Having an internet presence is essential in this business environment. As a business owner, you must have a web presence. But when you are developing that web presence you have many decisions to make. Here are some of the things you need to consider:
- What is the goal of my website: Is it to make money?; Is it to create an online brochure?; Do I want it to be interactive?
- How much control do I want of my site? Do I want to pay someone to update the site regularly? Do I have regular content to update? Do I have the resources to update my site? Do I want to interact with my customers and prospects on the site?
- What do I want the site to look like? What are the branding colors of my company? Can my logo be included on the site?
- What other online media do I plan to use with my company? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, other social media? How will my site easily interact with these other online media sources.
When you are putting together your web presence you need to consider all of these things, and probably a few more too.
So, let’s look at each more closely:
What is the goal of my website: Is it to make money?; Is it to create an online brochure?; Do I want it to be interactive?
There are several different types of websites that you can use. The most common is a branding site, like this site. It has information about the company, the leaders, the team etc. It also includes info about the products and services and they may be for sale on the site. There are also store fronts that are online that offer a wide array of products or services and that is the site’s main function. The two other sites that I use are sales pages and squeeze pages. To see one of my sales pages you can look at:
http://www.entrepreneursvipcoaching.com This page talks solely about my coaching program and the components that are included with it. It has one purpose — to sell coaching.
http://www.strugglingsmallbusiness.com is one of my squeeze pages. It has one purpose and that is list building. If I am working to build my list then I work to drive my web traffic to this site and then once someone has signed up on my list I can send them links to my branding site or my sales page. But when I pay for traffic, I want information that I can use again and again to build a relationship.
As you build your web presence you might decide to use muliple sites as well.
How much control do I want of my site? Do I want to pay someone to update the site regularly? Do I have regular content to update? Do I have the resources to update my site? Do I want to interact with my customers and prospects on the site?
As you can see from my site. I like to have lots of control. I do work with outside vendors to customize the site, create the look and feel of the site. I also use Virtual Assistants to add content, articles and set up services or products that are for sale on the site. But I do maintain quite a bit of control and I know how my site works. Part of this is largely due to it now be hosted on a WordPress Blog Platform. Yes, this site is a blog. And, many of my other sites are moving in that direction as well. I encourage people to look closely at WordPress because it gives you so much control, AND, you WANT to be able to add content to your site regularly. Content and information is what makes a site work really well. Heck, that’s why you are here! You are reading my “content”, my “information”. You are deciding if you like me, if you think I know anything. When a site is built and you don’t add new content to the site, then it becomes stale. There is little reason for visitors to return to your site. Word Press allows you to control the content, keep it fresh and more (which I will get into in a minute!).
The other aspects of this question are do you have content? I would challenge that you do. You have information that you can share with your prospects that will aid in building your business relationship. Resources, do you have the time and energy to add the content yourself, or do you have the resources to pay someone to add the content? These are both critical questions. You need to answer these for yourself. And, keep in mind that it might change.
What do I want the site to look like? What are the branding colors of my company? Can my logo be included on the site?
Yes, your site should help to brand your company. On this site, we are still working on the branding pieces. But overall, the branding of the site does fit with my company brand — our colors are orange and red/maroon. I use a compass as my logo. Do you see those colors here? The logo here? When putting your site together you will want to look at those pieces. I also have my compass logo in the header. With Word Press you are able to buy themes that are customizable and you are able to find themes in the free theme directory that are customizable. Many people become concerned with using a template or in the world of blogs a theme, that other people might be using.
I believe that if you customize the theme to be yours, then using a pre-built theme or template is cost effective and still accomplishes your goals. I use a customizable theme that is available in the word press directory.
What other online media do I plan to use with my company? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, other social media? How will my site easily interact with these other online media sources.
This is the biggest reason that I use Word Press for my site. It is interactive. I can easily connect my site with Facebook, Twitter and I can set up so that you too can “tweet” my posts or “ping” them or send to an array of social book marking sites. I receive traffic back to my site from my posts on these other sites. A blog also allows multiple types of “Plugins” that give it different functionality. And, allows visitors to subscribe, comment and be part of the site. For me, these are all advantages that my typcial website did not provide. Yes, I had a blog on my site, but now my whole site IS a blog. That means when I update a page, it “tweets”, and when I add a post, it “tweets”. Each of these strategies add to my exposure on the web, and that is what I want!
Web Presence is essential. It is the HOW that you must decide on as a business owner. The blog format offers you some versatility that a typical website doesn’t. And, it offers you a Web 2.0 platform that is interactive and can be co-creative. Your priority is to be on top of creating a powerful web presence that actually adds to your business.