A Website? Why Would You Possibly Want a Website?

by David Heitman

The phrase “we need a new website” is one we hear a lot—whether it’s a new start-up ready to make a place for itself on the Internet, or an established company needing to revamp its tired old site.

The problem is that having a website—a substantial commitment in itself—is only part of an integrated Web presence. To develop a website, no matter how engaging or beautifully designed, can be like hanging the Mona Lisa on a palm tree on a desert island. Beautiful and intriguing, but nearly invisible.

That’s why it’s important to think in terms of developing a Web presence, not merely a website. A Web presence takes into account the effort to attract new visitors, build a loyal following and create a sense of community with the primary website as the hub of all the activity.

Surrounding the website, and feeding into it, are unique landing pages, multiple microsites, electronic newsletters and news releases. Then there is the bilateral communication between the website and social media outlets like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

A blog is an essential part of the mix too. We’ve found that to be especially true with our clientele. Our clients consist almost entirely of companies lead by visionary business leaders who have something important and interesting to say to their industries. Blogging is usually the best vehicle for them to share this intellectual capital.

A blog can either live within the website, or out side of it or both. Same with Facebook, You Tube and Twitter feeds. Landing pages that focus on a specific product, service, promotion or a division of a company create a valuable supplemental presence on the Web.

And then there is search.

The single most powerful force in marketing today must be taken into account when building a Web presence. An intentional, intelligent, two-pronged approach to search that addresses organic SEO and paid search is the key here. That means that as you write the text for each webpage, not only must you connect with your audience through great copy writing, you must also consider the way Google and other search engines will score the relevancy of your content.

As with all things, a commitment to visibility and relevance on the Web involves more than it would appear at first glance. It’s important to take the larger, more three-dimensional approach to communications and build a robust, integrated Web presence.

The strategic planning and work involved is significantly greater, but so are the rewards.