Thursday 13 June 2013

Make Your Website Work

The primary reason why any company embarks on building a website should be to help it achieve its business goals. So why are many entrepreneurs, companies and large corporations building websites more-or-less for the sheer sake of just owning a website?
When you build your website using a web developer that has little or no knowledge of optimization or online marketing, and ask him to simply build you the most attractive looking website, obviously you are just trying to get a website merely for the sake of owning a website for your business!
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am not in anyway implying that it is a terrible thing to set up a corporate website for the sake of aesthetics and perhaps pride.
No, that’s not my point at all. 
In fact, it is indeed a good thing to have a website you can always refer your clients or customers to, where they can check out a branch of your business that is close to them. Or you can always warn your clients and customers to look at your site for contact information of your authorized dealers and salespeople, so that they don’t get scammed by crooks claiming to represent your brand.
So I will be the first to tell you that owning a website serves so many useful functions all at once. But what I really want to tell you is that if you are not using your website as a major marketing instrument; or as a means to increase your sales and improve your brand, then you are obviously underutilizing your website’s potential.
Now building a website that maximizes your brand for gains in business would require not just the services of a web developer or web design company. It would require the services of one or more Internet Marketing professionals as well. As a matter of fact, depending on the level of competition in your field, you would most likely need to solicit the services of this internet marketing professional AHEAD of the web designer.

Well because many web designers are not even aware of some of the technicalities and nuances involved in building a website that woos the appreciation of your brand’s target market and commands the attention of its potential markets.
In fact, there are many web designers today (especially in Nigeria) who don’t even realize that the websites they are building today, were structurally outdated several years ago. Therefore if you hired a web designer who doesn’t even realize that things have significantly improved in his own business, how would you if the website he builds for you is good enough to help you maximize YOUR own business?
This is why a professional Internet marketing consultant who understands Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will be needful to you to help you ensure that you have the RIGHT web designer.
This SEO professional could even hire, or at least interview the web designer for you. Because it is much more cost effective for you to have your website built from scratch complying with the current standards of structural quality, than for you to go through a much more expensive process of having to tear down and rebuild some of its pages later on.
Apart from having a structurally high-quality website that is very friendly to the user, you also need it to contain strategic information that boosts your marketing and complies with Google’s standards.
Search Engine Marketing may be the most important thing for companies that hope to do business successfully in the Nigeria of the very near future. It is not exactly the same thing as the SEO (search engine optimization) I mentioned earlier, but it definitely entails it. And without going into too much academics, Search Engine Marketing or SEM gives you the ability to meet your potential clients one step after they think about the services you are rendering or the products you are selling.
Wouldn’t you, Mr 3D printer, love the idea that when strangers in Abuja search Google for “3D Printing in Nigeria”, they come up with your company website in Lagos? Isn’t that more target oriented than merely buying a center-spread, full-colour advertisement in a glossy magazine that sells nationwide?
Or you, Miss Events Planner? I bet you would love the opportunity to have your website listed among those that an excitable, soon-to-be bride would see when she searches Google for “elegant wedding planners in Lagos”; wouldn’t you?
Well of course you would!
This is where SEM/SEO professionals come in very handy indeed.
The last major area I wish to look at for now, is the wonderful and almost mystical land of SEO Copywriters and Professional Bloggers. In this land you have the professionals who are not just gifted writers or communicators to people. They are experienced in understanding the rules and penalties against those who try to deceive the users who search the internet’s search engines, and they also understand the principles that govern how the search engines themselves operate. Such principles that any ordinary gifted writer may not consider while writing. The truth is that there is a slight difference between a talented writer who writes to entertain or inform people, and one who writes for the purpose of entertaining, informing and cleverly persuading people to take a particular action that is desirable for you, the owner of the website. Such copywriters are quite different from your traditional advertising copywriters, even though some of them (myself included) may have that background. These SEO Copywriters are more conscious of how much the reader would be satisfied by the message as well as whether or not the message is potent enough to draw the attention of a casual web surfer to the message, to keep the surfer for longer periods in the website, to nudge the reader into taking some kind of action (like Subscribe to the site or purchase an item on the site), and also to encourage the surfer to re-visit the site on a future date.
Professional bloggers are also very interesting cases. The truth is that almost anyone can be a blogger.  And if he is lucky enough to have a timely & catchy topic to share with the world, as far as possibilities go, well then anyone could have a popular blog.
But a professional blogger does indeed