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Every company wants their website to work for them but growing numbers feel let down by their website. In the past, a website was not required to be a success in business, social media did exist and a shop window, poster or perhaps just a classified advert was all a company needed. For many years, the ability to reach thousands of people and talk for free, one on one to thousands more meant nothing and still success was achieved and sustained.
Today, companies have all been told how a good website can make their business succeed and will drive traffic to their doors. Traffic Shmaffic what companies need from their website is sales. Despondency is setting in with companies becoming wary of social media gurus and web design experts with little real results. However, companies still plod along and keep scratching their heads in the hope their website will wake up to what was promised.
This plodding and scratching may continue for some time until they wake up to reasons why their website may not be working for them. With some research and general busy savvy the top and real reasons why your website may not be work for your business soon present themselves. Here are some of the most common reasons.
Web designers make websites, that is what they do. They sell websites and know how to make a websites. Web developers have experience in making websites that may or may not work. They love to talk tools and technology and many baffle clients with big talk which they themselves are baffled by.
This is all well and good and is sounds fantastic but is selling and making websites as important as having experience in your organisation or industry?
The truth is that a fine balance of industry experience combined with website experience is required for website success. Your website will never work for you if the web developer you have entrusted does not take the effort to gain a deeper understanding of your business. Looking at your successes and failures, understanding your competitors and getting to know your business takes time and effort but it does yield results. If your web developer does not or will not understand some important facts about your business, your processes and your customers, you will be left with a stranded, pointless website that just looks nice.
The lack of business understanding built into your website leaves you with a digital oil painting, nice to look at but useless to trade with. There is a saying that pretty websites win awards but clever websites win REWARDS. Getting the balance between look and feel and functionality right is the holy grail of all web designerss and it is possible to achieve. People love good-looking websites that is a fact but pretty faces don’t necessarily mean good business and many businesses with fabulous looking websites cannot understand this.
If everything in the world was done because “it looks nice” websites would be a lot more successful. Look at it like a plumber buying a pickup truck. If the plumber went out and purchased a really nice looking Mercedes Benz sports car with a superb sound system, sunroof and leather seats it would still get him from A to B but it would not carry his tools and thus he would not be able to work. What looks like a good thing sometimes is not. Your website could well be the dream sports car but what your business needs is a truck that serves a purpose. Get what I am saying? Function over Form will win.
Content is king and while many great websites have tons of content the content is not relevant. More importantly it is content copied from other websites or is out of date. Old news is great in your archives and while it may help you rank better with search engines it does not make a customer buy from you. Out of date information puts visitors off and it stands out a mile.
The solution to this is fresh content, blogs and relevant news. If something is no longer relevant unpublish it, it is that easy. It is very easy to think a website once up will run itself and it will to a small degree. However keeping content on your website fresh and relevant is essential. Sure, it takes time but there are ways to overcome this where time for a small business is valuable. One such solution is to hire a freelance writer who becomes part of your team – this is affordable, reliable and can make your website work well paying for itself in a few short months. Remember if your website is out of date people will go elsewhere… fast!
Mobile is king and making sure your website works on as many mobile devices as possible is vital. Yes, the website may look amazing on the latest iPhone but if the menus are still following a desktop process the website doesn’t work at all. Simple things such as menu flow can lose you as much as 80% of your gained traffic in seconds. But, and it is a big but, do not neglect the PC user and thus one needs to think carefully about the menus and how traffic is directed through the site. Spending a little effort on mapping each conceivable process will pay off in converted traffic.
Having a website is important for business but that is as far as many small businesses go. Small companies have a website but lose track of why they need it and what they want to achieve. Yes, your website makes you visible, a shop can be visible but if it has nothing in it, no one will shop there. Your website is business tool not just something that makes a noise to say you are here or there. Many small business and some bigger companies think just having a presence is enough when actually it is not enough at all. If you have the space do something with it! It is the same with sport if you have ball do something with it or the other team will score a point.
Business owners spend money on many things but a website does not often get the place in the budget it deserves. Accounting software, sales management tools and other business solutions are costly and many have annual licences that are paid because they deemed essential. If the same mentality that business owners have towards paying for the tools that help their business run was applied to a website and social media, things would be vastly different. In tough times the first two budgets than get hit are training and marketing. Things are tough at the moment but if money was spent wisely on a website in the right way with the right service provider any business can rise above the tough times.
When business systems are planned pro’s and con’s are looked at, due diligence is done and hundreds of questions are asked. Objectives are set when implementing business tools but with a website, this interrogative approach is less considered. With a website, it often boils down to price not value because the website for some reason is of lesser importance. Don’t fool yourself, your website is one of the most important business tools you have and you must never forget that.
Just pausing for a moment and giving your website and its social extensions some respect can and will turn the online aspect of your business around. With careful thought and the right attitude your website can work for you.
These few reasons why your website may not work for you can be addressed with ease. With a closer look as your processes and operations rather than relying on technology, you will understand the importance of your website better and it will work for you like a trusted friend and advisor.
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