Think HBR

Seven tips your web developer won’t tell you

If you’re shopping for a new website for your business by looking for a website developer - then you’re probably looking in the wrong place.
In the new age of online & social media dominance, businesses are now redirecting what would normally have been spent on old-world media advertising into their digital marketing plan. Before making any decision involving such a sizeable investment, it is essential to ascertain what the objectives should be for your web profile.
In other words - to reach your intended target market, keep them engaged and convert them into customers – you’re going to need more than just another cutesy “brochure site” to remain competitive in today’s business arena.
1. Don’t get confused by all the techno jargon – what are your goals?
Web Developers will try to impress you with terms like Linux operating system, Apache web server, MYSQL Database, PHP code, CMS, SEO, HTML, Javascript, etc. But any web developer worth their salt can provide you with a solution that uses these technologies. More important than “How” is “What” you will get for your money, and sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what you should be asking for.
Your digital marketing plan requirements should be decided by the objectives of your business. Your web profile should:
• Attract more site visitors through SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and social media
• Convert visitors into customers through calls to action and clean, user friendly interfaces
• Report on what’s working best so you can continue to fine-tune and adapt your digital marketing plan to garner the best results
But each of these outcomes requires a different approach depending on your industry and your particular modus operandi. To come up with the best, customised strategy for your business requires a proper and comprehensive business analysis to establish a marketing plan that is right for you. From this document, a project scope can be formulated with an ongoing marketing strategy. This will include not only website development but also an SEO, social media, blog and content creation plan.
2. Set and forget is no longer enough.
The days of simply building a website and making it live on a web server somewhere then waiting for the orders to start coming in are over.
With the amount of competition on the internet these days, this old approach of “Set & Forget” will leave you behind in the dust. Your online profile needs to be constantly active and evolving and your online marketing budget needs to reflect the same.
You need to be able to:
• Quickly convey your unique selling proposition – what sets you apart from the competition
• Increase brand recognition
• Allow your website content to be changed and updated regularly (content management system)
• Provide your prospects and customers with information that interests them (blog, social media, newsletters)
• Allow your prospects and customers to join in on the conversation and create a community feel (blog commenting and social media sharing)
• Make sure that prospects who don’t know about you yet can find you easily (SEO)
• React to current events and adapt to new trends (continuous marketing strategy)
3. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
Many web developers often get lost in what’s the latest fad or technological advance without first considering whether it’s the best thing for your business. Web Developers are a great technical resource about how to best achieve your business goals once they’ve been established but they don’t typically have the business or marketing know-how to help plan:
• How to best convey your value proposition and competitive advantage
• How to establish an online community for your prospects and customers to give them a sense of ownership of your business
• How to establish the pillars of values that your business stands by and attracts in like minds and those with common experiences
• Without a clear picture of how your business should be trying to appear, what plan is a web developer supposed to work from?
4. Constantly evolving and regularly updated content
Improving your SEO ranking is becoming less and less about keywords and more and more about content – how often it is changed, updated and shared.
Your web marketing plan needs to be perpetual. Of course your website needs to be optimised for SEO but above all, it needs to be optimised for people – and
in particular, your prospects and customers. Your website needs to be seen as a source of educational, entertaining and conversational insights to attract visitors to want to purchase your products or services. By posting regular blog and social media entries plus newsletter mailouts that all link back to your website, you will increase your visitation and allowing visitors to comment on your website means they are changing the content for you. Search engines love regularly updated content!
Prospects are far more informed than they once were and marketing automation experts, Marketo, have documented that 50-90% of sales are made before a prospect ever talks to a salesperson. This shift in how prospects discover, share and act upon content means you must mainly focus your marketing plan on:
• Search engine optimisation
• Social media sharing
• Newsletter subscriptions
All of these are designed to bring traffic back to your website where you can put calls to action in front of your prospects to capitalise on the emotional buying decision and striking while the iron is hot.
So where’s the proof?
• 46% of daily Internet searches start with research on products or services (source: Google)
• Companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that don’t (source: Hubspot)
• The more optimised pages you have in your website, you improve the chance of getting found and ranking high in search results (source: Hubspot)
• Organisations that blog have +90% more inbound links than those that don’t (source: Optify)
• Delivering high-quality, relevant & valuable content to prospects & customers drives engagement, action & revenue (source: Content Marketing Institute)
• Consistently creating great content is the key to getting inbound links and there’s just no substitute (source: SEOMoz)
5. Change is good
It is commercial suicide to treat your Web Profile like a new TV and allow it to become obsolete as long as it still functions. You have to try to stay ahead of the game if you’re going to be competitive – and that means change. You need to be willing to evaluate emerging technologies and practices to see how they could benefit your business. This takes time and some expertise, so it is worthwhile considering help. Old world thinking could put your business back to Year 0.
6. Your Website is only part of the solution
Who would you normally turn to for your new web solution? And how would you ensure that they are all on the same page when it comes to what’s best for your business?
How much of your precious time would be involved in briefing each of the following?:
• Web Developer
• Branding, Positioning & Messaging Strategist
• Content Writer | Editor
• Marketing Communications Expert
• Social and New Media Platform Counsellor
• Online Marketing Consultant
• Lead Generation Producer | Manager
• Ongoing Content Creation & Content Marketing Partner
• Graphic Designer
• All of the above
 Each one of these specialists’ knowledge is usually limited to their chosen discipline, so how will you put all the pieces together by yourself? To save time and money, you need to turn to someone with a proven track record of integrating these disciplines to achieve successful business outcomes.
7. The brochure site is dead!
You may be thinking of building your own website because all you think you need is a Home page with pretty pictures and contact details.
But if you’re not being part of the conversation that’s going on constantly in the online world, you may as well be a mannequin in a super-model competition. If you’re going to do it – don’t do it for the sake of it – play to win!
For further information contact Nimbler Digital on
(02) 4961 1166, email or visit