee Spotlight, for example. Write a new post in the Employee Spotlight blog category and it automatically goes to the home page of the site.
While this isn’t super-difficult to do manually, it’s much better for it to be automatic because inevitably, any manual work such as “I have to remember to put that new employee spotlight blog post on the home page” just doesn’t get done. The home page becomes static.
(click photo to visit site)
2. Hook visitors with useful, informative, and visually engaging information.
A good blog is heavy with pictures. The bigger the better. The more the better.
The site should be about design, inspiration, and ideas. It should create energy where there was none.
If the site is simply about passing on information, then it isn’t really getting the most value for you. Lots of interactive (clickable) pictures engage users.
Current sites use a good bit of pictures on all pages and these pictures, often coupled with bold headlines, draw the visitor to click. If you can get them to click around a few times they’ll start to build a feeling of “this website is cool” or “I love this website”… the SITE itself is what you want them to love, not your company. That will come as an automatic result.
3. The entire site should look current.
This is much like new cars. You can tell the difference between a brand new car built in 1990 style as compared to a brand new car built in 2010. Both might have the same great key features, but you can tell which is the newer model, even if both are at zero miles.
How much that matters to your target market is something you know better than I do. It matters a great deal to a young person who spends much time online. They will think your site is old. A person who doesn’t spend much time online won’t notice as much, but the site will be older faster if the look starts-off looking dated.
4. The site should work in all browsers.
I recently consulted on a site with a photographic background that worked (albeit stretched on my monitor) in IE and Firefox, but was a mess in Chrome and Safari (webkit browsers).
It’s pretty much impossible to make a photographic background work across the complete range of monitors and websites are constantly working in one browser and not another much to the endless frustration of web developers.
But for this reason, the photographic image background on the site should be either abandoned or set to a fixed size and location with a repeating texture or background color behind it.
In any case, a site has to look professional in all major browsers including mobile.
5. Consider your online presence as one thing.
It’s not good to think of your blog, website, facebook, twitter, and other online interactions as separate entities. It’s much better to think of them as various spokes on one wheel.
The website is the hub but the whole thing is “your online presence” and each leg is important. This isn’t my original concept, this is very widely adopted thinking as the image above demonstrates. Check a Google Images search for “website hub“.
As such, they all need to heavily integrate. This means that as soon as your active on twitter, that we add a “twitter widget” to the home page of the website that shows latest tweets.
This means that the facebook widget that is on the blog, should also be on the home page. It means that the facebook page should link to the blog and the home page and twitter, but not just with a simple link.
Doing this right involves active engagement such as doing a tweet about a facebook event and putting blog posts on facebook and all of it being on the home page of the website.
6. Provide “right now” interaction through lots of forms.
You really want a form on the home page of your website and as many of the other pages as possible. The idea is to make it seem obvious to the visitor that they are choosing not to contact you. Call to action. Call to action. Call to action. Just do it over and over again and you’ll get markedly increased feedback and that will result in conversions to sales.
I recently changed a client’s site who offers flight training. We went from a somewhat hard to find (but logically placed) form to having the same form on four or five of the flight school pages. Responses increased ten-fold immediately. Lots of ways to interact are critical. Social media sharing buttons are great for this as well.
It requires a multi-faceted plan of attack to gain an advantage in today’s web. The good news is that many industries are just getting going down these roads so leaders who get it right now will be in what my grandpa used to call “the catbird’s seat” a few years down the road when these things are no longer “optional” to success.
When we’re not busy with our growing portfolio of online publications, we help others accomplish these things with their online presence. Use the form above (it’s real, not just for show!) to contact us today if we can help you.