Make Your Presence Felt
For starters — What do we mean by web presence?
Your web presence consists of ALL branded properties on the web including your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc…
For this discussion, we won’t be delving into off-brand communities. For one, these communities don’t really count as part of your main “presence”. Also, this topic was covered in detail by Justin Levy in recent NMLTV episode, I highly suggest you check it out.
So, now that we are clear on what your “presence” consists of, here’s a few ideas to get you thinking about how to improve it:
Keep It Consistent
You’d be surprised how many people fail at the most basic of rules: use consistent branding. Many companies create style guides to help employees adhere to branding guidelines, and — speaking from personal experience — it really does help.
A style guide doesn’t have to complex, provide a few versions of the logo (web/print/etc…), choose a font and some colors, and you have already provided a great starting place for any new branded design.
Once you have these guideline, apply them EVERYWHERE. Visit your website homepage. Now your Twitter page. Do the link colors match? If not, you have some work to do with your branding efforts.
Keep It Simple
Another basic principle that seems to elude many companies is a strong call-to-action. For any website to be effective, it needs 2 things:
- Clear Goals – This defines what you want your website visitors to do: purchase an item, sign up for a newsletter, read an article, etc… These are the driving factors behind your website. If your website doesn’t have any goals, what do you expect it to do for you?
- Calls-to-action – Once you have clearly defined the goals internally, you should work the same language into the site itself. Create big buttons that guide the user toward the intended action: “Contact Us”, “Download File”, etc… This is where design and functionality meet, there is a fine line between distracting the user and drawing their attention.
Humanize Your Website
One of the main reasons behind the rise of social media is a simple principle: people want to talk to other people.
Gone are the days of when corporations would shout down from their ivory towers, it just doesn’t cut it anymore. Stop thinking about your website as a marketing tool, and start thinking about it as a way to engage in the conversation that is already taking place on the web.
A simple way to humanize your website is to get feedback from your audience, whether via blog comments, twitter, or another similar collaboration tool. This allows you to engage with those who matter most — your audience.
Another way to humanize your website it to give a personal touch to otherwise corporate page. Take the contact page for instance.
How you would YOU prefer to communicate: “Chat with Jim” (who you can follow on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc…), or “Use the form below”?
Optimize for People, SEO Will Follow
The final topic deals with the content your website. Here’s a simple test to determine your website effectiveness.
- Print out your homepage
- Give it to someone outside of your business
- Ask them to describe your business back to you using your homepage
The description they give you is exactly what your audience sees when they visit your homepage.
If this clearly and succinctly describes your business (including your industry, objectives, location, contact info), then your homepage content is doing its job. If not, it’s time for a redesign.
Regardless of the application, you should always be focused on including the terms that make the most sense for your business. If the terms help people understand what you do and how to find you, it will help your organic SEO as well.
These tips are NOT a comprehensive web strategy, but should give you some ideas on to improve the overall experience for your users.
How else do you build a better presence for your users?
Photo Credit: LA Cinnamon