Your website in 2019

Your website in 2019

Over the past few weeks, we have had a number of clients contact us all saying the same thing, they want to refresh their website. All of these set me thinking about websites and how they fit into a business.

Things have changed a lot over the past few years. Up until quite recently, a business website was normally either a static ‘Brochure’ site or a data-driven e-commerce ‘Shop’. These 2 options have merged and nowadays, virtually all websites are data-driven, whether or not you actually sell products or services online.

Here are some ideas how you can check your website is fit for 2019.

Your shop window

It is a bit of a cliché but your website IS your shop window. Whether you are a fully-fledged online shop, a business professional, or a sole-trader just launching your new venture, when prospective customers/clients want to know more about what you offer, the first place they visit is your website. It is vital that your website ‘tells the story‘ of your business that you want your customers to hear.

Look is important but experience is more important

I was in a meeting recently (with one of the clients I talked about above) talking about a new website, and the primary thing they wanted to know was ‘what is the new site going to look like?‘ Now, don’t get me wrong, a website needs to look right – that is, it needs to look right for its business. It is a part of ‘telling the story’ – but it is only a part.

The reality with modern business websites is that the majority are built around pre-designed templates. There is relatively little bespoke design work going on – design is expensive! The thing that makes a website stand out is good images. Understanding what photography you want and commissioning a professional photographer can be the most realistic approach to getting a website that works for you visually.

Even cracking photography is only part of the story. If your starting point is simply ‘What’s it going to look like?’,  you have missed asking the most important question:

What do I want my website to do?

Another way of asking this question is to think about the experience you want your site visitors to have and what actions you want them to take.

Different pages, different objectives

The most important page in your site is the first page people see. While this is normally your ‘Home Page’, it might not be. A website can have an array of ‘Landing Pages’ all designed as a different first step in a website experience. As it is the most common, let’s look at your Home Page.

I believe a website homepage needs to do 2 things:

  1. When a new visitor arrives and takes a look at your home page, they are looking for something. At this point, they will only give you a few seconds to come to the conclusion: It looks like I’m in the right place. This isn’t to say they can see exactly what they need, rather that they have confidence they can find it in your site.
  2. Once your visitor is happy that they are in the right place they then need to know where next?  What is the next step to find exactly what your visitor is looking for.

This second step is likely to be a link to another part of your website so at this point, your home page has done its job. Beyond the home page, you should be aiming to assist and guide your visitor to their goal, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

It’s not about you

I’m sorry, but you aren’t as important as your customer – at least not in their mind!

An effective website really embraces this concept and focuses on engaging with visitors drawing them in, rather than talking at them. Of course, yours is a commercial operation and your goal is to do profitable business with your customers. You need to weave your sales proposition, features and benefits into your engagement.

This way you lead people to buying from you rather than you selling to them – almost always a more effective approach for a long and mutually beneficial relationship – the best sort!

The calls to action

No website is perfect, nor can you second-guess the requirements and expectations of every single one of your site visitors. Hopefully your site does deliver for most visitors so, when they find what they are looking for, you must have a clear call to action telling them what to do next in the process of doing business with you.

For the minority who lose their way on your site, the importance is options. If a visitor feels that you look like a good option for their needs but they just can’t find what they want, offering ways to make bespoke enquiry, (maybe by email, telephone or chat system) can be key.

Let’s face it, unless your website is an online shop where people can place orders, the primary goal of most websites is to generate an enquiry!

Your website is a process, not an event

Change is constant. In 6 months, your business will be different to what it is today. 6 months later it will be different again.

Will your website adapt to keep up? Too often the answer is No. I started this article saying a number of clients had approached us looking for an updated website. This is what happens. A website is seen as a project. You build a site and launch it. Although there is normally talk about content management, in my experience, this rarely leads to anything significant.

The event of a new website launch slips behind the natural process of business evolution.

By seeing your website as a process from the outset creates a platform where website support, maintenance and update is built in. The evolution of your website becomes a natural element of the evolution of your business. You won’t need to be looking for a new website in 3 or 4 years’ time. You’ll already have one!

If you would like to talk to us about your website as a process for 2019 and beyond, please get in touch.

Filed under: Marketing Tips, Website Development, WordPress

About David Wright

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Every business has a brand. Building yours can be the best way of adding sustained value to your business. A strong brand also builds market confidence and creates a great platform from which to develop sustainable business opportunities.

I combine professional marketing qualifications and experience with a solid understanding of real business to discuss and advise on building your business brand using effective marketing communication in a down-to-earth, no jargon way.

As well as discussing plans and strategies I am keen to 'get my hands dirty' and work with clients to make sure things happen!

  • Understanding you, your business, and what you want to achieve
  • Helping you choose the right tools for a practical marketing communications plan
  • Working with you to make sure things happen - and keep happening

My business goals are to achieve effective, long term relationships with clients, to deliver real benefit and to help clients drive their business forward.

Specialities:

  • Practical, joined-up marketing communication.
  • Professional, internet focussed business marketing.
  • Relevant content creation
  • WordPress training – take control of your website
I work on clarifying your goals then developing and implementing practical marketing to help you achieve them.

Extensive understanding on the internet and web marketing enables me to tap into highly cost-effective tools to achieve effective, sustainable marketing at realistic budgets.