The Internet is arguably the largest revolution in communications since the invention of the printing press, but most companies use it as nothing more than a place to host the equivalent of an online brochure. As Internet users become more and more reliant on the Internet as a medium for communication, collaboration and interaction, there are big rewards to be had by companies that can develop websites that offer more than a brochure. Here are three tips the Market Creation Group uses to give our clients an edge online.
1. Define Your Goals Before Building Your Website
Possible goals include creating a forum for two-way conversations with existing and prospective customers, online sales or lead generation. Even the traditional role of a website as an educational tool can be improved by integrating rich online media and interactive demonstrations.
2. Understand Your Website User Flow
When creating a site map, outline all your web pages, then go a step further by tracing the paths that visitors are likely to take through your website. By mapping user flow, you can see which pages your clients will visit and add appropriate links and calls to action on the right pages to lead visitors down the paths you want them to follow.
3. Make Your Website a Community Affair
Giving visitors opportunities to interact with your business online in meaningful ways will improve your site’s search engine rankings, the number of visitors your site gets and the number of loyal customers your business generates.
So how do you give your audience the opportunity to interact with your company through your website? Here are a few suggestions to get the old neurons firing:
• Create a wiki that allows current customers to contribute ideas on new technologies
• Post customer comments from your social networks on your website
• Give your customers the opportunity to contribute to your company blog
• Challenge your competitors to an open forum debate that appears on each company’s blog and invite customers to judge or moderate