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Series: SMC session questions, now with more answers!

Posted on January 24th, 2013 by

At our recent Marketing Excellence on the Web Session, we were asked many questions that we didn’t have time to get to. We are answering them in a series on the blog.

Question [TEXTED]: “Could you talk about the balance between a great website (clean, intuitive) and having the necessary content (quantity) to draw in Google Searchers.”

The answer, of course, is yes.

Next question!

The reason you have a presence on the web at all is to make it easy for you to be found, for you to make a connection with someone, and over time to convert that connection into some kind of business relationship. That means you need to do three things:

  1. Get people to find your site.
  2. Keep visitors from hitting the back button immediately. As Garry Tan said, “Your #1 competitor starting out will always be the BACK button, nothing else.”
  3. Get people interested in coming back.

So for the first task, SEO and PPC matter. Be smart about it. If you make something great and nobody sees it, what good have you done?

Then the question is about form vs. content. How much should you budget for the site and how much for the content? As a content house, we would like to say “100% of the budget on content, and just host on Blogger,” but that would be wrong. There are many things to consider in website design, and we won’t pretend to be experts. (We do know a few experts though…) This article is a good start in showing you what cost categories you should be thinking about, but you have to consider everything from branding and strategy to user handsets and uptime requirements. There is no easy answer that is honest.

But the one piece of advice I would give is this — make it attractive enough that I don’t instinctively stab at the Back button. You can spend a ton of money on a website and still have it be hideous. Minimalist is fine. Ugly is not.

And with regard to content, it all comes back to strategy. Who are your customers? What problem do you help them solve? What content helps them solve that problem? Where else can they get that information? What is your competition doing? For some segments, lengthy white papers are the best way to get traction. You don’t need to do them often, but they have to be world-class. For other segments, it’s about multiple blog posts and tweets a day. In certain cases, being the first one in on a particular platform can make a big difference. If you’re doing customer service, that means having people on duty at the right times. But sometimes, just having a charming Twitter feed operated by someone who really gets your customers is enough. (And keep in mind that a good social media presence is becoming increasingly important for SEO.)

So there is no straight answer — you need to get people to your site, you need to avoid driving them away, and you need to nurture your relationship with them. Don’t ignore any of them, but if you start with strategy, you will find the right answer presents itself pretty quickly.

photo credit: gaspi *yg via photopin cc

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Adrian began his career in the television industry, leading the international growth of Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central. Adrian has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an A.B. from Harvard.

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