If you take nothing else from this article, walk away with this — a professional website will grow your business. If you don’t have one, get one. If you have one, promote it like crazy.
Still with us? Good. There’s an important distinction we need to make. Some people may naturally interpret the headline as, “Reasons Why You Need a Website,” and some of the material you’ll read will certainly support that notion. But the operative term here is “professional.”
Not all websites are created equal. Just having SOMETHING isn’t enough anymore. The bar for what a website can and should be has been set very high, and prospects and customers may judge your brand harshly if your site doesn’t measure up. For a website to grow your business effectively, it needs a professional’s touch.
With that in mind, here are four ways your business will benefit from a professional website. They’re in no specific order — unless you notice a particularly inventive pattern, in which case, they’re in that order.
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A Professional Website Elevates Your Brand
You could use a prefab WordPress template or create something in a consumer website builder, but it will always feel like what it is, the same website that everyone else is using.
WordPress is popular because it’s powerful and relatively easy to use, but most people don’t have the skills necessary to customize templates into something with a custom feel. As a result, it’s often hard to distinguish one company’s design from another. That’s the antithesis of good brand building. You want your website to stand out from your competition, not blend into the background noise.
Professional websites are usually fully custom built to amplify the elements of your brand and your business that set you apart. They’re unique to you, which helps drive brand devotion. You’ve likely noticed that large companies work hard to create immediately identifiable websites. That’s because they recognize how valuable a flagship website is. It’s the cornerstone of effective marketing.
But it’s not just the design that makes the difference. Professionally-written web copy is, in many ways, more important. Effective copywriting shares your brand’s narrative succinctly, wrapped in subtle persuasion that extolls your virtues without sounding like a sales brochure. It creates a visceral experience, bursting with personality, allowing your customers to make an emotional connection.
People have a lot to think about, and so they use mental shortcuts to help organize information. For most people, a useful shorthand is “a professional website equals a professional company.” If you have a high-quality, professionally-designed site, it will help establish your company as a leader in whatever it is that you do.
Proper SEO Gets You Noticed
Two processes go into creating a professional website. There’s the writing, design, and layout work that defines the site itself. Then there’s the optimization work that makes sure your content ranks as high as possible on Google and other search engines.
This second process, called SEO, or search engine optimization, involves a vast number of variables. Some tweaks are subtle, and others are more drastic. In the hands of an SEO professional, a website will generate far more traffic from natural, free search rankings than it would otherwise. More traffic equals more exposure, more prospects, and a growing company.
Proper SEO takes experience and training. If you design a site yourself, it’s unlikely to be optimized much at all. Templated websites are better, but they’re still lacking. Only a professional site, designed from the ground up with optimization in mind, will deliver the best results.
Your Website is The Cornerstone of Your Marketing Efforts
There’s a lot that goes into successful marketing campaigns. In the analog world, you have direct mail, radio/TV/print advertising, billboards, and more. Digitally there’s email campaigns, PPC, content, social, guest blogging, and paid search. Each requires different assets and different strategies, but they all share one common element.
Eventually, they all point back to your website.
A professional website is designed to be a central location for information about your company and your products and services. It lets prospects know what you can do for them, answers common questions, hosts content that can be promoted on social media, and makes it easy for people to contact you. As we’ll see, it also helps you convert traffic from various sources into leads.
Your website is a universal destination for customers seeking more information, whether they first encountered you in a Google ad, a social media post, or a highway billboard. A professional website is optimized to accept all comers.
Your Website Will Help You Nurture Leads
Most prospects won’t convert immediately. It usually takes several different contacts with your brand until their interest is sufficiently piqued. Professional websites include many features built to capture information about your visitors so that you can retarget them later.
Using free opt-ins and pop up forms, usually driven by some giveaway, your website can collect contact information from your visitors. This fills your email list with quality leads that have shown an interest in your products and services. Your email list is the lifeblood of email marketing campaigns, an inexpensive way to keep your brand in front of your prospects.
Tracking pixels embedded in your website allow retargeting campaigns. Similar to cookies in many ways, tracking pixels allow visitor information to be captured and tracked across devices seamlessly.
Say a paid search ad drove someone to your website. Using data captured by an embedded pixel, you could later retarget that person with another ad on some other website, which could drive them back to your site. Retargeting increases the depth of a visitor’s experience with your website and your brand.
Used in combination, email marketing, and retargeting campaigns, nurture leads and dramatically increase your ultimate incoming traffic conversions. And more conversions lead to growth.
If you’re interested in stepping up your game, don’t assume that a custom, professionally-designed website is out of your price range. Give us a call so that we can discuss your options. We can design your site and then help revamp your digital marketing strategy to take advantage of your site’s new strengths.