Websites that sell


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Websites that sell

  3. 3. © 2013 Todaymade | page 3TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLThe Secrets Of Websites That SellThree Strategies For Planning Your WebsiteWhy Search Is The Most Important ToolPut Your Website In Their PocketTaking Control Of Your Website ContentCreating Killer Website ContentUse Social Media To Build TrafficUsing Your Website to Generate New LeadsThe Website of the Future Is A Mobile AppCONTENTS
  4. 4. © 2013 Todaymade | page 4TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLTHREE STRATEGIES FOR PLANNINGYOUR WEBSITEThe most effective websites happen long before any code isever written. Effective planning of our website will save us somefrustration in the long run. There are three things to consider thatwill help us understand how our website will be used, and whowill be using it.KNOW THE USERThe first and probably least understood step in planning awebsite is to simply know the customer. Our website is for ourcustomers, not us, yet we often forget to consider them when webegin creating our website.A good website always begins with simple customer profiles.These document the individual nature of our customers, and helpus answer simple questions.Creating profiles of your current customers will help youunderstand your broad customer base.
  5. 5. © 2013 Todaymade | page 5TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLThese customer profile questions should answer:• Who is going to be using our site?• What are they going to do once they get there?• What will they be looking for? How can we help them findit?In creating these profiles, we need to be honest with ourselveswhile still being realistic. That is, we may or may not like all ofthe answers to those questions because we might have otherideas in mind for our site, but the needs of our customers mustcome before our pet projects on our website.Profiling our customers might be as simple as documentingour current customers. Consider what we know about thosewe already work with and keep them in mind as we plan ourwebsite. Using actual customers gets rid of the guessing gamethat often leads to false assumptions.UNDERSTAND THE DELIVERYThe second thing that we need to do is understand our deliverymethod. This encompasses the physical delivery of our websiteas well as the emotional delivery.Our customers have access to a wide variety of technology. Weneed to consider what device or method our customer will use toaccess our website. Are we ready to offer our site to anyone onany platform? Mobile and tablet computing is a growing rapidlyand businesses can no longer ignore what their website looks
  6. 6. © 2013 Todaymade | page 6TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLAs you build trust with your customers, give them the chance todo something with that trust, like signing up for your email on these new platforms. We need to reach our customerswhere they are, and reduce any barriers to using our site.We also need to understand our customer’s state of mind whenthey visit our website. Are they looking to make a purchase, orare they looking to complete a task? Understanding what theirmotivation is helps us plan our site to meet all the needs of ourcustomer.MAKE LONG-TERM CONNECTIONSSometimes we forget to plan for the long haul. Whether it’sa simple oversight or a lack of optimism about our website’schances on the Internet, it’s an unfortunate mistake. We needto plan on being around a long time, and making long-termconnections. Online marketing is all about building trust, andtrust comes from long-term relationships that can be built usingemail marketing or even social media.
  7. 7. © 2013 Todaymade | page 7TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLWhen we don’t plan for these long-term connections up front,we might consider taking actions that limit or hurt the potentialfor the long term. Burning bridges, intentionally or not, forcesus into a short-term corner. Up-front planning for the long-term isnecessary.PULLING IT ALL TOGETHERToo often, we start planning our website by asking ourselveswhat we want. Unfortunately, even if we mean well, it is thewrong approach. Websites are to be user-centric, meaning thatthey put the customer first. What do they want? What do theyneed? This approach is the difference between just anotherwebsite and a real website that works.Keep your customers close, and their wants and needs evencloser.
  8. 8. © 2013 Todaymade | page 8TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLWHY SEARCH IS THE MOSTIMPORTANT TOOL FOR NEWBUSINESSSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) has become a kind ofmythical beast, and seems too daunting to even be botheredwith. Nevertheless, SEO has unequivocal value when we realizethat Google, and not our own website, is our homepage.When our customers search for our company or products, whatdo they see first? They see the results from the search engine.Rarely do people head on over to our website first; a searchengine like Google is usually the first stop.UNDERSTANDING PAGERANKOne of the things that we must understand about Google issomething called PageRank.PageRank is a number between 0 and 10 that is assigned byGoogle’s search robot. This number attempts to determine theoverall quality of our website. The higher our PageRank score,the more likely we are show up in search results.GOOD PAGE STRUCTUREOne of the major influences of PageRank is website structure.This refers to how the pages of a website are built, the HTMLcode, the navigational structure, and so forth. Search engines,including Google, offer webmasters help to ensure peak searchengine performance. A good web developer will know exactlywhat should be done to maximize SEO in this regard.There are, however, a few things that we can do ourselves.
  9. 9. © 2013 Todaymade | page 9TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELL1. See Our Two AudiencesRemember that our website content serves two audiences. First,we need to serve our own human audience by providing thecontent and information that they need. Second, we need toprovide for search engines like Google. Meeting the needsof both of these audiences usually means longer copy that ishelpful, and written in a conversational way.2. Incorporate Important KeywordsThe next thing that we can do is incorporate Important Keywordsinto our text. To do this, simply develop a list of importantwords and terms that we want people to find us for and startincorporating them into our content. Think about the terms ourcustomers typically use. How can we naturally incorporate theminto the copy of our website?Google can provide you with direction on what words should beused when creating your content.
  10. 10. © 2013 Todaymade | page 10TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELL3. Update Our Website OftenAll search engines love to see new content being added to oursite on a regular basis. These engines are always combingthe web to find and index any changes a website makes. Themore often we update our site, the more often search engineslike Google visit. The more often they visit, the more likely ourPageRank will improve.4. Think InboundGreat SEO really requires a mindshift. We need to thinkdifferently about the information on our site. The term ‘Inbound’refers specifically to traffic that comes to our site from searchengines and social networks. This is the type of traffic thatcan provide a major influence on PageRank, and is importantfor everyone. Finding ways to increase this inbound trafficpropagates more inbound traffic.Google Analytics provides you with stats on how well yourwebsite is performing, and where your inbound traffic is.
  11. 11. © 2013 Todaymade | page 11TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLHistory tells us that most businesses don’t pay much attentionto their Google ranking. This can be used to our advantage.The company that begins seeing both audiences and startsbuilding inbound traffic using good page structure and importantkeywords will quickly rise to the top of the Google pile.Remember, Google is our new homepage - be sure to make itcount.Google is your new homepage. Most people will find your sitethrough search, rather than typing in your site’s address directly.
  12. 12. © 2013 Todaymade | page 12TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLPUT YOUR WEBSITE IN THEIRPOCKETWe might wonder about needing a mobile website. Is it reallyall that important? The truth is: yes. In 2010, a Quantcast studyshowed that mobile web users more than doubled in a matter ofone year. That’s 110 percent annual growth! In fact, the researchis showing that mobile website browsing will likely surpasstraditional browsing on the computer by the year 2014.Let’s think of our own habits, and how we use our ownsmartphones. With the extreme popularity of smartphones likeiPhones and Android devices, not to mention iPads and Tablets,many of our customers now have very powerful computers withthem at all times. It’s only natural that they’d use them.The iPhone is the new phone book, personal assistant, shoppingcoordinator, and Internet surfing device all-in-one. Let’s not forgetsocial networking on these same mobile devices. Millions ofpeople share and browse social networks on their phones. Aslinks to our site are shared across those networks, we can besure that a significant portion of visitors will be coming frommobile devices as they click through these links.If we don’t have a mobile presence, it won’t be long before wecease to exist for our customer as they go about day-to-day life.AREN’T MOBILE WEBSITES CLUNKY ANDJUNKY?Many of us tend to think of mobile websites as ugly text-basedsites that aren’t fun to use. Or, as website managers, we seethem as a huge chore, another website to update and maintainalongside the “regular” website. Neither of these things have tobe the case anymore.
  13. 13. © 2013 Todaymade | page 13TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLUsing responsive web technology, we can build a singlepowerful website that works seamlessly on a variety of screensizes. No matter what device you use - smartphone, tablet, ora laptop - the content on the site will automatically reorganizeto suit the appropriate screen size. This seamless adaptationensures a similar user experience across all platforms, andallows for single website management instead of multiplewebsites.Using responsive web technology means your website will lookgood and be fully functional on any device or screen size.
  14. 14. © 2013 Todaymade | page 14TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLThis is the way of the future. As users demand a more mobile-friendly experience, brands need to deliver on a high qualityoption that is available instantly from the user’s pocket.PLANNING FOR MOBILEThe technology is certainly here when it comes to mobilewebsites. What about the experience?We know that mobile web users tend to have very differentgoals from the traditional web browser. For example, theaverage mobile surfing session lasts less than five minutes.Mobile visitors have specific goals and limitations, so we need toprovide for them.Again, before we dive into preparing our mobile site, weshould know what our customer wants from a mobile websiteexperience.• What do they need access to on the go?• What gets in the way?• How can we help them find what they need on our site?CONCLUSIONHabits and customers are constantly changing. To build anindividual website for each device and screen is expensiveand time consuming. A responsive site adapts, as needed, toaccommodate the experience of many under one umbrella ofmaintenance. As the power of marketing moves online, mobileusability will become more and more important.Consider our own habits. Are we more reliant on our mobiledevice? Our customers are just like us.
  15. 15. © 2013 Todaymade | page 15TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLTAKING CONTROL OF YOURWEBSITE CONTENTManaging website content today has changed from what it usedto be. In the old days, web pages were created and maintainedusing a static method, which meant that each page was handcoded with HTML and put online by a web developer. While thismethod worked, it was inefficient and cost a lot of money.There’s nothing like paying 100 bucks to change a phonenumber right?That’s where Content Management Systems come into play.Often referred to by the acronym CMS, these systems allow us tocontrol the content on our website by logging into a web basedsystem. There are several advantages to using a CMS.Our CMS makes it easy to manage your website content from asimple interface. Whichever CMS you use, it should allow you tomake changes easily and quickly.
  16. 16. © 2013 Todaymade | page 16TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLTAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CONTENTThe first and most obvious advantage is that it helps us takecontrol of our content. Changes are inevitable for any business.A content management system allows us to make simple changesto the text, files, images, and videos on our site right from ourown computer.KEEP GOOGLE COMING BACKCMS systems are so important is because they help feed Google.We call this Google food, and it simply means that websites withregular updates are watched more closely than static websitesthat rarely change. By adding new content on a regular basis,we’re constantly telling Google that we have new and interestingthings to share.ITERATE QUICKLYMany of us still think of websites with a “set it and forget it”mentality. This is no longer the case, anymore. For the sake ofGoogle, and for the sake of your customers, a good website is aliving website. It is constantly changing and being updated. Witha CMS we are be able to make changes and additions on thefly, breathing new life into our website.WHAT TO LOOK FORThere are many choices when it comes to choosing a CMS.Open-source options, like WordPress, are inexpensive, but they
  17. 17. © 2013 Todaymade | page 17TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLcan also be limiting. They are meant to address the generalneeds for a broad range of likely users.Another option for a CMS is one that is completely custom-built.These kinds of custom systems can be costly to maintain, but theydo meet our company’s needs, since they are built completelyaround that one goal.Some solutions, like Todaymade’s own CMS, combines the twooptions to create the best of both worlds. Our system is extremelyflexible, providing an out-of-the-box pricing model with thepower and flexibility of a custom-coded CMS offering. It’s alsoeasy to use, and that is very important.We always say that if you can send an email, you should beable to update your website.
  18. 18. © 2013 Todaymade | page 18TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLCREATING KILLER WEBSITECONTENTAt any given moment in any given place, someone is planninga website. They’re talking about the navigation, the layout, thecolors – but they’re forgetting the most important thing of all: thecontent.Content is the stuff that keeps people coming back to our siteagain and again. It’s more than just the words and images onthe page, though. It includes the voice we use and the topics wecover.We need to understand the reason for our website. Whydoes our company have a website? Is it simply for an onlinepresence? Because our competitors have one? These reasonsmay have worked in the early days of the Internet, but no more.Websites that want traffic need to think differently.INBOUND MARKETINGInbound marketing simply refers to a marketing strategy thatfocuses on attracting prospective customers by offering usefulinformation. We bring them into our site because of what isthere.So, rather than pitching products or services through interruption— like traditional advertising — we conveniently deliverinformation that benefits our customers. Building our website
  19. 19. © 2013 Todaymade | page 19TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLaround the things that we want to say rather than the things ourcustomers want to hear is a common mistake. Inbound marketingturns this around.THINK LIKE A USEREvery time we publish something on our website or blog, weneed to be thinking about how it benefits our audience. Whatare they searching for? What do they want? Inbound Marketingworks because we learn to think like a user and give them whatthey want.To do this, there are many types of content that we can create,but a few of the most popular include:1. Content That InformsWritten articles, blog posts, or recorded videos that keepcustomers in-the-know show them that we are on the cuttingedge, and that they can rest assured they will be, too, if theyread our content.2. Content That HelpsOur customers have questions and, as experts, we have theanswers. How-to articles, emails, and tutorial videos can begreat sources of valuable content for current and prospectivecustomers.
  20. 20. © 2013 Todaymade | page 20TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELL3. Content That EntertainsMake your audience laugh, or maybe even cry tears of joy. Ourcustomers are people with real emotions; connect with them inthis way and they will see us as real people, too, and rememberand appreciate it.One of the greatest assets a website owner can have is a blog.Company blogs are becoming increasingly valuable ways togain inbound traffic and provide helpful information for ouraudience. Done right, they mean steady content and searchtraffic, and help establish our expertise in the eyes of customers.We have to remember that killer website content doesn’t justbring a visitor to our site, but it also keeps them coming back.
  21. 21. © 2013 Todaymade | page 21TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLUSING SOCIAL MEDIA TO BUILDTRAFFIC AND CONVERSATIONSocial media is all the rage today, but plain old websites stillmatter – a lot. They are, in fact, the center of any good socialmedia marketing program. The outlet for all that social mediatraffic is our website.How can a website be social? It is actually simpler than wemight think unless we think of our website as a brochure. Notmuch happens on a site that is finished and frozen in time, muchless anything social. A brochure website may have worked in theearly days of the Internet, but no more.WEBSITES ARE STILL HUBSIt is better to think about our website like a hub, the center of ouronline universe.Some may get to our site by typing in our URL. Some might comefrom a search engine. Others might come from social networks.No matter the source of the traffic, our website should always bethe final destination.It is important to see Facebook Pages, Twitter profiles, andPinterest boards as extensions of our website, rather thanindividual hubs themselves.For example, Facebook is a great tool for community andconversation. Our website could be a hub of helpful informationwhile our Facebook page becomes a place to have conversationabout related topics. Our Facebook page is not, however, all wehave. It’s the microphone, not the message.
  22. 22. © 2013 Todaymade | page 22TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLBLOGS ARE HUBSOne of the best ways to keep our website connected to socialmedia is through a blog. Imagine if our website containeddozens, if not hundreds, of helpful and informational articles thatour customers loved. We could post links to our blog on socialmedia sites and allow our fans and followers to share them withtheir friends.Connect To The Social WorldThe first thing we need to do to connect ourselves to the socialworld is to share our own content. Tweeting and posting linksto our site on our Facebook wall is an important first step fora social website. There are tools that can help us automate orsimplify this process, like TodayLaunch.Social Media IntegrationThe second important step to building a social website involvessome basic social media integration. At minimum, we shouldhave links on our site to our social networks so that those who dofind our site can also find us on social networks.Beyond that, we should also provide share buttons that makeit easy for our visitors to share our website on their own socialaccounts. At the very least, this should include share buttons forTwitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Pinterest and Google+ can alsobe useful in some cases. We need to make it easy for our visitorsto share our website with the world.
  23. 23. © 2013 Todaymade | page 23TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLTODAYLAUNCH IS YOUR SOCIAL MEDIADASHBOARDNow that we have our visitors sharing our content, we need tobe part of the conversation they started around it. Keeping tabson four or five different accounts on different social networks canbe challenging, making it necessary to find a tool that will helpus manage them all.TodayLaunch is a tool that helps us stay in the conversationeasily. From one location, we can maneuver across manyaccounts and social networks, replying and sharing the contentwe find.The more sharing the better.
  24. 24. © 2013 Todaymade | page 24TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLUSING YOUR WEBSITE TOGENERATE NEW LEADSWhen it comes to a great website, goals matter. Sure, ourwebsite should provide readers with information about theirbusiness, but is that enough? At Todaymade, we believein websites that do more than just tell our company’s story.Websites are sales tools, and there has to be a return on ourinvestment.Why pay for a website that just sits there and doesn’t pull itsown weight?YOUR CUSTOMER’S NEEDSPart of what makes a website great at capturing leads is thinkingin a customer-centric way. What do our customers want or need,and what can we trade them for an email address or a phonenumber? We need to base our thinking on their needs, not justours.Once we understand our customer’s motivation, capturing leadscomes down to three simple steps.Step 1 – What Type of Leads Do You Need?The first step requires precision focus. We need to decide twothings: What type of lead do we need, and what area of ourbusiness are we hoping to grow?When it comes to choosing a lead type, there are two that wecan gather. The first is a simple email address. The second ismore detailed and includes a phone number and/or address.For example, if we are hoping get more subscribers in our email
  25. 25. © 2013 Todaymade | page 25TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLmarketing program, then all we need is an email address. If weare hoping to make direct contact with someone via phone ormail, then we might be better off offering a free consultation orestimate. It just depends on our particular strategy.Step 2 – Make Our Website Ready for LeadConversionOnce we have a lead strategy, we need to develop a wayto reach our goal. Our navigation should lead our potentialcustomer directly to the call to action.In doing this, we need to make it obvious, telling them what wewant them to do. There is no sense in beating around the bush.Our customer isn’t looking to waste time, either.And of course, we have to make it valuable. What incentive canwe offer? A free ebook or digital download? What will strike achord with them and help them cross the finish line?A clear path and a desirable incentive brings about successfullead conversions.Step 3 – Check Our ConversionsThe last thing we need to do is check our conversions todetermine the success of our efforts. We’ll look at how manypeople are visiting our site, and how many of them havecompleted the lead generation process successfully. Website statsand tools like Google analytics can help us do this.Our website should be doing all the heavy lifting, much of whichis done through a well-made call to action. Without it, our siteisn’t a marketing tool at all.
  26. 26. © 2013 Todaymade | page 26TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLTHE WEBSITE OF THE FUTURE IS AMOBILE APPOur next website may not be a website at all, but a mobileapplication.Smartphones and tablets are lifestyle devices. We use them onthe go, in the store, and on our couch. They go where we go,and that is why it is no surprise that by 2014 mobile traffic willexceed desktop traffic on the web.We’ve all heard of mobile websites, but many of the online usersin the future will continue to ask for and demand mobile apps.In fact, did a study which concluded that over60 percent of mobile users preferred the experience of anapp over a website for things like navigation, connection, andreading useful information.But, what exactly makes an app different from a mobile website?APPS DO MORETo put it simply, apps do more. They are directly tied to ouroperating system, which gives them access to many things thatwebsites don’t have access to. For example, app users are ableto download and store content on their own devices. This meansthat they can use our app even when they are offline.
  27. 27. © 2013 Todaymade | page 27TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLApps also allow us to take advantage of key tools like thecamera, sound controls, and video playback. This also includesthings like notifications, which allow us to send an instantmessage to users at a moment’s notice.Perhaps the most exciting advantage to an app is the prime realestate that they offer on mobile devices. Mobile websites aregreat, and they are still important, but they are only availablethrough the use of a web browser. Apps are given primaryplacement on the home screen of the phone, and are quicklyaccessible through an icon.Our shiny app icon will be right where our customers spendthe most time, on the home screen and not buried in a browser,making it easy to stop in and visit.APPS PROVIDE MORE INTERACTIONOne of the biggest things separating an app from a website isthe experience that customers expect. Visitors to our site andusers of our app are looking for very different results.App users are usually looking for a more interactive experience.They don’t just want to see something - they want to dosomething. The best apps help users perform a task or will givethem easy access to the information that they really want.Before we decide to develop an app for the Apple iOS orAndroid operating system, we should examine how we can addvalue to the users of our app. How can we help them on the go?Apps can provide great avenues for user participation,feedback, and promote a unique form of loyalty to one brand orcompany.
  28. 28. © 2013 Todaymade | page 28TODAYMADE.COM|THESECRETSOFWEBSITESTHATSELLTodaymadeA web development and design company helping the world create and share great