We have been doing a great deal of website work lately. Seems every one of our clients has needed either a complete redo of their existing website, or extensive renovations to make the site a suitable platform for Inbound Marketing Automation.
It should not be a surprise, really. We’ve written before of the need for a powerful site to provide the Inbound Prospect Magnet with some real pulling power. But it does surprise me when I look back over our work logs for the past 6 months or so, how much work it takes to transform the average site into an Inbound Marketing Automation powerhouse.
So if you’re thinking of adding Inbound Marketing Automation to your site, here are a few pointers about your website.
It must be based on a powerful Content Management System (CMS). The days of waiting for the IT department to create a new page or post a new blog are long gone. Google loves freshness and you have to publish and post often to stay on top. It’s also imperative from an SEO point of view that you publish frequently to keep ahead of the competition.
The CMS must allow you full access to the SEO tags and attributes you need to tune each time you create a new page or post. This is really an extension of the (1), but not all CMSs are created equal on this facet.
A few of our clients only had one website when we started working with them. Well of course they did, you may be thinking, but what’s needed is a live site and a development site. We play in the development box until we’re ready to take the next revision live, and thus avoid the embarrassing problem of crashing the live site when something we tried didn’t work (yes, it does happen even to experts).
The hosting service for the site must have a decent Cpanel, provide proper FTP access, and be fast and reliable. The first two items are usually provided by reputable companies, but – like CMSs – not all hosting services are created equally and some of them offer a Cpanel in their marketing literature which turns out to be one in name only. Want a backup? You have to call support to get it. Want a restore done from a backup? Not only do you have to call support, but they’ll charge you to do it! And the site’s performance is always an issue when its slow. Developers are not patient people, and neither is Google (one gets penalized these days for sluggish sites!).
And there’s the whole issue of content. Used to be the content was basically the website copy. But today you need, at minimum:
- Great copy (short and sweet)
- Downloadable White Papers
- Tools like calculators, forms, guides, etc.
- Video – the more the better but each one no more than 3 minutes.
- Links – both from and to your site (from trusted 3rd party sites).
We have been recommending WordPress to our clients as it’s free, powerful and so popular that it gets more powerful every day because developers add plugins at an amazing clip. So you can add, again most of them for free, plugins to give great SEO control, automate backups, provide powerful image handling (carousels/sliders, video players, etc.) and spice up your blog.
But without a doubt, the most important piece of advice I can think of is this:
Before you even begin the project, do make sure you have a solid online marketing strategy. And a part of that strategy should be a detailed specification of the role your website is going to play in it and how, what and where its going to do it.
Bit-by-Bit #41 from Eric.