Are you proud of your website?
This might sound like a strange question but I come across so many people whose answer is No! Unless your business is e-commerce where your website IS your business, most people are likely to really focus on their site while it is being developed, but after this it tends to just get left. All too often, development of a website is seen as a project, and once it is done, it is done. Inevitably, a business evolves and moves forward so it’s not surprising that a static website gets left behind. Only this week I have met with 2 potential clients who each said the same thing:
"Have you looked at our website? It's really old, we haven't touched it for several years. We are working on getting a new site developed."
They were embarrassed by their website and the last thing they wanted was for a potential customer to visit it. OK, both said that they were working on replacing their sites but I feel it misses the point. Replacing an older site with a new site can solve the problem for now, but there is the risk that it will be ‘back to square one‘ in a year or two. Good for web developers maybe but not ideal for you! The internet is dynamic and ever-changing, as is business. These days there is no reason why a website should not be the same – and good reasons why it should.
To start taking a different view of your site, here are 5 questions to ask:
Do you like the look of your website?
In my opinion, too much emphasis is placed on site ‘look’. Don’t get me wrong, design is important. If you are going to be proud of your site, you must like the look of it. The design should reflect your branding and corporate style, but I feel sometimes graphic design takes over and excessive focus on the ‘look’ delivers a site with style, but no substance – and it is substance that delivers over time.
Does your site do justice to your business?
In simple terms, does your site clearly tell visitors what you do and how they can benefit from doing business with you? Not just in terms of products and services, but how is your business better than your competitor? Why should a potential customer choose you?
"I didn't know you did that...."
Is your site easy to navigate?
At a seminar yesterday, one of the speakers said that some research by Google suggests that people can take as little as 1/20 second to make up their mind about a website. I’m not sure about this figure but even if it is out by a factor of 100, that’s still only 5 seconds. Visitors come to your site with a question. If they can’t find what they are looking for quickly, or at least see the way to find it, they will be gone!
Is your site up to date?
I mentioned above that business evolves. Over time, you may add new products or services and drop others, or take a different approach to working with customers & clients. If your website doesn’t keep up with these changes, people visiting your site will get the wrong message – an easy way to miss opportunities.
Will your site still be up to date in 12 months?
Hopefully, when you launch your new website, the content will be up to date! But how long will it take for things to change? It’s amazing how quickly businesses move on. In our experience, most of the websites we look after on behalf of clients have new content added every 2-3 months, or more often! Another trend is the use of web development platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc. These tools allow you to develop a highly functional website quickly, easily and on a modest budget. They also offer sophisticated content management making it easy to keep your website content in line with what is going on in your business. All this makes them extremely popular with both self-builders and web development companies but a trade off is that the systems need to be regularly updated. All of these platforms release regular back-end/system updates which you need to apply to your own website (or get your web company to do it).
So, are you proud of your website? If the answer is yes, you should have a marketing tool that can really help you to drive your business. If the answer is no….. Don’t forget, I am always happy to talk – or call me 01457 851111