Need a new website that will really work – 2

Q: We’re a software consultancy with three main product solution areas.

Our old website is very dated now and we desperately need a new one.

The new website has to

look great to our big company and public authority customers
do well in search
be suitable for advertising if we wish
be updateable
have lots of impact
be easy to navigate

We’d like a site that does everything and will be a platform for the future of the company. We’d like a website that really works.

What suggestions can you offer?

Marketing Manager
Software company
Brighton

A: Continued from Part 1

Search Rankings

To win great search rankings I’d suggest an additional microsite, an Info Area where you could publish lots of tech articles or stories or anything that your customers will be directly interested in.

But make this a clearly separate microsite so it doesn’t get in the way of your main product solution microsites and confuse the customer.

An Info area works works like this. Identify a keyword you’d like to win higher rankings with. Now write a few pages around this keyword topic that you think your customers will enjoy reading. Publish these pages in your Info Area. This will improve your rankings. If it doesn’t improve your rankings enough, then write more pages until it does. Google rewards good pages so write them.

Updating

Last but not least is updating.

To update you need a software called a CMS (Content Management System).

A CMS allows users to quickly and easily update a website so you can change or add to it virtually on demand.

Again, not all CMS’ are the same. I recommend Adobe Contribute. It costs more but it’s more flexible and is easier to use. Worth the small extra cost over free CMS’ such as Joomla.

One way to tell if your CMS is good enough is to ask if it’ll allow you to make small changes in the menu structure such as the left hand side sidebar menus that appear in almost every site.

If the salesperson replies with “why do you want to do that?”, then show them the door. You need flexibility and that includes some ability to make small menu adjustments, for example to push a new promotion or incentive, or start a new seminar or workshop, or add a small but interesting new product or angle to a solution.

You’re allowed to “not know” what you might want your website to conceivably do. But you’re not allowed to build in inflexibility so you can’t everr do what you “don’t know” (sorry if this reads awkwardly 🙂

You’ll quickly discover that everything that makes websites better costs more. If you don’t then find new web advisers!

When you compare quotes for your new website, look closely at what ingredients your cake is being baked with. If you don’t understand, ask – and keep asking.

It’s a given that your site need to be outstanding as the rewards for outstanding website performance are significant. So expect to pay more for outstanding results.

Good luck with the challenge of developing your new website, one that really works.

© Studio Rossiter

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