03/09/12: Just about every business that wants to succeed has a website. These days, a website can be thrown together in a manner of minutes on any number of “build your own click and drag” websites. On the other hand, a business can spend months developing, creating and fine tuning their site. Your company’s website can work for you, against you or simply do nothing at all… which is the same as working against you in my book.
As the web designer for fi-Plan Partners, I talk often with our business owner clients about their website and advise them on ways to make their site more valuable. If you feel like your website isn’t working for you, here’s my humble, but experienced top five reasons why.
5 Reasons Your Business Website Isn’t Working for You
1. You don’t know what you want from your website
There are very few if any, “set it and forget it” money making sites out there, so don’t have the goal of “making money.” You need to be more specific. Next to having a product or service that is valuable and in demand, you need to have specific goals that you want your website to accomplish. If you desire direct sales, you will need an eCommerce site, which is a totally different kind of website where the goal is to capture leads for potential customer follow-up. You know your product or service better than anyone, so the key is to know your customer, what they want, how they want to receive it, and provide it online in the most user friendly way. When you develop measurable goals, you can track and study your website stats (through Google Stats or your hosting company) and reassess and fine tune your site according to that information. This takes time so be patient.
2. Your site is all about your business and not about your target audience
Experts say that when someone visits your website, you have exactly 3 minutes to convey who you are and what you do. After that, if visitors decide they are interested, you need to show them you understand them and have what they need. Business websites that don’t work are usually filled with content that is just about the company and not about the customer. A visitor is asking you when they visit your site, “What’s in it for me?” If you can’t lead them to the correct answer quickly, they will click away.
3. You are not using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices
How many of us can remember the last time we opened a Yellow Pages book to find information on a business we are looking for? Where is your first place to find that information? Say it with me, “You Google it” (or use Yahoo or Bing). These companies make money from advertisers when people use their search engines. People will use the engine that gets them to the best information online fast. The search engines have criteria by which they judge whether your site has the information people want. If your site does not meet that criteria, your site will be no better than a house for sale on a dead end street with no real estate listing. If it can’t be found… well, it won’t be found.
Just about anybody can design a website these days, but for your website to work for you, your web design person (or company) should know this criteria set forth by the search engines and guide you as you provide content for your site. This is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. If they don’t, it’s time to find another.
4. You’re business is not involved in social media
You need to go where the people are and social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, are just a few places where millions of people gather online every day to share information. If you can build relationships with those people through engaging dialogue and by providing valuable information, these tools can be the tour bus that brings visitors to your website. There are unwritten rules of engagement to be sure to watch, listen and learn before you jump in.
5. Your site never changes
You must give your audience a reason to come back. If they visit your site once, read everything, then come back a few days later and there is no new and valuable information, they most likely will never return. Why would they? This is where blogging can be your most powerful tool for providing consistent, new and valuable information for your site. Notice that I said, “valuable information.” You can’t just blog about anything. You must provide information that people can use… things that make them say, “I’ll use that today and later, I’ll come back for more.” This establishes your business as an expert in your field and trusted resource… and people love to do business with businesses they trust. I encourage you to check out our daily blog on our site to see how we are striving everyday to give something of value to our readers.
There are many other factors that can make or break your website. These are just a few. If you would like to talk with me and receive a free initial evaluation concerning your business website, please email me here or call me at (205) 989-3498.
Director of Integrated Communications
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