It’s an easy question. There’s a lot of money spent by companies here on the look of their new website. Thousands spent to get the right visuals and that elusive wow factor. Design is often carefully crafted by professionals, with lots of meetings, proofs, mockups, exactly the same process as was common with the old company brochures in the 80s, just an online version now. But is this huge investment in the website look and branding actually worth it?
There’s a lot of hype around content marketing today. The new messiah to getting traffic and leads. Popular sites like copyblogger.com talk of it endlessly. Certainly adding new, fresh content to your site will get you noticed by Google, since google likes busy websites with good, original, relevant content and may often reward you with more traffic too, (assuming your website structure and SEO is fine).
WordPress is a big force when it comes to online. The dominant website application software that runs over 20% of all new websites worldwide and growing every year. Sites build by both novices as well as expert developers and coders. It’s a platform for the people, easy to establish, low in cost and simple to update are the key benefits. Most hosting platforms provide tools to setup a WordPress instance in just minutes and developers have provided them thousands of themes to change the look and countless plugins to add features from shopping carts, sliders, galleries, through to online learning options.
Using content and articles to promote yourself or your business isn’t unusual. Companies have had advertorial articles written up in magazines for decades. But magazines readership if falling whilst online readership continues to climb. The most popular online publishing system without doubt is a WordPress blog. Established in 2003 this platform has continued to grow in power and popularity, the technology behind 25% of all new sites going live in the US. In terms of market share WordPress is now way head of all competitors.
Failure of business website projects is common. The World is littered with nice looking, expertly designed websites that produced little, if any business or sales results. And it can occur with $50,000 sites as often as $5,000 ones. It’s said that over 75% of business websites today fail to meet the owners sales or business expectations.
With the market flooded with smartphones and tablets these day, you’d think more businesses would be catering to the mobile users. They’re not. As my US colleague has reminded me more than once… “If you want to know what the internet and online marketing was like ten years back, go to New Zealand”
One of my clients rang this morning, frantic over a new competitor website he discovered. Much of his business comes via facebook and good placement in Google search results, with thousands visiting each month. This new site seemed a major threat. Certainly the visual appearance and functionality was indeed stunning. It was one of those $30,000 shopping/directory websites, likely assembled by a team of skilled graphic designers, in this instance utilising the respected Adobe catalyst platform.
We’ve had a lot to say in recent years around the coming demise of directories like Yellow, Finda, Gopher, Localist etc. These each compete head on with Google and in every instance I’ve seen, provide a tiny fraction of the leads, typically say 20 leads per month vs 1,000 leads via Google. The stats confirm these all-purpose directories are a waste of time and money as a means for any business to get new customers. In my book they only exist through the use of high pressure sales tactics and the gullibility if business owners.
Yelp has arrived, complete with all the features available in the US. Local businesses and consumers will be the big beneficiaries. Losers include local competing directory providers like finda, localist, menus, dineout and others. The Yelp system can largely replace what most others can offer consumers looking to track down good businesses to deal with. And Yelp do it better and cheaper too. i.e. FREE.
Websites running open source software like WordPress and Joomla have had a busy week. Last Friday morning saw the emergence of some serious bots scanning the internet looking for sites with ineffective passwords and security. (Ref nextweb article).