You make eye contact. You give a nice firm handshake. You put on your best suit. You make sure your Web site is perfect. Or do you?
Just like your personal outward appearance, your Web site speaks volumes about you and your company. I’m constantly amazed at how many business owners or marketing directors say, “Oh, I just have a Web site because I need an online presence. It doesn’t get me any business.”
Really? Why shouldn’t it? Do you say, “My interview won’t get me a job/client.” No, of course not. In today’s online world, your Web site is the first impression a prospect or new employee has of your company and your brand. Why wouldn’t you put as much effort into having the best Web site as the best suit?
A Web site doesn’t have to be complicated or full of flash images to be good. Actually, I believe the simpler the better. What it should be is benefit driven for the reader. I am always surprised when I look at a prospect’s site, or any site for that matter, when the copy is all about the company and its products. Yes, the user is on your site to get information about your company, but they’re there because they want information that relates to them – not you. It’s the WIIFM principle (that’s what’s in it for me).
When developing a Web site ask these simple questions:
- Who will be visiting my site?
- Who do I want to visit my site? (they may not be the same)
- What do I want them to do on my site? (i.e. make a purchase, fill out a lead form, call for more info). This is critical to how the site is developed.
- What image do I want the user to walk away with about my company?
- How am I going to get the user to come back to my site?
Here’s the next principle – be relevant. In this fast-paced world, things are out of date quickly. Update your site on a regular basis with fresh content. If you set the site up in a content management system, you can even make the changes yourself without knowing HTML.
If you build it, they will not come. You have to promote the site. Let me repeat – YOU HAVE TO PROMOTE THE SITE. You have to employ strategies to drive traffic to your site. SEO, SEM, online advertising, a blog, word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter, include your URL in your email signature. Use whatever means you can to get people to your site. I can tell you that traffic to my company’s site has tripled – yes TRIPLED – since I started this blog.
Finally, remember – you get what you pay for. People have the impression that anyone can whip up a site these days. Graphically, that may be true. Companies like Network Solutions have made it very easy to set up a site with a template. But a Web site is far more than an online brochure. It’s an extension of you and your company. Make the investment, work with someone who specializes in online marketing, strategic planning and site development. Work with someone who understands how to communicate the benefits of your products and services. You’ll get more bang for your buck…and we’re all looking for that these days.