Your website. It’s the 24/7, always-on, always-ready-to-tell-your-story platform. It’s the first place people go when they consider whether to do business with you. There’s a lot riding on the success of your website, but how do you know if you’re doing it right? When clients approach us about building a new website, we’ve found that there are many misconceptions about what it takes to ensure that your website is doing its job for you. Here are some of the statements we’ve heard over the years, and an explanation about why going that route means you’re doing it wrong:
- “Just build my website and let me know when it’s finished. That’s enough.”
FALSE. Your website exists to serve a purpose. It is not just a placeholder for your company on the web. Take time to figure out what purpose your website will serve and work to create the strategy to fulfill that purpose. It’s a very collaborative process that you’ll play an active role in. Working with designers and developers that want to get to know your business and future goals, not just build a website, will help to ensure your project is successful.
- “Once it’s launched, the work is done.”
FALSE. Once your site is launched, the work has just begun! Most likely you have high expectations of your website performance. This includes where your business ranks in a browser search and how visitors interact once they click over to your website. Develop a site that keeps your visitors coming back. Perform regular updates in the form of new specials or promotions, news articles, blogs, videos, or other elements. Drive people to your site through email marketing, paid search, social media, or other online efforts. Monitor your site’s analytics to determine its performance, and make adjustments to enhance what’s most popular while improving on sections from which visitors are most likely to exit. Your website is a living extension of your business and should be nurtured as such.
- “All I need is an amazing, cool web design.”
FALSE. While an amazing design might give visitors a great first impression, if the site fails to function well their negative experience will soon trump that first impression. It may look really cool, but an overly visual site may also distract from the user interaction you are trying to achieve. In other words, what you want people to actually DO when they come to your website will be overshadowed by a lot of flashy things that divert their attention from this desired action. It’s true that web design has come a long way and allows for some really cool things to happen in the scope of the site. Just don’t get lost in those shiny objects and lose the overall strategy. This is why the planning stages are crucial to getting a site that is visually pleasing, user friendly for your visitors, and achieves your business objectives.
- “I can get a custom website on a minimal budget.”
MAYBE, but mostly FALSE. If you are looking for a quick brochure-type website, you might be able to accomplish that on a shoestring budget. But chances are you are going to want and need your site to do more for your business in the long run, so investing in a site that has solid strategy behind it, will help you meet your business goals, and includes future expansion capabilities will be well worth it. And the neighbor’s son who knows a lot about computers may be able to develop a site, but keep in mind your website is an extension of your marketing efforts and he probably knows nothing about brand identity, digital strategy or how to measure whether the site is delivering what you hoped. As the saying goes…”You get what you pay for..”
Now that you know the misconceptions of building a website, it’s time to go forth and make your website the successful selling machine it’s meant to be!