You’re Ready to Embrace Inbound Marketing. Is Your Website up to the Task?

by Debra Andrews | June 5, 2012

Below are some best practices for a wesbite that is inbound-marketing friendly, and ready to engage with your audience:

1. Use Easier / Flatter Navigation.

Visitors typically spend 2-3 minutes on a Web site.  The key to driving them to take the next step is to make your site as easy as possible to navigate.   One way to do this is to use “flatter navigation”.  In other words, don’t make visitors click through several page levels to get to where they want to go.  Ideally, most pages will be accessible through top-level navigation.

2. Lead the Visitor through the Site.

Lead your visitor to the places you want them to go next by including a clear call to action on each page, as well as a sitemap and contact information at the bottom of each page.

3. Think Like Your Target Prospect — Design for the Visitor.

Design your site from the point of view of your target site visitor – the person who uses the website. Don’t design navigation simply for it to look good; and avoid designing from the point of view of the organization (such as using internal jargon that is not commonly understood).

4. Make Sure it’s Search Engine Friendly.

Simple tweaks to your site, like keyword-rich content, tagging content and images on the back end, and simple navigation make the search engines love your site.

6. Add a Blog (or Blogs).

Adding a blog page (or pages) your site, as well as “tagging” and categorizing each post appropriately, draws an audience that is likely already interested in what you have to offer.

7. Add RSS Capability.

Invite visitors to subscribe to RSS or “Real Simple Syndication” feed by adding an RSS widget provides a way for readers to subscribe to your content.  By subscribing to these feeds, readers get to get the latest news and blog posts delivered right to their inbox.

8. Get Social!

Make it easy to for visitors to find, follow and “like” your social media profiles by embedding social media widgets on your home page.  Also embed these widgets in your “content rich” blog and news sections for easy sharing via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Also, add social media widgets to your blog and other quality content so readers can share entries with the click of a button.  Keep in mind, the easier you make it, the more likely they are to share.

9. Include Valuable, Original Content.

Probably the most important component of the site — provide valuable information and use keywords that will resonate with your key target audience.  Get creative — this content can be multi-media including blogging, podcasts, video, and infographics.

10. Measure Success with Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is like the window to your Web site’s soul!  Meaning, you can gain great insight to how effective your site is with information like:  how visitors are finding your site (through keyword searches, referring sites like LinkedIn), how long they are staying on the site, what pages they visit and where they are exiting.  All this information can be used to measure the effectiveness of your navigation and content.  Harnessing this information and making simple tweaks to wording, or navigation can lead to better engagement with visitors to your site.    

Hopefully these tips give some food for thought to those contemplating a new site, or tweaking their current site (and you should really always be tweaking your site) and possibly arm you with some new tools or considerations.  We’d love to hear other tips for making your site more engaging, and more inbound-marketing friendly!