A website is a marketing tool for your business, allowing people to source information, communicate, enquire and purchase from your brand. By creating a new website, you are allowing for a potentially better user experience (UX), more traffic, a greater number of conversions, ecommerce or the like. This being said, it is often a time when there is a lack of marketing input into the design and development of the site.
You might be wondering what marketing has to do with the development process of a new website and why it’s so important to make this process an ongoing collaboration rather than a departmental and linear process. Well, sit down, take five minutes out of your day and read on!
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
To put it simply, SEO is the process whereby we optimise a page’s onsite and offsite content in order to improve its visibility in the organic or unpaid search results. However, if we delve deeper, SEO is the inclusion of specific and relevant high traffic keywords, appropriate meta data, backlinks, site speed, user experience, internal linking, quality content and so on and so forth. Now that we have that out of the way, you might be wondering “why is SEO important during the development process, isn’t it a marketing activity?”
SEO should be proactive and integrated into the web development and design process. If you wait until a website has been launched, you will lose rankings and visibility. If you don’t show up in the organic search results, how are people supposed to find you? If people can’t find your business online, the likelihood of them visiting your website directly and converting is slim to none – and that’s being generous.
Whether your agency or business has an in house design team, or you outsource it, it’s important to involve marketing in the web design process. This initial process is the foundation for the website and will eventuate to how well your website achieves its specified goals. While the aesthetics and user experience of a site is important, it is equally as important to ensure your website is built to convert. When we say convert, we mean anything from sales to generating a new lead for your business. If you have a shiny new website and it doesn’t have a contact form until someone has to scroll through masses of content, the likelihood of them actually filling it out is slim. Similarly, if you have a pop up that appears on every page of the website, people are going to get annoyed pretty quick. This process is not dissimilar to many economics principals, there are a lot of cool ideas in theory, but not all of them work in fruition. Websites need to be designed around achieving a common goal in a way that the user will find pleasurable.
One of the biggest mistakes we see, which is easily avoidable, is the launch of a new website whereby some form of tracking is not installed or transferred over. Realistically, Google Tag Manager (GTM) is the Rolls-Royce of tracking, taking tracking a to a level beyond simple Analytics, it has the ability to install pretty much any third party script (tracking or not) in a neat little code snippet that won't bulk down your website with multiple scripts. Oh, and it also allows you to track everything from form submits, and phone calls made from your website, to newsletter subscriptions, document downloads and anything else you heart desires. After all, being able to track and measure the success of your online content, SEO and advertising efforts in a tangible and direct way is part of the appeal of digital marketing.
3. Website Launch
When any website is launched there are a number of important steps that need to be followed in order to guarantee its success. If you have existing PPC campaigns sending traffic to the old website, updating these ads with new URLs is particularly important, even if redirects are in place, as redirects strip any tracking code and lose the ability to accurately measure ad performance. On the topic of redirects, when it comes to a new website’s relaunch, 301 redirects are imperative. These redirects seamlessly serve new and improved pages in place of old page URLs still floating in the online universe in the form of outdated links to your old site from forgotten directories, link building websites, and even search engine results until your new website is reindexed. Another nifty thing about 301 redirects is that they pass on page rank to your new web page, thereby preserving some of your SEO efforts to date.
4. Site Speed
Imagine this common scenario - your new site has launched and it takes what feels like a lifetime to load. Your bounce rate is high and people are failing to interact with your content past the first page because life is too short and your competitors are plentiful. Whether it's because you’ve got a million and one plugins on your site, or due to your images being the size of Jupiter, a quick chat with an SEO expert during the development process could have fixed these issues before they turned into big problems. Simply put, site speed matters. A lot. Compress your images, minify your code and talk to an expert to ensure all the other important factors are taken into consideration. We've covered the importance of site speed and the effect it has on your bounce rate and website performance in another post you can check out here.
The fact is, we can go on and on about the importance of integrating marketing into web design and development, but... so little time and space. If you would like to know more about this topic or just want to have a chat to see how you can make the most of your online presence - get in touch, we'd be happy to help.