DOES YOUR COMPANY WEBSITE HELP YOUR BOTTOM LINE?

Over the years I have talked to hundreds of facility managers, property manager, small business owners, sales folks and many others. One thing that is very common is the need for their company websites to actually help them do theirs jobs better. Sure their company has spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to get the latest technology that the young college guy was selling, but it still did not get the job done completely. Since I build websites for some nashville companies, I wanted to dig a little deeper to help those in the facility manager roles.

Listed below a just a few key points that could make or break the online success that your company has and how it effects the bottom line.

With that said, your company website should be a valuable asset… a 24/7 extension of who and what your company is all about and how the world sees it. Take a hard look at your employees and see they are valuable or if they too need some “retraining”. Ask yourself if prepared for the job?

Does your website clearly contain the content your visitors are seeking? If you are in the business of selling “Real Estate”, does your website clearly express what kind of real estate you sell on your “Home” page. If selling “downtown real estate“, make sure the content is relevant. Your first page is your first impression, and if the relevance is not there, visitors will likely move on.

Save the “About Me” stuff for the “About Me” page. Much like a boss might discourage personal chatter on company time, ask yourself if the information on the front page is relevant to your mission. As much as people might want to know all about you – who you are, what inspires you – keep it off the front page (and in most cases, reserve it for social sites). There are some exceptions, of course. If you are a facility manager, or a director of operations, perhaps some glimpse into what makes you tick is important up front.

website_calling
1) Is my website answering when people call?

Your first job with a new website is to make sure it is submitted to the search engines. Think of this as installing the phone lines. Perhaps this is something your web designer does as part of the service (should be!). And once those phone lines are installed, make sure you have a relevant listing, so people can “call”.

Your website should contain keywords that express what you want the world to know about you and your business, so when someone is “calling” – or doing an online search – your website will be seen. Did you see the plural there? Keywords. The world is full of all kinds of people who look at things in all kinds of ways. If your web page’s keyword meta tag contains only “doodad”, you might be missing someone looking for “tool for gardening” or “gardening tool” (going with the gardening doodads analogy earlier). Flesh it out, don’t be shy…but don’t stuff the keywords either. So often I hear from a potential client who is frustrated because their site is not being seen online. When I look at their keywords, they have one or two per page. That’s a sure sign of a website that is not really working for you! Google has a fabulous keyword search tool which is a great place to start.

Make sure those keywords express what is on that specific page. And make sure each page is different. The Googlebot is one hungry visitor, but he’ll spit out things he feels don’t taste like the page they are on.

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2) Has my website filed my pages and lost the key?

Your website should have its pages neatly organized and easy to follow so your visitors are not lost. Links to other pages should be clearly identifiable. And just as the site should be accessible to humans, make sure Googlebot and his friends can find your other pages! Fancy flash links might look snazzy, but flash is completely invisible to search engines. A link that cannot be indexed in a search engine might as well not exist! Be wary of flash templates. They might look “hip”, but they will do little for your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts! Be wary, too, of some javascript menus. To see how well your pages can be followed, try using an online website spider tool.

Be consistent, too, from page to page. Your links should be in the same place on each page. If not, your visitors will get very confused, very quickly. And a confused customer is a leaving customer.

Make sure, too, that none of your relevant information is locked in the back room. Frames cannot be indexed by search engines, so if critical information for your page is within a frame (scrolling bars inside a page are a dead giveaway), that information is not being gobbled up by the Googlebot – another sign your web page is not working for you.

dressed_for_success
3) Is my website “Dressed for Success”?

Although “eye candy” may not be essential for search engine ranking, a professional, clean and easy-to-follow website is critical to your success. Just as you are better received when you “dress for success”, your website will be, too! Aim for pleasing color schemes and clean design. If you are not personally creative, hire a designer! Your website – and your success – will be worth the price! Be wary of templates, too, that lock you into a mold and can actually prohibit you from growth, expansion and even visibility on the web. A good designer does not rely on pre-designed templates (though will likely design a special template for you and you alone).

Be wary, too, of “free” websites. What you give up in price is a true reflection of what you think of your business. And think of this, if you arrived at a party and someone else was wearing your dress, would you be embarrassed? If you use a free service with free templates, someone else is likely to show up at the party dressed just like you!

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4) Are my website’s communication skills good?

Is your business contact information clear and visible on your website? A contact form is so important, but so is a phone number. Don’t hide them. I wish I could teach this to big corporations! Your customers want to ask questions. Don’t make them jump through hoops. And if you have a vanity number, spell it out. 1-800-DOO-DADS might be cute and easy to remember, but not so much fun to dial! Be sure to add the alternate nearby, spelling the number out.

If your website is not a valuable employee, nip those bad habits in the bud! This may be one of the most valuable employees you have, train ’em right!

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5.Do my tenants have a login area?

Does your website have a designated login area for your current clients such as tenants or vendors. This can be extremely useful and time saving for the employees as well as the clients. These sort of login areas can give access to private information such as renewal forms, tenant contracts, or even work orders. By having clients go directly to your website to fill out work orders for the broken sign out front or the clogged toilet, can save your technicians paperwork and hundreds of hours a year. All because the information was entered directly into the clients private area that is connected to their files.

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Brian Hook is the owner of Hook Designs here in Nashville and helps people succeed online. The webistes that he builds for clients are clean, organized, user friendly, and have all the other necessary aspects to be succesful in any market. Check out all his website services here. One of his latest sites is the Best flashlight spot reviews>