TNS Media Intelligence's recent report on US ad spending in in the first half of 2008 reveals that advertising expenditures are down 1.6% for the first half of this year. This should not come as much of a surprise considering the current state of the US Economy. The one medium that had signicant growth was the Internet, as online ad spending grew by 8.0%.
I imagine that many of our readers have engaged in some sort of online advertising this year, whether it be via Google Ads, Display Ads on a blog or news site, or another method. What is most shocking to me is the amount of ads that lead back to truly poor websites. Many times, the site won't even be optimized for my browser (Mozilla Firefox
) and will look broken when I visit the site.
It boggles my mind that people are willing to pour money into online advertising to push traffic to a site that does not speak well for their brand. If you were purchasing a targeted ad in a newspaper that would be seen by thousands of consumers, would you just let your next door neighbor's kid doodle on a piece of paper? Of course not! You'd make sure that the ad was a polished and distinguished representation of your brand. Why should it be any different when your advertising online?
Your website is most likely the most important representation of your brand in today's marketing climate - it's critical that you make a great impression. It may mean that you have to spend a little more than you originally expected to get a great design and equip it with a powerful content management system
. However, that cost becomes much more palatable when you think of the longterm implications of your online investment and the resources you will dedicate to driving people to the site.
A good web designer will talk through your goals of your site with you to ensure it will engage your target and create leads for you. Some basic things to remember when launching a new site are:
- It's important to be able to manage your website's content, as new content will engage visitors and encourage them to return.
- Functional web design and structure is always more important than being extra flashy - make it easy for visitors to get to the content that's relevant to them.
- Create good content! This is one of the pivotal things that distinguishes a good site from a bad one.
- Feel comfortable with your web design firm. You'll be working intimately with them and you are making a large investment in them; make sure to browse their portfolio as well as their service policy. Working with a good partner will make the experience much easier on you.
Well, those were just a few tips, but the most important takeaway here is the importance of having a well designed site. It only makes sense that your organization's most visible element also be its best.