Effective Internet marketing follows the 80/20 rule; where 80% of your investment is ‘SEO’, 'content marketing' and 'social media' (promoting the hell out of your website and brand online) and where only 20% is the website itself.
A pretty website without top rankings on Google, Yahoo! and Bing is pretty much useless. It's like having a storage cupboard filled with tens of thousands of the most spectacular CLIO award-winning brochures ever designed and printed, but failing to mail the suckers out.
An award-winning website without traffic just plain sucks. Award winning dazzlers cost more money and take more time to design, so without traffic and conversions (sales) they become an even bigger liability.
A drop dead gorgeous website that does not convert visitors into qualified leads or customers has failed as an advertising and marketing medium. Period.
An attractive website is only worth a damn when it provides a positive return on your investment. This is a ‘rubber meets the road’ concept you need to embrace.
Are we against sexy design and design awards? Absolutely not! My own epiphany came about seven years ago when one of our clients received a beautiful award for the website we developed for them. My customer called me to congratulate me on the design achievement, hung the brass plaque on the wall, but then lamented over the site’s poor performance on the bottom line. I reminded him that we had proposed an aggressive SEO and online marketing campaign but he had declined.
On further reflection I realized it was my fault. I’m the internet marketing professional, I know what really matters when it comes to ROI and I hadn’t absolutely insisted on a program to drive traffic to their site. I had allowed the client to invest their entire online marketing budget on an award-winning design and there had been nothing left for assuring the site had traffic or the ability to convert visitors into customers.
A good website is ‘attractive enough’ that visitors feel they are dealing with a solid, reputable company. When search engine rankings and other sources of traffic are in place, and the site is generating enough sales to more than offset the cost of additional design, it might finally be time to revisit the design with a facelift.
If your site isn’t in the top five ranking positions for all of your primary keyword search terms, put your money into SEO, epic content your audience craves, social networking and link building; not a flashy media presentation and all the trendy new features few people will ever see.
Cole has been designing and developing websites since 1997. He’s a content strategist and writer, conversion copywriter and online marketing coach.
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