Top 10 Tips for Running a Business Website

PushON | October 17th 2007

InternetDespite the web having been around for nearly forever now, it dismays me to constantly find that in general, UK business has very little understanding, or in fact interest, in having a website that adds real value to their business. It seems to me that lot of UK business simply takes the approach that having a website is enough. There is no ownership or measurement. Business websites are too often treated as the realm of mystics who bring revenue by ye internette magycke.

As we’re nice folk here at PushON, we’d thought we’d put together some fairly simple advice appropriate for business of any size that will go some way to making any website an owned and understood asset. Which is what it really should be.

Top Ten Tips

  1. The website should be owned by someone with authority in the organisation. It’s an important asset make someone appropriate responsible for it and responsible for understanding what it does. Even if the website isn’t doing anything much, at least you know that. From a baseline point you can then set:
    1. Clear and realistic objectives for the site
    2. Establish a target Return on Investment (ROI) for the website
  2. Set expectations for management of response from the website. If someone mails you from the website, how quickly should they expect a response from you? Tell them. Also make sure that within your organisation, the contact points are all owned and the owners understand the commitment they have to respond to the enquirer.
  3. The website should be properly built. There are voluntary standards for building websites set via the W3C. There are many very good reasons for having your website built properly which include:
    1. Search Engines like it. You have a much better chance of ranking well for search terms.
    2. You have an obligation as a business to ensure that your site is reasonably usable by people with various disabilities. If your site is built to standards you are most likely going to be close to achieving this. This avoids you getting sued at some point and the negative publicity that would bring.
    3. Your site will tend to be more usable. If it is more usable, more people are likely to be willing to transact with you.
  4. Ensure that the site is up to date. People like change and they like relevance. Search Engines are pretty much the same. If you visit a site one day and think that it looks pretty good you may well visit again in a couple of weeks. If that site is the same, perhaps you wont visit again for, say, 6 weeks. If the site is still the same then, when will you look at it again? How often do you want people to visit your site?
  5. Make sure that the brand look and feel is consistent across all your media. Your brochures should look good. Your signage should look good. So should your website. This ensures that the perceived value of your brand remains high.
  6. Set up a Business Blog. OK, so maybe it’s not for everyone but blogs are a superb means for speaking to an audience yet once they are set up and with a tiny bit of training they can be managed by non technical personnel very easily. IN fact, they can be managed by several personnel which gives a great insight into your business and also the culture of your business. It makes it personal and despite all this technology we have available, people like to do business with people they have a feel for.
  7. Promote your business website using your offline resources. Make sure your website address is on your printed material, letter heads, business cards posters etc. One often missed opportunity is the signature on emails. Make sure you have a standard signature set up and all the people in your organisation do as well.
  8. Give things away on your website. Make sure they are things that have value. the benefit is that people start seeing your site as resource and are likely to refer other people to your resources. If you it goes well, people who run other sites will link to you and that will go some way to enhancing your search engine ranking. We used this strategy with one of our clients, Contract Store who give away a free website privacy policy. It’s useful and gains them recommendations and links.You could give away:
    1. Free downloads
    2. Articles/knowledge
    3. Advice
    4. Check-lists
  9. Show your credentials. If you are a member of a professional body, put the logo on your site. Let people know that you care about standards and that will go some way to building the trust relationship.
  10. Be prepared to invest time and a some money in your online marketing. The Return on Investment over the medium term will certainly be worth having. There are many things you can do for nothing:
    1. Ask people nicely for links to your site if it is relevant
    2. Submit your site to DMOZ.
    3. Send well written press releases via online services like PR Web
    4. Make sure you pay attention to seasonality online and make offers when people are going to be most interested

There is so much that can be done for little online. All it takes is a little ownership and management. treat your website like any other valuable business resource.

If you get to the stage where you need some specialist professional assistance, we can help you realise your business objectives. Give us a call.

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