A new potential client has just been referred by a trusted source. They are a Chamber of Business organisation in a region heavily focused on tourism so I'm definitely interested.There's a fair bit of information below and I hopefully don't drown you in it.
The Current Website
I've had a preliminary look at the site and yes, there are a number of ways to improve.
First, a couple of questions.
1. Is there a ball park budget in mind? How much it will cost is a bit like an open string. What I've done is give you some thoughts and costings below.
2. Is there an Economic Development Plan/ Marketing Plan/ Research which we can derive a more detailed, specific brief?
Do you know what is the profile of the most desired target customers - couples, families at XMAS time; all year round retirees?
Why here? Corporate escape? Holiday? Weekend? What are the USP's (Unique Selling Points)
Benefits? Which target group provides or contributes the most economic and social benefit/ spends the most money;
Who are the desired target market influencers, are they online and where are they?
From a maxys point of view we can either help as a digital media consultant/ project manager; new website development and/or ongoing website development.
It basically comes down to size of the business, budget, resources and the nature of the relationship.
Digital Marketing Strategy A website is just once piece of an overall marketing and media strategy - I'd argue in today's media world the most important element.
All media should include a tag for the website.
Maxys can help you develop a highly effective digital media strategy.
Some other marketing questions -Why would people choose you? Family friendly, not overly developed etc.
What is the competition? Typical SWOT analysis.
All these type of questions help define "the brief" - the content and structure of the website.
From a web development point of view
Here are a few pointers.
1. Yes, Search Engine Optiminisation (SEO) is very very important - this is where most new customers begin their search.
Looking at the existing website source code, the current site is not optimised for search engines at all.
Today most people begin their search on Google. What that means is knowing the most important keywords being searched - for example - "holiday Byron Bay", "holiday Yamba", "accommodation north coast" etc and then rebuilding the website so that it incorporates SEO throughout the design and content.
There's then a whole lot of other technical things including ratio of keywords in content; keywords titles; links from high ranking sites etc that increase your search engine ranking but that all comes into design and development.
As an example -
Here is what we did for one of our business partners - RidgeFilms a Sydney corporate video production company by optimising their website (which we built).
You know may on Google the top bar and the right column are paid listings BUT the most important (but difficult to achieve) is the FREE indexed content below the paid ads. (Most people click on the indexed search results).
Ridge have been ranked #1 on indexed content on Google for their targeted keywords now for over five months.
95% of new customers now come through Google. They have implemented a customer centric/ testimonial driven approached.
Google is constantly reindexing so Ridge have an ongoing program to make sure they stay #1. This involves the management of Ridge actively participating in online forums, press releases, updating news and event etc. For their part the revenue generated far outweighs the cost and time.
Cost: Initial SEO is included in new site design. Ongoing depends on what skills and resources you have available - outsource or DIY.
2. Website Development
From a technology point of view we develop all our websites now with the very popular Open Source Content Management System (CMS) called Joomla. Basically Joomla is highly functional and gives you, the business owner the ability to easily update and manage your website content. Please note, there is a requirement for ongoing investment, either time or money is maintaining the website - Google loves new content.
Cost: Most of the Joomal code is FREE but some modules are commercial (average $50). The real cost is in design and implementation. You can create a good basic website from $5-$10K depending on what functionality and features are required.
3. Online Customer Engagement - When visitors get there.
Most website are pretty boring and ineffective so you need to cut through and grab attention. Facts are people are busy and impatient - you basically have less than 15 seconds to grab attention before they'll flick to another site.
To get attention I'm a big believer in using video to bring a website to life and our new CLIVE technology to increase online customer engagement http://www.clivevideo.com.au
A CLIVEvideo overlay is $3,500 for a 30 sec clip production which would include script writing and talent. Three is also a monthly streaming cost. 3,500 plays per month would be $35.
Have a look at our customer showcase
CLIVE is very good but we also recommend video to tell a story - a corporate video.
A corporate video for example the SSHED http://www.sshed.com.au or Sutherland Shire Council http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=v-yQXE73FpU production costs range from $7,500 to $20,000 for a 1-2 minute promotion video.
Note: The key issue with video will be what sort of bandwidth the majority of your potential customers will be on. If your visitors are from the major population areas with good broadband then video works great. The other important element with video is making sure it is FAST and served via a global video server - what that means is a dedicated video server close to the customer. Youtube is a cost effective video server (FREE).
4. Social Bookmaking.
The only other thing I'd add is the need to create community (local business directory; local blogs etc) around the website and incorporate social bookmarking technologies (links to Facebook/ Twitter/ RSS feeds etc).
What you may want is to have someone actively building your online brand - tracking what people are saying about you and your competitors on conversation platforms such as Twitter. http://www.twitter.com
This is interesting...
Twitter search on "Yamba" http://search.twitter.com/search?q=yamba
Twitter search on "Byron Bay" http://search.twitter.com/search?q=byron+bay
Look forward to speaking with you soon.