Are websites a thing of the past?

For years, the only way to access a business online was through a website, but as the Web evolves, and outlets like social networking, blogs and YouTube continue to change the way we spend our time online, websites have taken the backseat in a lot of marketing circles.

This, by any means, does not mean that the website is obsolete! Websites still dominate in Web searches, and while their function has changed, they still serve as an indispensable tool for online marketing, so don’t neglect yours! Let’s talk about how websites should be used in the Web 2.0 world.

A Jumping Point
Your website should act as the hub for everything else you have online. Users should be able to jump directly to your blog, your Facebook account and YouTube channel from your website.

Think of it as a guiding hand in your marketing strategy; by linking to your other content from your website, users will be able to easily navigate to whatever they are looking for, without leaving your website. If you are in the carpet business, and someone is looking for information on carpet care but can’t find it on your website, they will go elsewhere!

A Living, Breathing Space
Your website shouldn’t be a time capsule. Websites can be difficult to build, which is why many businesses hire Web designers to create them, but once the site is designed and published, they make the mistake of ending the contract with their Web designers and let their pages sit for months or even years without changing.

You wouldn’t submit the same press release or publish the same newsletter month after month, year after year, so why let your website stay frozen in time? Not only will updating your website frequently keep your content fresh, but it will give users a reason to come back and see what is new.

Anchoring Tool
Websites should act in concert with the rest of your online marketing strategy. Everything you put online should augment your overall Web presence. Whatever else you have on the Web should reflect your website’s style, content, and vision.

It’s important to keep your website unique enough that it acts as the centerpiece for your overall marketing strategy. Your Facebook Page or YouTube Channel should enhance the way users interact with you and your website—not drive it.

Easy Way to Find Important Information
Websites still act as the first impression for a lot of users, which means all of your basic information should be easy to find. Web users are in the habit of using search engines to find businesses if they just want simple contact information.

Keeping that in mind, remember to put your e-mail address, phone number, mailing address, etc. in an easy-to-find spot. Having great content will also ensure that your website is easy to find through popular search engines.

It’s difficult to describe the role of websites in five years as they’ve changed over the past two, but chances are they will still have an incredible and important use. For now, consider them as important as anything in your marketing portfolio and don’t let them go stale!