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It sounds simple doesn’t it? In this day and age why would any website be launched without the consideration of digital marketing?
More often than we would like, we encounter websites that have been built on difficult platforms, with difficult code, that present difficult digital marketing challenges. The cause? Usually due to time and budget restrictions, combined with the urgent need ‘just to get something up’ on the web.
So, how can a website be developed with the consideration of its future digital marketing applications? Much like the beginning of SEO work or the set-up of a new paid media campaign, a solid foundation must be built in order to grow upon in the future. This foundation starts by considering a few key elements:
- The purpose of your website. Is it a brochure for your services? An ecommerce website? A booking platform?
- Technical efficiency. Is your hosting reliable? Is your code sleek or bloated? How are your page load speeds looking?
- Will your website build allow you to use plug ins or 3rd party integrations and build onto the website in the future?
- User flow & functionality. How will people interact with your website that will lead them to make the actions you’d like?
- Can your business’s brand be integrated into the website build? Or are you restricted to certain fonts, colours, themes and designs?
Of course, all of these key elements are individual to your business, as they should be. Given your website is the digital shopfront of your business, it needs to be tailored to you. Imagine a high-volume clothing retailer with the brick and mortar layout of an apple store, it’s not the best way to present and sell clothing is it?
Now that we have established these key elements on a website level, let’s further break them down to a digital marketing level, depending on the digital marketing activities you might be engaging in.
Your Digital Marketing
If you know that SEO is on the cards, the way your website has been built will have a huge effect on how successful your SEO efforts might be. The most important factor is access: access to edit content, navigation, code and everything in between is paramount. To build a website with consideration for SEO you must consider the accessibility of the website on a website management and development front. Some examples of this accessibility are URL customization, redirect capabilities and tracking implementation.
Whether it’s Google Ads, Facebook Advertising or other Pay-Per-Click advertising, your website needs to up to scratch to get the most out of your spend. It’s important to consider is how traffic from this advertising will interact with the website, are they funneled through your website to become a lead, enquiry or sale?
How does this look? Perhaps you have custom landing pages and different types of content set up for your advertising campaigns. The key is CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation, how to best convert your traffic from clicks to customers is entirely independent on your business. Regardless, it is your number 1 priority when it comes to building you website with digital marketing in mind, particularly if you’re going to be paying for these visits.
If you know that ecommerce is part of your future plans, it’s an absolute must to have the capability in your website when it is built. Whether that means building on an ecommerce platform or a CMS like WordPress with a built-in integration like WooCommerce, it’s an investment best made before it becomes too late. Retrospectively developing ecommerce features or opting for bolt on options can often lead to frustration and delays. Ecommerce is becoming more and more directly integrated into digital marketing with tools like Google Shopping and product marketing on Facebook, Instagram and more.
Social Media & Content
Perhaps one of the most important digital marketing integrations when building a new website is content. Why? Digital marketing is leaning more and more towards a content heavy direction. If you’re already active on social media, video or blogging platforms, wouldn’t you want this to be featured on your website? Integrating a steady stream of updated content on your website will keep your website fresh and current, and keeps users coming back for more.
Now that these foundations have been considered, and your digital marketing activities have been incorporated into your website development, what needs to be avoided? There are some common pitfalls when an exciting, new website project has been started. Here’s a few things that can potentially set your website up for failure:
- Having too much focus on design and on-trend aesthetics. While we enjoy beautiful websites as much as anyone, this trap can often lead to a sacrifice of function for the sake of form.
- Designing pages without the allowance for content. Image heavy pages may speak 1000 words to the user, but not to Google. Content will not only build the topic relevancy of your webpages, but you’ll be able to provide more specific information to your users.
- Inability to add functionality. The more gated your website is from a development point of view, the less you’ll be able to add on features in the future.
- Limited number of page templates. As we’ve already discussed, different areas of your website have different purposes and therefore different page templates are needed to shape these different user experiences.
- Going against Google best practices. This is a big ballpark but ensuring your redirects are in place, trimming excess code and making sure your content is crawl-able.
- Budget based website design. As with all things, you get what you paid for. Opting for a cheap website option can often lead to bigger costs in the long run.
Engaging digital marketing into your website development gives you the power of a tool which is not only a billboard for your business but a channel to turn prospects into customers.
Whether your most effective form of digital marketing is SEO, PPC, content or another channel, there’s immense value in considering your future digital marketing when beginning your website development.
If you’re considering a new website development and plan to get things right the first time, avoid the pain of making the wrong investment – talk to us first.