August 2009 Newsletter

Starting to Think About Your 2010 Website?

**** The 4specs Perspective

In this economic climate can you afford to put your website on a back burner?

Step 1 - At no cost. install web analytics

I frequently talk with marketing professionals who are planning to update their website. This newsletter is the first of a series focused on web design for the building product manufacturer. Building product websites are very different than blogs, game sites, consumer e-commerce websites and news and informational websites. The purpose of a building product website is to sell one's products during the long design and specification process, through construction. The website design needs to correspond to that purpose.

My goals are:
1. To make it easy for architects and specifiers to use your site,
2. Increase the number of users from search engines, and
3. Set up your site for easy future maintenance and development.

We have touched on many of these topics before. This series will be in greater detail and will provide a map of specific steps and recommendations to take. Meanwhile, here are some of the earlier newsletters from our Marketing 101 pages:
http://www.4specs.com/marketing/

The first step, before taking any action, is to install Google Analytics (or another excellent analytics program) on your existing website. Google Analytics is free and one of the highest rated systems around. This will enable you to establish a baseline for current performance before making any changes. If you can show major improvements in the number of users coming to your site, it will be easy to justify spending more money to further improve your site. If the redesign fails, good analytics will give you that feedback as quickly as possible so corrective action can be taken.

Here is how to install Google Analytics.
http://www.4specs.com/s2a/news/0706_google_analytics.html

Google Analytics is free. The only cost is the time to add the code to the pages you would like to track. You can track outbound links and pdfs by adding some code to each link. The payoff is great - you start to learn how effective your online advertising is (cost per person visiting your website) and what terms people are using to locate your website in Google, Bing and Yahoo.

These newsletters will advocate simple, easy to use websites. We will advocate using standard HTML and having greater control of your online information. We will recommend topics to discuss with your web designer, be they a web design firm, an individual or an employee inhouse.

Action this month: Install Google Analytics on your website. Look at the results after 2 weeks. Start to track every month. Here is a suggested form to start with:
http://www.4specs.com/about/spreadsheet.html

Questions and comments always appreciated.

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Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
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