10 Makeover Tips for a Better Website A Guide for ACT! Certified Consultants
Why Redesign a Website? Photo Credit - http://computer.howstuffworks.com/discarded-old-computer.htm <ul><li>Redesigning a website is part of owning one. Just like you need to change the oil in your car and rotate its tires, so too does your website need regular work – and sometimes a major overhaul. </li></ul><ul><li>However, you want to make sure that you're redesigning your website for the right reasons. Don't redesign a website just because you're sick of it and don't like the way it looks. Instead, think about the strategic reasons why you need a better website . </li></ul><ul><li>For example, these are good reasons to update your website: </li></ul><ul><li>It fails to perform in search engines </li></ul><ul><li>It no longer matches your company branding or overall vision </li></ul><ul><li>It is built in code that is expensive to maintain, or no longer supported </li></ul><ul><li>You would like to move it into a CMS so that you can edit it </li></ul><ul><li>With this strategic mindset in mind, let’s begin 10 Makeover Tips for a Better Website. </li></ul>
Ditch The Brochure For many years all a website had to be was an online brochure. It had your address and logo on it, your phone number, maybe your hours of operation. If you got really fancy, you could have a page or two about products and services, and a contact form. Now it's not easy to get away with that - today your website needs to be informative, interactive, constantly changing, and professional! There is no more sound strategic marketing investment for your company than a good website. It's the equivalent of hiring a part-time marketing assistant, except that it also helps with sales and is available 24 hours a day. By integrating social media, news feeds, and high-impact content provided by the ACT! Product Marketing Team, you can have a website that attracts and captivates sales leads (both new prospects and current ACT! customers), and provides support and resources to existing users. 1
Think Things Through Photo Credit - http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html <ul><li>Don't just start from scratch because you're sick of your old website. Take a hard look at it, and try to figure out exactly what makes you tired of it and how it can be better. </li></ul><ul><li>You can always look to peers in your industry for ideas and inspiration, and if you have any feedback from your customers, use it! (We'll talk more about customers in a moment). </li></ul><ul><li>See if you can answer all of the questions on this list: </li></ul><ul><li>What is wrong with your old website? </li></ul><ul><li>Who are your customers? </li></ul><ul><li>Does your website accurately reflect who you are? </li></ul><ul><li>Is your website consistent with other marketing materials? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is using their website well? </li></ul><ul><li>What is your hook (i.e. what makes you different)? </li></ul><ul><li>Where will all the material for your new website come from? </li></ul><ul><li>Who will keep it up to date? </li></ul>2
Put Yourself in Your Customer's Shoes Remember we said we were going to talk about customers? They're the ones in charge of your website, not you. Huh? The most important thing to understand about the web is that it is about me , not you. That is, me the customer , me the prospect, me the blogger who landed on your website researching companies like you. I don't care about your products or services. I care about whether your products or services can do something for me. I don't care what you say about yourself. I care whether you strike me as a consultant that is capable, confident, and reputable. I don't care about the back story of your website - the trouble you've had with vendors, the limited budget, the struggle to keep it up to date. I care whether I can find the information I'm looking for and whether that information leads me to be able to make a decision about my own needs. It is harsh, but it is human nature. It is how the web works. And by being relentlessly obsessed to pleasing me, you will become successful yourself. 3 Photo credit : http://stylebinge.freedomblogging.com/category/my-life-in-shoes/
Give People What They Want Okay, now that you know that I am the most important visitor to your website, let's talk about pleasing me . The hard part is that there isn't just one type of "me." There are many types of me's. For example, we have Joe GonnaloveAct , an entrepreneur whose business is growing fast and has just heard about CRM, and is wondering how software like ACT! can make his life easier. You also have Jane Actuserforyears , who is using an older version of ACT! and would really like to understand what makes ACT! 2010 different - and why you're the best consultant to help her make the upgrade. Finally, you have Greg Yourfavoritecustomer , who has your website bookmarked and relies on you for the latest ACT! release information, product support, and industry news. How do you keep all of these people happy? Figure out what makes them different and give them what they want! 4 Photo credit : http://www.getinlinegames.com/solutions.php
Let Sage Help You Out <ul><li>Here are some ideas: </li></ul><ul><li>Joe GonnaloveAct is new to contact management and wants to learn more about ACT!. Your site should show him: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ACT! product page with content used from the Partner Messaging Kit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ACT! in About a Minute Flash (aka Napkin Mike) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ACT! Product Brief and Comparison Chart </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer Video Testimonials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whitepapers such as Delivering on Usability and Productivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ACT! Facts PPT (can you do a live Webinar?) </li></ul></ul>5 But what about Jane Actuserforyears and Greg Yourfavoritecustomer ? Luckily, the ACT! Product Marketing Team has created resources that are perfect for Joe GonnaloveAct , Jane Actuserforyears , AND Greg Yourfavoritecustomer - all you have to do is find the best place to put them on your website. Your ultimate guide to knowing how to use these resources is the ACT! 2010 Sales and Marketing Toolkit .
Let Sage Help You Out <ul><li>Jane Actuserforyears needs to understand why she should upgrade to ACT! 2010. Your site should show her: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ACT! 2010 feature descriptions pulled from the Partner Messaging Kit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New Feature Demos coupled with each description </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What's New Brief and Version Comparison Chart </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What's New in ACT! 2010 PPT (can you do a live Webinar?) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And Greg Yourfavoritecustomer ? Well, he wants to see you start a blog, create an e-mail newsletter, and learn about webinars being offered on ACT! related topics! </li></ul>5 These resources and more are available for download from the ACT! Partner Site . Rest assured, the ACT! Product Marketing team has developed plenty of resources for existing ACT! users, too.
Photo Credit -http://thecrmconnection.com/ Put Things Where People Can Find Them Now that you know what you're providing the various "me's," let's talk about adding these assets to your site in a way that's attractive and professional. Special resources are usually linked to with a prominent button called a "Call to Action." Calls to action are usually placed in the top 1/3 of your website design so that people can see them, and, well, click on them! You need unique calls to action for Joe, Jane, or Greg, and you should try to arrange them in such a way that your site doesn't looked cluttered and that all elements have a place. That may sound tricky, but with modern web design you have a lot of flexibility about where things can go and should be able to fit multiple resources on your page without the user feeling overwhelmed. 6
Show Who You Are One very important resource you will not find on the ACT! Partner Site is information about, well, you . This is something that only you are specially qualified to say, yet this information is one of the most important things you can put on your website. We're not talking about the typical business profile - "XYZ Corporation offers leading edge best-of-breed CRM solutions to clients through the Z area." We're talking about simple, human definitions of what you do and profiles of you and your staff. We're talking about the actual people behind your business. Remember that Joe GonnaloveAct has never met you before and can find dozens of companies at the click of a mouse. So, what makes you different? Being in his backyard is a start. Do you have a unique personality or way of doing business that makes you different than other consultants? Are you a better fit for people in specific industries? What is it that sets you apart from the rest? Make sure that you proclaim who you are LOUD and clear. It's what makes your website stick out in living color amongst a monochrome crowd. 7 Photo credit : http://www.miprofessionals.com.au/TeleSeminars.aspx
Optimize! As if you weren't busy enough thinking about your target customers this whole time, don't forget one of the most important components of a website redesign project: search engine optimization . Search engine optimization means making sure your website is readable by search engines and targeted so that people looking for products and services like yours find your website . There is much more to search optimization than we can fit into one slide, might we recommend viewing one of these webinars? <ul><ul><li>What You Need to Know About SEO : http://www.hallme.com/webinars/what-you-need-to-know-about-seo-44.php </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How Search Works: http://www.hallme.com/webinars/how-search-works-41.php </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Knows Best - A Discussion of SEO Best Practices and How to Use Them: http://www.hallme.com/webinars/google-knows-best-a-discussion-of-seo-best-practices-and-how-to-use-them-93.php </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google, Bing, Yahoo - What's the Difference and Why Does it Matter?: http://www.hallme.com/webinars/google-bing-yahoo-whats-the-difference-and-why-does-it-matter-100.php </li></ul></ul>8
Make Connecting Easy <ul><li>Almost there. A website isn't complete unless it gets people talking to your business, right? </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy for your Joe and Jane to reach out to you. </li></ul><ul><li>There are a lot of different ways to make it easy to reach out to you on your website. Here are a few: </li></ul><ul><li>Put your phone number in a prominent position in the header </li></ul><ul><li>Put a contact form next to valuable resources </li></ul><ul><li>Offer a free consultation or other incentive for people who fill out a form </li></ul><ul><li>Close out all pages of copy with an invitation to contact you </li></ul><ul><li>As a final note, make sure you are tracking contacts so you can tell what value you are getting out of your website. You can do this using Google Analytics - more information is available in our blog: </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.hallme.com/blog/new-google-analytics-goals-see-more-data-have-more-fun/ </li></ul>9 Photo credit : http://www.info24.se/portal/en/Solutions/MachineToMachine.aspx
Extend Into Social Media <ul><li>Social media is all the rage (and in fact, we have a whole eBook just on social media for you: http://www.hallme.com/sage-social-media-success.php ). The easiest way to describe the relationship of social media to your website is to use a clever metaphor by social media guru Chris Brogan - Your website is your home base, and social networks are outposts . </li></ul><ul><li>Outposts, like in the wild west sense of the word. Your website is the repository of all your interesting product content, fascinating blogs, and ACT! multimedia. You can use social networks, then, to set-up shop for your company in places where people haven't found you yet – like creating a message about new product features in your LinkedIn status bar, or feeding out informative posts from the ACT! Online Community blog entries to your Facebook or Twitter streams. </li></ul><ul><li>The ACT! team has done an amazing job of extending into social media, and you should follow and respond to the universe they've created: </li></ul><ul><li>ACT! Online Community: http://community.act.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>ACT! on Facebook: http://www.act.com/facebook </li></ul><ul><li>ACT! on LinkedIn: http://www.act.com/linkedin </li></ul><ul><li>ACT! on MySpace: http://www.act.com/myspace </li></ul><ul><li>ACT! on Plaxo: http://www.act.com/plaxo </li></ul><ul><li>ACT! on Twitter: http://www.act.com/twitter </li></ul><ul><li>ACT! on YouTube: http://www.act.com/youtube </li></ul>10 Photo credit : http://www.reactorr.com/blog/
Learn More <ul><li>Whew, that was fast. Hopefully those 10 steps get you started, but there's much more to talk about. </li></ul><ul><li>We recommend you check out: </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>5 Tips to Take Charge of Your Social Media Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Signs Your Website Wants to Dump You </li></ul><ul><li>Humanizing Your Website </li></ul><ul><li>Easy Goals for your B2B Website </li></ul><ul><li>Webinars </li></ul><ul><li>What's a Web Strategy and Why Do I Need One? </li></ul><ul><li>Generating Leads from Research-Oriented B2B Buyers </li></ul><ul><li>Get Your Business Blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Using LinkedIn to Market Your Business </li></ul><ul><li>Discovering New Opportunities with Social Media and ACT! 2010 </li></ul>
Frederick Greenhalgh Internet Marketing Manager [email_address] Who We Are Candi Huber Design Manager [email_address] Kyle Pouliot Inbound Marketing Specialist [email_address] Stephanie Spangler Sr. Product Marketing Manager, ACT! by Sage [email_address] Candace Farina Product Marketing Manager, ACT! by Sage [email_address] This guide was written by web design and internet marketing specialists at Hall Web Services, a Sage Preferred Vendor, with support from the ACT! Product Marketing Team.