Your website may be the best tool you have to improve your public relations and boost your image. However, in order for your site to be effective, you first have to learn what elements make for a great site, and how users will be affected by your web design decisions. Here are some ideas from Webs Union to get you thinking about your site in terms of PR.
Defining your website as part of your toolbox
In order for your website to have a positive impact on your PR, you first have to know that that’s what it’s there for. Too often we talk to businesses about their boring old websites, and they see their site as a one-way street, helping users find them on the internet, but not providing anything useful in return. These are typically the sites that are non-responsive, provide a bare minimum of company information, and leave consumers feeling underwhelmed. If you want your website to be effective for PR, you have to decide upfront that it is a communications tool you will be using on an ongoing basis, not just a static signpost for people searching the web.
Yes, even PR can have measurable metrics to work with. It’s important to understand that building your site to become a PR tool is about more than just conversions though. In most cases, PR-related metrics have to do with customer service statistics and human resources accomplishments. You need to have these targets clearly defined if you want to know how your site is holding up.
Make every page great
If you are familiar with SEO, you know that you want to have as many opportunities as possible for users to find your business in a search and to ensure this you can appoint SEO expertise who can get your website to be an ultimate PR tool by helping generate large anchored traffic.
Many businesses pour their heart and soul into creating an incredible homepage and then fail to dedicate the time necessary to their other pages. Unfortunately for them, most users will find their site by using keywords that are not on the homepage. Instead, they end up on a poorly designed secondary page, and never get to see the brilliant work that went into the main page. If this is you, you need to spend some serious time thinking about how to bring every page of your site up to the standard of your homepage, so that visitors will see your vision from whatever angle they approach, not just the front door.
Customers actually enjoy hearing about what your company is doing behind the scenes. They want to know about new developments, new members of the team, and more. They also want to be kept up-to-date on legal and industry changes that could impact them. Some of the most successful PR sites around have focused on creating a strong news feed featuring major announcements, feel-good stories and more. The best part is that the stories can be short and to the point, and your readers will eat them up.
If you haven’t read the statistics lately, it is a good idea to go look up how many users are searching on their phones these days instead of with desktop devices. Hint: mobile searches are WAY up. In order for your website to perform well, you need to be sure that users can open your webpage in a mobile-ready version and move easily around your site. Too many sites translate to mobile poorly, leaving users unable to scroll or navigate menus. This can be supremely frustrating and drive customers away. You should be especially aware of any full page pop-up ads that users cannot escape from once they’re triggered. Mobile awareness also takes us to our next point, geolocations.
Everybody loves a hometown story. They love small businesses that started local and outgrew their towns, making it to the big city. Using geolocation tags throughout your site helps users find businesses that are close to them, rather than always jumping to national chains. If you are a small time business, you can take advantage of this directly by locals knowing that you are just like them, and you share a part of their story.
All of the above were technical examples of things that should be done to improve the user experience on your site. However, there is another piece of the PR puzzle that you absolutely must have: your impact story. A major part of PR is telling people about who you are and what you hope to accomplish. You don’t have to tell this story in a plain old ‘About Me’ section. You can spread your story throughout your site, sharing major initiatives, posting pictures of community events or big accomplishments, and so much more. Readers are unlikely to read a long corporate history written out in paragraphs, but they can be enticed by images and quick updates about the things your company has done in the past and what they hope to do in the future.
If great PR is your goal, your impact vision and your history are one of the greatest weapons you have. Your website needs to highlight these things, not just leave them in the shadows.
All of these are examples of how you can turn your website into a true masterclass in public relations. If you are unsure of where, to begin with, a web builder can give you the resources you need to begin transforming your site right away. First, you and your team will need to sit down and decide what you hope to accomplish with your site. This usually means helping everyone to understand that your website is not just a directory, it is a living tool that will help you engage with readers day after day.
Then you can begin setting clear goals, looking at your business’s impact statement, and working on new mechanics to take advantage of today’s mobile technology. The end result is a website that will draw users in, get them excited about who you are, not just what you do, and make them feel a part of your family.