Many business owners have no idea why they have a website other than to provide basic contact information — like an online business card. For them, a website is a necessary evil… they know they should have a website, but it has become just another expense for which there is little to no return on investment. They have no idea how their site is performing or how they would even measure its “performance”. For many, creating a website was just the thing to do at the time; and they haven’t updated it in years. But in the back of their minds, some of these folks are worried. Having that pitiful website sitting out there in cyberspace keeps nagging at them. When they can’t take it any more, they cave in and schedule a web consultation.
We start with a simple question. “What do you want your website to do?”
The responses we get are sometimes pretty funny. Many of them focus on how the new site should look. Stuff like spinning logos, fancy drop-down menus, buttons, pop-ups, sounds and lights.
Obviously that’s not what we mean. We need to find out exactly what your site should do for your business. Just like a postcard mailer, your website is a marketing piece. And every bit of marketing you do should have defined business goals that can be measured.
So we talk a bit and agree that one thing your site should do is attract new customers. This is definitely a good business goal to have that can be measured, but it means you’re going to have to do more than just create a pretty site, wait by the cash register and count the dollars rolling in. As an important element of your corporate identity, it is true that your website should have the same professional look as your other marketing pieces. But it’s more than just appearance. Customers should know more about your company after visiting. Designed properly, your website should instill a certain feeling in your visitors. Trust is a word that gets thrown around when the subject is turning visitors into clients. The problem is, you can’t establish trust by telling them how great you are. (That will actually have the opposite effect.) One great way to establish trust with potential clients is to share useful information with them without asking for anything in return. For many companies, this is done through a blog. Share enough free (but valuable) info through your blog and before you know it your potential clients will see you as the industry expert that you are. And if your site then gives them a way to reach out and engage with you when they are looking for an estimate or ready to buy, you are on your way to building a larger client base.
Or maybe when we talk things through we agree that one thing your site must do is give your business a voice, a face, a personality. Also a worthy business goal and one that can be measured, albeit subjectively. A blog would be a good way of accomplishing this as well.
If your business is going to compete and thrive in your industry, you definitely need a good website. Your new site must be easy for search engines to index and find. It must be easy for potential clients to navigate. And since you’re going to be adding fresh content to your blog, it has to be easy for you to update on your own. You’re in luck… with any of today’s most popular content management systems (such as WordPress), you get the capability to do all of this for free.
So your current website is awful and you’ve finally taken the first step in changing that… admitting it. Is now the time to deal with it further?