Business Websites Must be Effective Websites
I've come across a few business owners recently who believe that, because they have a website, they have done what is necessary to get new business using the internet. Then, when little or no business arrives via the website, they conclude that the internet is no good for acquiring new customers or it's not appropriate for their business.
What they miss is that often the design of their website is inappropriate for their business or that the content is insufficient, uninteresting, contains broken links, poor images etc.
Visitors judge your business by the quality of your website.
If your website is inadequate, visitors to the site will conclude that your business is also inadequate and they will go elsewhere.
So simply having a website is not enough. Having a pretty website is not enough (and may be counter-productive). Businesses need websites that are designed and optimised to generate customers. Seth Godin puts it this way:
it's a mistake to […] expect your pretty website to generate cash, to have the maximum percentage of clicks, to have the most efficient possible funnel of attention to action.
Some business owners find a elaborate website template that they like on the internet and decide that it will be fine for their site, failing to understand that it may be entirely inappropriate for their organisation.
Business websites are not intended to be works of art, they are business assets whose purpose is to sell your products and/or services to people who want and need them. A website then, is an investment - an investment of time, money and energy on behalf of a business and the owners of that business should expect to generate a decent return within a definite timeframe. The return will come from the increased sales generated by the website.
Not only must the website itself be effective, it must also be discovered by sufficient numbers of interested people to be able to generate the income necessary to achieve the desired profit. Hence, the site needs to be found in the search engines for relevant phrases and be placed towards the top of the search results. Other means should also be employed to encourage people to visit your site – social media campaigns being the most obvious, but also online advertising of various types.
I offer here two examples of businesses that have contacted us recently that, for different reasons, do not have effective websites but, clearly, I am not going to say who they are.
- The first is a site operated by a venue that runs both wedding receptions and corporate events who are not getting anywhere near the number of bookings they want. Their website has recently been redesigned from scratch and, on looking at it, it appears modern, attractive and generally appropriate for their business. However, performing relevant searches in Google fails to show a link to the site anywhere on the first 10 pages of the search results. On examining the code behind the scenes, it became glaringly obvious why the site was not being found in searches – the most basic tasks for search engine optimisation had not been done. The construction of the site had completely ignored any consideration of how Google etc. would respond to the site. Hence the site is ineffective for the business and we are discussing with them how we can help correct these inadequacies so that the venue can generate leads and sell their services. They certainly deserve to be busy as it is a great venue and is well located.
- A financial company has a website that is found on page 1 or 2 in the Google search results for a wide variety of relevant search phrases. On the face of it, one might expect them to gain a great deal of new business through the site yet, the owner told me that they have had one new client from the site in the last 6 years! He has the opposite problem to the venue discussed above and he is unclear why this was the case. Looking at the website, it is clear that it is dated and poorly designed. But most importantly, the content of the site is limited and doesn’t explain much about the company or what they do. The images are common, stock images that detract from the overall design. The site fails to convince visitors that the company is a professional organisation that can manage their financial needs.
This is another business website that is not working for its owners – it is simply not fit for purpose.
If you run a business, your website is an essential business asset which merits your attention and your investment. Your site carries the reputation of your business and therefore the quality of your website must reflect the quality of your business. Effective websites are also sites that have good numbers of relevant visitors on a regular and frequent basis and which are able to persuade visitors to become customers.
As always, if you need any assistance with your web presence to ensure you have an effective business website, please get in touch.