There is a little corner of cyber space where no-one ventures. On domains far away sit millions of websites that have never been visited. Well not by anyone other than the business owner or developer anyway. Is yours one of them?
Do I Need A Website? Why your website may be destined for the cyber graveyard.
I don’t want to be harsh but the chances of you being the next Facebook or Google or Amazon are pretty slim. As developers we hear potential new clients get excited all the time about their brilliant idea that’s going to make them millions. Truth is we genuinely hope it does but we are a bit longer in the tooth than that.
There are a few crucial points that people miss when thinking about their new shiny website that guarantee it will end up in the cyber graveyard. I don’t want you to be one of those people so here’s my top tips for a website that works for you.
Why are you bothering with a website?
The most simple and key point is why are you having a website at all? I know ‘everyone has one’ these days but remember a website is a promotional tool and might not be right for you right now. There are other options. We recently developed a site for a leading national engineering firm who turnover millions of pounds a year. It was their first site ever. If I gave you £10,000 what would you do with it to generate sales? You have to be sure that a website will offer you the best return on investment.
‘Build it and they will come’
Web designs most dangerous phrase. Let me put it this way. You want to open a shop. You employ a builder to lay the bricks and shop fitters to kit out the inside. Whose job is it to get customers? Most people would think I was crazy if I said the builder. But apply the same to web design and you get questions like, “Can I be on page 1 of Google overnight?” No, that’s the answer. Having a website doesn’t mean people will visit it. There is a lot more work to so on SEO and driving traffic to your website than simply having a website online.
Do I need a website?
I ask businesses why they are having a website. What will it do for them? Is it to make their customers life easier? Will it make their order process simpler? Does it give valuable information? What’s the purpose? This has to be the starting point, not which colour blue you want it to be. You need to be clear about the business need this site meets. Where does your website sit in the communication continuum? Which part of your marketing communication does the website support?
Do I care?
Your customer must be at the heart of this. It’s not ‘your website’ it’s your customers. So why will they care it exists? What’s in it for them? Are you focusing on the benefits to them in your copy? Are you offering free downloads? Is there anything at all that would make your customers care you had a website at all? Even if it’s a pure sales page you should be thinking about the benefits you offer and the problems your product or service solves. What makes your customer care?
All websites are not made equally. You need to know about things like W3C standards, security risks, hosting arrangements. Or you need a developer who does. These are real business risks that you as the business owner need to be aware of. What’s the point of spending thousands on a website if only people using Internet Explorer can view it? Or it doesn’t work on an Apple Mac or iPad? Quality Matters.
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