Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Does Your Website Measure Up?

(1:10) It's unusual to find a marina that doesn't have a website. It's something that's expected, much like having a phone number. Most boaters will turn to your website in the final stages of their decision making. It can be the place where you will either close or lose your customer.

(1:03) Is your website up to snuff? Does it offer the information and enticement a boater needs to choose your facility over your competitors? A website is no longer a checkoff item. It's more important than ever to have a professionally designed, up-to-date, and appealing website.

(0:56) I have touched on websites in other Minutes yet I continue to find old-fashion, out-of-date, inadequate sites that I believe are doing more harm than good. How can you ensure that your website is providing maximum marketing impact. After all, your website works for you 24/7.

(0:50) First, make sure that your website has been designed professionally by someone experienced in creating websites. I want to emphasize the importance of design over technology. The mechanics of putting together a good website have become quite simple over the years as more and better tools keep emerging.

(0:43) It is beyond imagination today that a graphic design company would not be experienced in website implementation. So when you search for someone to do your website focus on their design capabilities. Look for sites you find appealing and easy to use and find out who designed them.

(0:36) Second, make sure that the design allows you to do content changes yourself. You should never have to go back to the design company to change pricing or update your events calendar. Anyone with even modest computer skills can be trained to do this. It would be wise to have more than one person who knows how, to ensure you can always make an important update when needed.

(0:28) If you need to add a new content page or modify the website design then go back to the design company. They will ensure that your site will maintain that professional, put together look.

(0:22) Third, make sure you are providing boaters with the information they want and need to select your marina.

(0:17) Finally, never let your site stagnate. Make it someone's job to periodically review every page of your website to make sure the information is up-to-date and still accurate. For example, how many of you have changed your copyright information to reflect the current year? When I find a site that shows "Copyright 2009", I just shake my head.

(0:09) Your website is a critical part of your marketing and sales message but it can work for you or against you. Today an interested prospect will visit your website before making the decision to call - or not. Make sure it is helping you build your business.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.