The 4Cs For A World-Class Corporate Website
Dotsavvy has been building corporate websites for over a decade. Actually, around 13 years or so to be more or less precise. In that time, we estimate that we have worked on around 600 websites, give or take. Thats a lot of websites! This is everything from basic landing pages to full-fledged corporate websites with all the bells and whistles featuring Intranets, extranets and e-commerce, as well as all sorts of interesting capabilities.
Even though websites run the whole gamut, one thing that remains true is that the corporate website is the most important one of them all for organisations given that for all intents and purposes it really is the only form of ‘owned’ media available to them. Therefore, it comes as something of a surprise just how bad many of Kenya’s corporate websites are from this perspective.
Over the years, the team at Dotsavvy has come to identify what we think are the most important factors to building a truly successful corporate website. These could be called the ‘immutable laws’ for a great corporate website that any organisation in Kenya needs to follow – circa 2015 and beyond. We call it the ‘the 4Cs for a world-class corporate website’, as follows:
It goes without saying that unless your content is actually great (no, not good, great!) its unlikely anyone will bother visiting your website more than once. Therefore, its incumbent upon organisations to invest substantially in first understanding what content their customers, prospects and partners (i.e. collectively their stakeholders) actually want to consume on their website. As things stand, the majority of corporate websites in Kenya spend more time talking about how great they are rather than offering content that their stakeholders will actually find useful in solving their needs.Sadly, over the years, we have noticed that the majority of organisations in Kenya actually do have content but its often not in the right quality or quantity for online consumption. Another major consideration is that Google these days uses high quality content as a major signal for search engine rankings. In a nutshell, if your content is of poor quality and is not regularly updated its unlikely your organisation will feature on the first page for relevant search results on this basis.
One of the easiest and best ways to ensure that your content is regularly updated and relevant is by having a corporate blog as part of your corporate website. Regular corporate blogging based on content that is relevant to your stakeholders will yield not just great search engine visibility but also a regular following of readers for your corporate website. In addition, over time, great content will lead to increased business through sales leads generated.
- ConversionsAny corporate website worth its salt these days MUST ultimately be designed to generate business. This is not just the idea of selling online via e-commerce but also lead generation via users of the website getting in touch for the products or services on offer. In classic digital parlance, this is often referred to as a ‘conversion’ whereby your website traffic ultimately yields a positive business outcome in one form or another.
Its sad to see that the majority of corporate websites in Kenya are NOT designed to convert new business by having features and functionalities that will ultimately lead to conversions. One of the simplest devices for driving conversions is having what are known as call-to-actions or CTAs for short. CTAs are prompts on your website that leads a visitor to take a very specific action. This can be anything from asking them to sign-up for your e-newsletter, to paying for services online via credit card or engaging with your customer service department using live chat. All of these actions are considered to be conversions.
- ContextIn building a corporate website, it is essential to consider context as a key requirement for great results. However, exactly what do we mean when we say context? From our perspective, one of the biggest challenges online is getting the right amount of attention when there is so much noise in every conceivable corner. Therefore, your corporate website MUST focus on a niche that it can dominate by being the authority in that topical space.
A simple example of context is that if you are in the safaris business its highly saturated with all sorts of companies offering everything under the sun. However, what if your website is the one that has the best context for JUST the Nairobi National Park. Or, what if your corporate website has the best information for insurance services in Kenya specifically? By localising content and focussing on a niche, your corporate website can dominate a segment of the general marketplace, online.
- CommunityThere is a pretty good reason why social media is so popular. In a nutshell, it puts media in the control of the people instead of brands. This changes everything. However, the sad truth is that brands don’t own their own communities on social media and ultimately its the likes of Facebook and Twitter that actually do. It gets worse in that over the years brands can no longer talk to the majority of their social media communities for free and now have to invest in ads to reach them.
Kenya is a market that like many globally that is more or less obsessed with social media even though there is evidence of diminishing returns. Therefore, going forward, corporate websites will need to embrace social media by building their own communities AWAY from the Facebooks and Twitters of the world. This means deploying features and functionalities such as live chat, discussion forums, blogs, etc where loyalists and brand advocates can socialise directly with the organisation and its brand(s)