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Your website is an investment; if you manage it smartly, it can generate great profits for you. You invested money and time into your website not just to have a website, but with the hope that your investment will lead to greater visibility, leads, sales, and most importantly the bottom line. Let's see how you can make the most out of your investment.
The very first thing a potential client/partner usually does is visiting the organization's website. The website which is always available online (or should be), and always updated with the latest news and information (or should be) is no doubt a good source for information about the company.
A smoothly functioning and well-designed website is an effective presales tool for an organization. Via the company website, the visitors can understand more about the products, services, or solutions it offers; and may consider taking the next step as a qualified lead with the organization's salesforce.
Given that leads can turn into real sales, it is essential that a website works effectively and its performance is monitored constantly. To maximize website return on investment (ROI), we strongly recommend a proven list of things to do:
Monitor the website performance: the website should be available and accessible to users most if not all the time. Disasters will happen, and your website should always have a recent backup to go back online as soon as possible when bad things happen.
Drive traffic (visitors) to the website: via organic search (google, bing, etc...) or via paid advertisement (AdWords, Facebook ads, etc...)
Constantly optimize the website: by testing and determining the best combination of graphic elements and content.
Increase the efficiency of your website: (increase the time visitors spend on your site, the amount of products/services/leads you can generate per visit)
Do not let the website become a standalone tool: link it with your other sales and marketing tools to maximize its effect.
Many business owners consider website design and development as a short-term project which leads to a low Return On Investment. The above steps must be done continually to track website ROI, improve performance, and add value to the users and the organization's bottom line.
Your website can be your Customer Relationship Management portal (or at least linked to it). With the website, you can track the users' exact time spent on the website, the content they are interested in, the number of interactions per month, and much more. You can also link to their social network and with their permission can offer them even more personalized service. This level of customer relationship is unheard of before the Internet.
A few things you should consider to maximize the level of interaction with your customers:
Provide useful information and ways for your customers to interact, ask questions, share knowledge (a comment section in the company blog can be a good start if you have a good team to monitor)
Provide multiple ways to interact with visitors (newsletter, chat, contact form, phone, etc...). However, do not over-provide the visitors with so many communication channels that you cannot manage. For example, if you do not have resources to manage the chat, or do not have any way to create a newsletter periodically, do not offer them (yet).
Vu Nguyen is an entrepreneur, developer, and founder of Nilead. He loves backend website development and has experience in eCommerce (owning an online store as well as being a developer), Search Engine Optimization, UX Design, and Content Strategy.
Since 2005, Vu has headed and overseen UX design teams for projects in corporations, start-ups, individuals, etc., regardless of their size. He has been involved in both the creative and technical aspects of each project - from ideation to concept and vision, prototype building to detailed design, and build-up to deployment.