15 Must-Have’s for the Savvy Website Owner

On Wednesday March 6, I had the honour of speaking at a gathering of professional independent communication consultants. It was a group within the Toronto chapter of IABC or International Association of Business Communicators. They invited me to speak on the topic of “What’s Hot, What’s Not in 2013″ with respect to business websites. So to thank them for their time, we produced this handy 15 Must-Have’s Web Presence Checklist.Web Presence Checklist
To quickly sum up a 45 minute presentation, the message I felt most important to leave them with this is:

Buyer behaviour has changed.

People want to self-educate and self-select long before you ever hear from them. Therefore, your website needs to be treated as a living entity in your business. Gone are the days when you can put up a site and not touch it for a year. If you want people to refer business to you, talk about your business or select you as a solution, you must set up a website that addresses the buyer process of a customer and what they need to understand about buying from you. This is very different than building a website focused on what you want to tell them.

Your buyer is in control. Your website must address this.

The second message I wanted to leave with this very savvy group of business communicators is that just like you take control of your message and content, you must take control of ownership of your website. Don’t leave it up to a web shop or hosting company to manage aspects of your website. You must take control of this because you need the keys to the car. If websites in 2013 are such an important asset for a business owner, then you must have complete control of that asset.

Take control of your web presence. Do you know…

  1. Where the server is located that hosts your website and what the parameters are on that server? What if you get hacked? What if traffic spikes and it goes down? Do you know how to monitor this or correct it?
  2. Do you know how to access the details associated with your URL, who owns associated URLs and when things come up for renewal? Your corporate URL is a huge asset in your business, yet most people treat this as an administrative exercise. What would be the impact on your business in you lost your current URL?
  3. Do you know how to log into your website and make changes to navigation, content and conversion points on your website? You won’t encourage engagement on your site if nothing changes from one month to the next.

Many times we get asked to take over a website project and I am amazed at how casual the details are associated with corporate website ownership. And given the myriad of accounts and passwords that are likely associated with a website from the URL through to social media and CRM tools, it’s no longer a good idea not to centralize this as a business process within your company.
When Marketing CoPilot, for example, builds a web presence for a company we create a Web Access Document that lists all of the assets associated with a web presence. I can’t believe the number of times a business owner has said to us, “we can’t get into our company LinkedIn page. The summer student left and now we can’t access it.”

Here’s what NOT HOT in 2013 with respect to websites:

  1. Website as product spiel or online brochure.
  2. Website that ignores the customer buying process and what they want to gather in the buying process.
  3. Website that is all things to all people. Everything cannot go on the home page.
  4. Website that provides no conversion points regardless of what you sell or do.
  5. Website that is not buttoned down with respect to access and management.

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Here’s what is HOT in 2013

 
 
 
 

Download this 15 Must-Have Web Presence Checklist.

Marketing CoPilot