This is the second post in my series tentatively titled “Business Guide to Websites” where the goal is to help business owners & busy professionals better understand the hows & wherefores of getting a new website built. If you’ve not yet taken a look at the previous post, perhaps do that now (it just sets the tone for the overall thang though).
If you are like a lot of businesses and professionals I deal with, you may well have reached a point where you simply cannot put off the website any longer. You’ve either not got an online presence at all or the current one was built years ago and boy does it look it!. Perhaps you’ve rebranded, launched a new product/service or had a change of management – either way you’re now ready to sort out your website. Good.
Wait a minute!
However, before we rush headlong into the fun parts of designing your new website, we need to do a reality check: websites are not silver bullets; nor are they magic wands which, in a shower or pixie dust, can fix any business/marketing/sales problem (delete as appropriate). Done well, websites can be highly polished marketing tools which attract & engage with prospects, helping convert leads into sales and professionally promote the company online. But only when they are done well.
Let’s do the Timewarp (baby)
Not so many years ago though, businesses just wanted to tick the website box (“we need a website! Get us one! Fast!“). Any old one will do. Do Tesco sell them? Great, buy one. Buy it now so that we can all get back to our realbusiness and forget about this daft web stuff. Phew!
And that’s exactly what they would do.
They would hastily erect a budget, badly thought out website and then leave it stranded on the Information Superhighway (as it used to be called); completely ignored by the rest of the business. Never updated. Unloved & neglected. You wouldn’t treat a dog like it…
Fast forward 10 years and here we are reading this article.
Let’s not repeat history. We need to learn some lessons here
For one thing we must realise that your website IS your business. It is at the very heart of it. And I’m not just talking about ecommerce here, the majority of my customers don’t actually sell products via their website (some do though) but, even if they don’t, their website is selling - in some shape or form. When you think about it.
The Business Ingredients
Now that we’ve decided that rushing down to ALDI’s to buy a four pack of websites is not the greatest idea, let’s mull over some of the basic, business ingredients which feed into quality web presences:
- Business brand
- Marketing plan
- Business vision/strategy
- Target audience
- Products & services
- Business plan
(Note: not many businesses will have all of this information neatly filed on the managing director’s shelf. But is it there in some shape of form? Has it ever been considered? That’s the key).
The above list of ingredients may seem pretty obvious but, when you stop to think that most business websites are born in a vacuum where NONE of the above is discussed in any meaningful depth, then you begin to realise the seriousness of the situation for many companies.
Don’t let a woefully inappropriate website represent your business online. Remember, if your website is poor then is behaving poorly 24×7, 365 a year.
A good night’s sleep
Well, for one thing is, I’d prefer to get a good nights sleep; and turning out poorly thought out websites is not what I set Jojet up for. I would much rather sit down with a potential client and help them review where they are only to tell them that I think that they (for example) need to address their branding first.
My company does not deliver identity & branding; and, in such cases, I’ll bring in the uber talented Russell Britton. I don’t do this for upsell/cross sell or whatever it’s called – I do this because I believe it is the right thing for the client. Clients who enjoy working with me enjoy this honesty and want to work with someone who, first and foremost, wants their business to succeed – website or no website.
And it’s good night from him…
Ok, I’ll admit this post wandered in to soap box rant territory there but I really want to set the stall out for the upcoming posts & to explain why certain topics will be looked at.
Next time we’ll take a look at branding in more depth and why this is a killer ingredient in the web design process.