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This article was published in the Mississauga Board of Trade's MBOT magazine, Vol. 1 Issue 9 in November 2006.

Is an effective Web site part of your business marketing strategy?

We live in the age of unprecedented technological advancement. With the speed of light information technology produces better and faster computers and more sophisticated software, enabling us to find in seconds the information we need. It is also helping us to make a buying decision faster then ever. With that advancement came the luxury of saving time in researching and finding the right product or service on the Internet.

A great Web site presence has become a “must” in business. So, how effective can a Web site be for a business? Research shows that many companies do not employ enough strategic direction in creating their Web sites. Without it, how do we know if we are doing the right thing? So here are 10 tips to help you develop a Web site that will be an effective tool and a solid part of your marketing strategy: 

  1. Set measurable objectives for your Web site and develop a good marketing plan. Carefully analyze how your Web site structure can reflect that.

  2. Review the Web sites of your competitors and make sure you differentiate yourself from the competitors.

  3. Make sure your domain name has an appropriate name and meaning.

  4. Plan to update your Web site regularly. By doing so, you increase your chances of your Web site ranking higher on search engines. Fresh content is one of the main criteria with search engines. Your visitors will also appreciate it and come back to check it more often, which increases Web site traffic.

  5. Branding is very important; it is the face of your business and it is what makes your business unique. Develop consistency between all your marketing elements, making sure that your Web site has the same look and feel as your business cards or brochure.

  6. Arrange for reciprocal links with businesses that are compatible with yours to further increase the traffic. For example, a shoe manufacturer can exchange links with shoe polish producer.

  7. Include appropriate meta tags and key words on all your pages.

  8. Post testimonial letters from satisfied clients – positive comments from an independent source are much more valuable then your own words.

  9. Include your Web site address in all your marketing material, not forgetting your business cards, letterhead, and your e-mail signature.

  10. Make sure that your Web site does not scream “amateur!” Have top-notch content and appealing Web site design and layout. Research shows that it takes only seven seconds for Web users to decide if a Web site is worth looking at before switching to another Web site.

These are the 10 most important elements of an effective Web site. You can also consider including e-commerce elements. Have a catalogue of your products and a shopping cart to help your prospects make a buying decision even faster. Your Web site has to look professional to enhance a feeling of trust.The bottom line is - an effective Web site adds to your company’s credibility and establishes your company as a leader in the industry.

Can you afford NOT to have an effective Web site?

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