42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins (Book Excerpt)
By No Author
Essential Business Strategy for Website and Social Media Success
Every business in the world, no matter how large or small, needs a web presence. The challenge for most business owners, is that they don't really know where to start with the ‘web' side of their business, so any help on this score is gratefully received.
This ‘excerpt' from Philippa Gamse's book '42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins' is very timely if you are in a ‘re-web building mode. However, if you have already set off on the web journey, and your site isn't giving you the results you thought it would, then these rules could be a life saver.
The selection of ‘rules' the author has chosen here are:
Rule No 2: Appoint your web ambassador
The author asks ‘where does your web presence "live" in your organization, and who should be in charge of it? What skill set is required?' Her thoughts are that if your site resides in the Information Technology department, it runs the risk of having marvelous functionality but no message, and if it's placed in Marketing, it might contain stunning copy, but have little if any functionality.
Rule No 12: Consider your competition
Many companies, large and small, are faced with the ongoing decision of how much material to make publicly available within their website and social media presence. In each case, a business needs to weigh the benefit of providing content that boosts credibility, emotional appeal, and the visitor's propensity to buy, against the threat of making it easier for your competition to steal your work or to poach your customers or employees.
Rule No 24: Site search is serious business
An internal site search engine is a key component of any website with many pages/products or complex content. If it's available, visitors will often use the site search immediately without any reference to the navigation template or other links. So it's vital to provide what they're looking for quickly and easily. You have a very short window of opportunity to capture and keep a visitor.
Rule No 28: Talk to the buyer behind the buyer
In addition to the clearly defined target audiences for your web presence, there may be other less obvious visitor types who are important or influential in the buying process, and whom you also need to address with your online messaging.
Rule No 37: Numbers and testing trump politics
The author conducted an audit for a client and reports showed conclusively that 30 percent of visitors left the site immediately upon seeing a very artistic ‘splash' page, a statistic she found pretty consistently with sites that had splash pages. The Director of Marketing, who thought the splash pages were beautiful, couldn't continue to advocate for something that was driving away that much potential once he was confronted with the stats.