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All Roads Lead To Rome

April 29, 2016 | Category: Blog

Your High School history teacher was right – you can learn from the past. With our modern technology and global perspective we sometimes lose sight of what history can tell us. The power of the Roman Empire, for example, rested in part on the centrality of Rome as the seat of government, culture, and commerce. The complex trade networks that drove much of the Roman desire to conquer the known world were facilitated by a simple piece of infrastructure: paved roads running throughout the vast expanse of the empire connecting various outposts to each other and, ultimately, to the capitol. Today, the Internet has the same capacity to drive goods, services, and markets, only it’s much faster, smoother and more diverse.

Ultimately, your website is the “Rome” of your business. Once you have a good site in place you want to drive as much traffic to the site as possible in order to get the most business from it. In today’s world, every business needs a website to stay competitive. A website can be the most cost effective way to advertise, drive sales, develop and maintain a client base or business partnerships, and provide certain types of services for your customers. But let’s face it, by the time you’ve paid for good design, development, hosting, updates, annual domain name fees, and miscellaneous other expenses, the cost of creating and maintaining a good website adds up. The only way to get a return on your investment is to use that website to maximum advantage.

The beauty of a website is that it works 24 hours a day, and doesn’t have any inherent geographical limitations. With a little effort, someone working the night shift in Helsinki can access your goods or services no matter what time it is at your office. The trick is designing the site so it can work on its own. If it isn’t properly configured or utilized, your next-door neighbor might not be able to find you on the Web. Many business owners get frustrated because they’ve invested in a site that isn’t generating sales or customers, doesn’t serve existing clients, and doesn’t contribute to the operations of the company. In short, the website isn’t working. It’s sitting there on a server collecting virtual cobwebs.

This is a completely avoidable scenario. Hiring a reputable web design firm is the first step: we’ve helped many disgruntled web-owners retrieve neglected websites from the outposts of the Internet Empire. Getting the most out of your website depends on the type of site you have, which is often determined by what kind of business you run. An e-commerce site will have different features than an information site, and your usage strategies will vary accordingly. Still, there are a few basics that will help you maximize your online presence regardless of what kind of site you have. As a general rule of thumb: Utilize, Publicize, and Optimize.

UTILIZE

The first step is to create a website that matches your business needs. For all the innovations in modern business technology, there’s one rule that hasn’t changed: time is still money. A well designed website with ample content can answer many of the questions people have up-front, without wasting their time or yours. If you have a service company, tell people what you have to offer. If you offer goods for sale on the site, you’ve got a 24-hour point of sale – make it easy for people to find, order, and pay for what they need all at once. Encourage return visits by keeping your content up-to-date with blogs, business updates, current pricing, sales, and staff rosters. Nothing turns web customers off more than outdated, useless information. Like Rome, you want your website to be a destination.

PUBLICIZE

Perhaps the simplest and most overlooked strategy for making your website work for you is to let people know it exists. More than a good business card, networking strategy, or print campaign, your website could be your most effective form of advertising. More and more people are turning to the Internet before ever cracking the cover of a phone book, much less getting in their car in search of the products or services they need.   Ask yourself this question: when you’re driving down the road and you see a billboard or other advertisement for something you’re interested in, do you memorize the phone number and address? Or do you remember a fragment of the name or web address and Google it as soon as you get to a computer? Another example: How many times have you been talking with someone and, in lieu of searching for pen and paper or an exact name, decide that the information can be found easily online with a simple search? Word of mouth still carries more weight than any other single form of publicity. Getting the word out that you have a website worth visiting is the key to driving more business to it. Make your website attractive and informative, give it a memorable URL, and print the address on every business card, brochure, invoice, receipt, and e-mail.

OPTIMIZE

Good design is critical for attracting potential customers, but it’s also a critical component in the functionality of a site. Make sure every feature works and serves its purpose. Keep your site content current, relevant and interesting to clients and potential customers. Enhance your online presence by hiring a web designer or SEO specialist who understands how to get your site indexed by the search engines and on the screens of as many people as possible. Investing in a good SEO campaign may be the best way to maximize the return on your initial website investment.   Rome wasn’t built in a day. Making a website work for you takes time, determination, and a little bit of know-how. Yet the Internet is one of the most efficient and accessible sales and advertising tools available, and a good website can be your most useful ally in building your own little empire.