Top 5 Things a Professional Website Should Have

Plenty has been written about how to setup an effective website, from designing a home page to effective SEO management and employing promotional lead-generation tools. But in thinking about all I’ve read and written on the topic, I’ve boiled it all down to five amazingly simple features and sum it up this way: be direct and to the point.

1) Simplicity – How many times have you gone to a website that was so full and so complicated that you became tired touring and clicking around? Too much hyper-interactivity without a defined purpose is just activity and sure to turn off visitors. One simple message is easy to understand, easy to use and, best of all, easy to purchase.

2) Design – With literally hundreds of millions of active Web pages available, it’s essential that yours be well designed. Good design attracts a person’s attention. This seems so obvious, and yet there are millions of websites that have skipped this essential ingredient to success.

3) Communications – Another key to a successful website is to establish a conversation with your visitors. A weekly or monthly enewsletter allows you to stay in front of your visitors and allows them to let you know what they think about what you have to say.

It’s essential to establish a voice in your market. But don’t be too loud, by the way. Be very sure your message truly represents who you are and what your company offers.

4) Opt-in – A lot has been written about collecting data on visitors as they download your information or play your videos, etc. With all of the research we’ve conducted, there is much evidence to support that you are better off giving away quite a bit of information without asking for any from your visitors. This seems to encourage increased visits and requests, which are many times more meaningful than trying to push visitors into action.

Tom Marin is the managing partner of MarketCues.com and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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