Why do you have a website?
Nowadays it is so commonly taken for granted that everyone and everything has a website, it’s easy to forget the fundamentals of why you have one and what is its purpose.
The answer varies from business to business and the lessons we can learn by addressing this question can help us understand how much time and investment it is worth spending on the website and your online presence.
Broadly speaking there are several types of sites and their goals differ.
Sites which pass on information or knowledge. This could be directions, methodology, background information, instructions. The education can be provided without enticing visitors to take a deeper look at products or services offered. For these sites, it is more common for clients to seek out the site than for the site to promote them (hence lower investment).
The curse of every office manager – sites which you visit to play a ‘quick’ game or browse through some news items, check out the latest fashion trends or find out the showbiz gossip. The sheer volume of traffic makes it worthwhile for the game developers to keep finding new incarnations and for news sites to update throughout the day to keep drawing visitors in to their online world. These sites often rely on word of mouth to reach a greater audience and may be popular only until ‘the next big thing’ inevitably takes over (in the case of games).
Hugely popular, these sites keep you in touch with your personal or professional circles of friends and colleagues. From private accounts which can be shared with a select few, to public marketing campaigns reaching millions, the influence and popularity of social media continues to increase. Social Media Marketing is a critical component of a modern business plan.
This broad swathe of sites are looking to promote and market their product or service to new clients as well as retain their existing client base. The website acts as a virtual storefront and a gateway to communicate 24/7. In some cases, the website is the only viable storefront. For instance, a small business on a low budget that doesn’t have a physical office. Likewise, if you’re a landscape gardener integrating waterfalls and rockery design, it’s hard to display in the middle of Colorado in the winter – your website offers the opportunity to not only showcase your offering without seasonal limitations – you can choose the very best images when the sky was a perfect blue to invite clients to imagine the same in their garden.
The site could initiate a connection between a client and the business or it could be a website where sales are processed directly.
Likewise, where customer service is of high importance (as it always should be), enabling your customers to contact you at least via email or through a form on the website makes up to some extent for only having a customer service agent or employee at the end of a ‘phone line 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
These are the websites which are most likely to invest in SEO – search engine optimization and web site design as the site can generate business which translates into your profit . Customers expect
- a credible business to have a website
- consistent branding
- ease of navigation
- quick page load times
- responsive design (being able to access the site from a mobile phone or tablet)
- to find the information they need without too much digging around
- clear information
Your site may also directly save you time and therefore money if you provide an interface for orders to be tracked, results to be checked, progress to be determined online, quotes to be started.
As a business, you are hoping to be found on a search engine results page and be given a chance to present your site when clicked on. It sounds easy, in practice there are usually competitors in every field and clients looking for professionalism and trust – it’s rarely only about price point.
If your website is not fulfilling the purpose you intend, let us help with a plan to get your online presence back on track, contact us today firstname.lastname@example.org