Saturday, October 29, 2011


We all know how important a website is to a business's online strategy. Almost every business, whether B2B, B2C, non-profit, local or global needs an online presence to reach buyers in the internet age. A company's website is its virtual storefront.

Shockingly, a recent survey by 1&1 Internet reported that up to 40% of small-to-medium sized businesses still don't have a website. Even if you're on social media, operating without a website is just silly. A website is an essential piece of your online marketing strategy.

Whether you're looking to build your first website, or if your existing site just isnt getting the traffic or leads you were hoping for, you may wonder what it really takes to have a great website.

Having a website alone isn't the key to great results. Instead, it's the ability turn your website into an inbound marketing machine. Your website has a hefty goal and it needs to wear many hats. A website needs to not just exist, it needs to perform. It needs to attract visitors, educate them and convince them to buy. But I know what you're thinking - easier said than done.

Today, the web is social and interactive. It's not static like most websites tend to be. As such, a website can no longer sustain as its own island. We now need to consider integrating search, social media, content, flogging, and more with our websites. Gone are the days where all it took was a URL, fancy Flash graphics, and an expensive advertising campaign to temporarily boost traffic.

The reason for this shift is largely due to changing buyer behavior. Today's buyer wishes to consume information when they want and how they want and often times without the involvement of a sales person. And more importantly, they want to be educated and not sold to. As you can see from the following chart, websites and new forms of inbound marketing content (such as podcasts, bogging and social media) have become a considerable factor in the buying cycle.

You'll also find in HubSpot's 2011 State of Inbound Marketing Report that inbound marketing is more effective in reaching today's buyer. Results show that inbound marketing has a 62% less cost per lead compared to outbound, or traditional, marketing.

What might not be apparently visible here is the role your website plays. It's actually a big one. In most cases, traffic from blogs, social media, organic and paid search end up converting into leads or sales on your main website. Without a website acting as an online basecamp, it would be difficult to attract new business to one source.

This is why having an effective website is so crucial and that it contains key elements to driving more traffic, leads, and sales.

So without further ado, I present to you 25 Website 'Must Haves' for Driving Traffic, Leads and Sales. To leam more about a particular must-have, you'll find additional resources at the bottom of each topic. Definitely take advantage of these if you're looking to master inbound marketing.

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