Online Marketing: Develop Your Hub Website

By Alexander Hiam

Your hub website is your main site used in your online marketing where you provide broad coverage of all-important topics, each under a separate tab. If you plan to sell products online, it’s also home to your e-commerce site. Your hub website should look and feel a lot like a traditional business website, because it’s the all-in-one site for customers, employees, the media, and the just plain curious.

Why do you need a hub website?

What makes it a hub is that it links all of your smaller, single-purpose sites and places, including landing pages to support web ads, your blog, your Facebook page, your Flickr albums, and your YouTube videos.

Whether you ask for professional proposals from design firms or design your own site by using templates, make sure your website has a custom look built around your logo. Your website needs to put your logo and business name or brand name out there consistently and clearly. Don’t compromise your brand identity just to accommodate a cheap template or a snazzy design concept.

No matter whether you design your own hub website or have someone design one for you, you should also consider adding an online shopping cart. Many basic hosting plans include a shopping cart, so you can implement this feature fairly easily by using theirs.

And note that you need to have a dedicated merchant banking account linked to the shopping cart. Talk to your banker about this. If he looks at you blankly when you ask, then you need a more modern bank — switch at once.

Other social media marketing opportunities

A few years back, nobody thought about the role of Twitter and hashtags in lead generation. Web marketing was more passive, with most marketers having just a single, central website, usually informative but occasionally with a shopping cart.

You needed to be good with HTML to create and manage a good website. Now you don’t. There are so many user-friendly options for every aspect of web marketing that the do-it-yourself web marketer is in clover (and, no, that’s not a new app — at least not yet).

The paradox of web marketing is that even though it’s all so much easier to do, there’s so much you can do that it’s still not a good idea to try to do everything at your own desk. Working with specialized web services and sites that automate or template-ize tasks is wise. You may even find it helpful to hire specialists.

Just make sure you budget something toward web marketing — ideally 20 percent of your total marketing budget, whether that’s $600 or $60,000 — because the web is too big a marketing opportunity to miss out on.