by Owen Williams
One of the misconceptions that we encounter on a weekly basis is the role played by a website in an individual business. There is a huge level of ignorance among business owners when it comes to understanding what their website is saying about their brand and business. They think it is saying one thing when in fact it is saying something completely different. You may be making the wrong impression or projecting the wrong image, without even knowing it. So here are a few points and common myths to bear in mind when evaluating the value of your website to your business.
“We don’t do any business through our site” You don’t have to have an e-commerce website to do business through it. Did you know that your website is highly likely to be the first port of call for any prospective customer and that it hugely influences the buying decision? In most instances, it is the website that facilitates that telephone call. Your website should be geared towards conversion and generating enquiries. You may not be selling products via your website, but if your site is not up to scratch then people won’t want to do business with you full stop.
“Our customers are happy with our site” But are they? Is your site responsive so that your customers can use the site on mobile devices? If not then you are making your site a lot harder to use than your competitors and you have fallen behind the times. Think about the percentage of people using mobile phones to access websites. Usability is a key component of any website and the more intuitive it is, the better experience your customers and prospects will have when using it. Do you invest time adapting the site so that customers can find find key content and products quickly and easily? Use your analytics to monitor how people are using your site and the problems they are encountering. You can then adapt content and layout to better suit their needs. A site that is up to date with modern technology and features good usability will cultivate brand loyalty, enhance reputation and ultimately generate more business.
“No one visits our site” This is a very dangerous assumption to make. Do you have analytics installed on your site to monitor your traffic? If not, then how do you know? If there is one thing you can be certain of, it is that more people are looking at your site than you think, and if you’re not happy with it then think about the impression your making on your customers.
“We just use a free site builder tool” Now don’t get me wrong, there is a place for site builders and some start ups do not have the budget for a bespoke site. However, many SMEs, and even large companies, are using cheap templates to create their sites and in the process are painting the wrong picture of their brand. You can hardly claim to be an innovative, forward-thinking brand when you’re using a template solution can you? And did you also know that Google will not rank some of the template sites? A free website can end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
“We just use Google Adwords” Ok great, so you’re investing in driving traffic to your site, but you’re not investing in the site itself? What do you think is happening to your leads? If you’re site is not up to scratch then you will not convert those people visiting your site in to genuine enquiries, it is as simple as that. It reflects poorly on the brand and just makes it look like you have not thought through your sales process.
“People don’t spend any time on sites anyway” This is not the case. People will spend time on sites that engage them and have relevant content to their area of interest. Every company has the capacity to produce content that will interest their target audience, whether it be through articles and blog posts, or videos and white papers. If your website has no content then people will assume you have nothing to say. They will not engage with the brand and are far less likely to buy from you. In contrast, a site that is rich in relevant content will inspire trust and project a sense of authority in the brand.
“It’s just a brochure site” My personal favourite! Just because your site doesn’t feature e-commerce, resource downloads or a booking system, doesn’t mean that it is not in need of investment. Your website is your shop window to the largest possible audience and you want to make the right impression. If the main aim of your site is to inform users about your products and services, then make it engaging and feature rich. If the site looks great and works well then they are far more likely to get in touch and make an enquiry. The truth is that every website is a brochure site. Every site showcases a company and brand. If your ‘brochure’ is outdated, uninspiring and hard to use, then it is sending all the wrong messages and not showing you in a good light.
The reality is that a bad website will be doing a lot more damage to your business and brand reputation than you think. Peoples’ first port of call is nearly always a website and this is where they form their impression of you and what you have to offer. If your website has just been left to rot, what does that say about your business?
You may not view your website as a central component in your marketing but that does not mean it doesn’t require some investment. You may be missing out on the returns that a good website can yield and suffering the consequences that a bad one can cause. Make sure it is making the right impression and saying the right things about you.