by: Daniel Blaho
Building an audience
Your website is out there, but what is next? You have to build an engaged audience in order for your website to be successful. One way to engage your audience is to have great functionality on the website. Give your users a reason to return by providing a service or tool automated on your website.
I know, this sounds like terribly complicated stuff. It's no doubt that most companies cannot pull something like that off without the help of a third party, but the ROI is there. Once you are able to start building an engaged user base, it is then easier to market to them, know what they want, etc. Not only that, but the more active users you have, the better for all intensive SEO purposes.
How can functionality help search engine optimization? Simple, the more traffic you have feeding to your site the higher you will rank across all search engines. If you have something on your site that your clients will use on a regular basis, you will inherently gain more traffic. It doesn't necessarily have to be anything complicated; even having helpful links will keep your user returning.
So what is functionality. Functionality, by definition, is what separates a static site from a dynamic site. A static site is usually one that is designed and then just sits there. To create a dynamic site start with the low hanging fruit; some easy to implement features could include a blog or news features, events calendar, forum, tailored foms, helpful links and answers to frequently asked questions. The proof is in the pudding though; add some of these features and watch your site rank rise.
If you want to take it to the next level, try to implement a truly custom feature. As you plan custom development, think about (or even ask) what your clients or prospects could use. Remember to consult with experts and third parties in order to see if what you want to do is feasible. Once you have a custom feature on your website, you will notice that it is much easier to market online because of visibility, functionality and audience appeal. So what is a custom feature? Let your imagination soar; when it comes to custom development, the sky is the limit. Imagine if your prospects could get a quote straight from your website, or they could log in and find all of their product or service records.
I know what you're thinking, "that sounds expensive." Well, it is, but the return is there and it can give your company or organization a huge leg up in your marketplace. Research and find a firm that is confident that they can meet and expand on your expectations.