Does your website work for you?
Updated: Apr 1
Virtually every company in the world now has a website. However, I talk to many companies that aren’t happy with their websites but they don’t know how to change things. They’ve updated it, got a new look, and it still doesn’t seem right. That’s because they still haven’t got a functional site.
Anyone who works with me will know that I abide by three words: be purpose driven. So that being the case, the first question I’d ask of anyone who is unhappy with their website is what is the purpose of the site? There could be lots of different reasons, but if you don’t know what you want people to get out of it, then how is it ever going to work?
I’ve offered some tips below on common reasons that people have a website and how you could make it work for you.
A very simple reason for having a website is to create awareness of your company. If that is the case, then you have to make sure that you properly tell the story of who the company is and what it stands for. Have a really good ‘About Us’ section and offer insight into what makes it special. Perhaps introduce members of the team. Most importantly, have some personality. People don’t remember what hasn’t interested them.
It might sound simple, but if you want to sell on your website then make sure you have good product information. Use phrases that your customers would use. It may be that something has a proper technical name but most people call it something else. Use both words on your website so that you’re always talking in your customers’ language. Having lots of copy is good as it helps with your SEO, but you need to find the balance so you’re not bombarding readers.
The best thing to do is to have a short introduction followed by a summary of the product. Then below that put more of the detail. Build it up so straight away a visitor gets a feel for what the product is and then it’s up to them if they want to read on. If someone has to gloss through 500 words to try to find out the key aspects of a product then they’re just not going to bother.
If you want to generate leads then you need to give your visitors a reason to engage with you. There are nearly 2 billion active websites worldwide so just having a website alone is not enough. The best way to get anyone to visit you is to offer them some sort of value for doing so. Incentivise them. Have a downloadable e-book that gives your prospective customers training on something that’s important to them. Run a competition. Have a video that showcases the latest innovation in the industry. Whatever it is, think about what is going to interest your customers and then point people towards your website if they want to learn more.
There are many more reasons that websites exist but the most important thing for any organisation is to know why theirs does. Think about what you want to achieve and then work backwards. And never forget about your customers. After all, the website is for them. So make it as user-friendly and engaging as possible.
Finally, wherever possible, use a proper website designer and a professional copywriter. It might seem easy putting together a website, but if you want to get the most out of it then you need to understand things like SEO, customer journey mapping and how to present a brand. If you end up with a website that meets your goals, then you should definitely get a return on your investment.
I have just one more piece of advice: only work with designers and writers that take the time to understand your business. If anyone tells you how they’re going to put together your website without ever understanding what you want to achieve, keep looking. There is no one size fits all approach. It just can’t work. Any true marketing person would know that.