Web Presence Foundation – The Business Website
Web Presence Foundation – The Business Website
The goal of new website is to tie together all of your other digital marketing technologies by creating a conversation with prospects and clients. Instead of promoted a companies products or services, websites have become shills for promoting the latest cool technology. I’m not suggesting you burn it to the ground, I recommend you rebuild from within.
Before social networking or online video the essense of digital marketing was the business website. It was the only game in town. At first it served as a glorified file cabinet. A place to store all your marketing materials. Then came the explosion of digital marketing technologies. Instead of promoted a companies products or services, websites became shills for the latest cool technology. "Hey look at me, I Tweet!" It's gotten so bad that websites now look like they were assembled using virtual duct tape instead of a coherent marketing strategy. I believe there is only one solution to resolving this mess. Start over. I'm not suggesting you burn it to the ground, or launch a new site somewhere else. I'm suggesting you rebuild from within, using new tools, starting with a new approach, building using a solid marketing strategy. Welcome to part two of this months series on building your essential web presence. Today  we focus on the business website, the platform that supports all of your marketing communications.

Building the Perfect Business Website

The goal of your website is to tie together all of your other digital marketing technologies by creating a conversation with prospects and clients. It should introduce prospects to your organization, invite them to collaborate on solutions to the challenges they face, and provide valuable, relevant information to build a solid lasting client relationship.

Home Page

If you know who you are trying to attract, what they need or how to give it to them, don't send them to your home page. The welcome page of your site is for the lost souls who don't know who your are, what your company offers, and isn't really sure what they are searching for on the web. Use your home page like a restaurant menu. Lead with your regular menu, (About, Products, Resources, Contact) then use the bulk of your page to promote your "daily" specials. Don't forget to include a You Are Here infographic that helps casual visitors find the content they're seeking. Whatever you do, ditch the tech promotions including badges and links to social networking sites. You've spend a bunch of time and trouble getting them to visit, why send them away the moment they arrive?

Landing Pages

Here's where the bulk of your content creation should occur. If you know your visitors, build them a community page. If you know what they want, build them a resource page. If you know what you want them to do, build them a page with clear instructions. Landing pages are the quickest way to get prospects to say YES. Don't fool around giving them a world tour, take them directly to what they want.

Section Home Pages

If you want your visitors to compare multiple products, read more than one article or access a large amount of content on a related topic or theme, organize it on a section home page. It could be all the items within a product category, everything you want to know about a topic or a list of related articles. It's not the correct format for testimonials, videos, audios and such, unless you really need to organize your stuff like a warehouse. As you create each of these pages, pay close attention to what's next. Where do you want them to go when they finish reading the current page?

Informational Pages

Depending on your business model, these could be articles, blog posts, case histories,  product-usage articles. These pre-sales pages help segue from promotion and marketing content to direct sales copy.  Your goal is to create pages with content that focuses on key search terms for your products or services. Now that you've taken a look at the new content model for websites, here's some ideas for the tools and tactics needed to convert your existing site.


Without reservation, I recommend the WordPress blogging platform to create your online marketing powerhouse. But don't take my word for it, Technorati found in its, State of the Blogosphere 2011 that 51% of blogs in the world use WordPress. What started as a simple blog platform has grown into a full-fledged Content Management System (CMS). If you're considering a website makeover, get the right tool, get WordPress.


The challenge is how to quickly get from A to B without busting your budget. Here's some of the tactics I use to build a new site from the inside out.
  • Install WordPress behind your existing site. Installing in a sub-folder allows you to work quietly in private, using the existing domain name and email addresses. Once the new site is ready, it's a simple task to tear down the virtual plywood to reveal the new site.
  • Focus on people not technology. Define your market, products and communications approach before building a site no one will visit.
  • Define multiple paths. Your Google visitors will arrive on your article pages or blog posts. Those who hear your name out loud will hit the home page. Chart each of the paths visitors will take as they experience your content. Build links between pages that provide written invitations to explore your site.
  • Allow for multiple devices. Individuals will visit our site using smartphones, tablets, notebooks and everything in between. Get comfortable with the concept of Responsive Web Design.
Next Time Everyone seems to be Gaga over Social Networking. Next week I'll help you sort out what to leave in and what to leave out of your Social Networking Strategy.