Your website is ground zero for your twenty-first-century business. Like it or not, it’s the modern-day truth. Yes, it’s important to be active on appropriate social media channels. Yes, sending consistent emails should be in the regular marketing routine. Yes, running print and digital ads are still very relevant.
So, what makes a website fundamentally special? It’s where you have complete control, where all of your outside marketing and messaging efforts come together, and where your Buy Now button lives (in one form or another).
How exactly does a website go from design, to live, to the great foundation of a rock-solid business? Read on and you’ll get a clear sense of the fundamentals.
The Control Factor
If you’ve been digging around and thinking about building or refreshing your website for a while, you’ve likely come across this idea of having control and that it’s important. And, who doesn’t like to be in control of their business, right?
What exactly does control mean when it comes to your website?
If you have 100,000 raving fans on Facebook and they’re all using Facebook links to get to your products and buying through a fully-Facebook-entwined landing page, the unfortunate truth is you’re not set up for long-term success.
The whims of Facebook (and all third-party and social media sites) are unpredictable. Users have no clear way of knowing what content will be displayed to fans and followers at what time (at least, not without paying a pretty penny for the privilege). If too much stock is put in this space, a change in the algorithm can wreak unexpected havoc on your bottom line.
Social media is a wonderful tool and you should be actively engaged; but do keep in mind that you own your website, including the data, traffic and design. On your website, you make the decisions and you hold the keys.
Don’t like a horizontal product image? No problem! Tweak the design specs and make it vertical.
Can’t find your business on the first page (or the first five pages) on relevant Google searches? Ramp up SEO and PPC efforts.
Not sure if you’re speaking to the right people with your copy? Take a look at your website analytics and see what pages users are spending time on and which ones are getting passed over.
All of these are cogs in the wheel of your marketing and business success. While a few are particularly important, none can keep the wheel turning on its own and no two wheels are identical. Think of your website as a series of those cogs; if you see one slipping, there are others that will keep the whole wheel from rolling away (or not rolling at all) and give you time to address the issue at hand.
Click Here, Buy Now
Particularly if you run a service-based business, you probably don’t have a button that actually says, “buy now.” That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a great website; it means your great website needs to drive traffic to a “Get In Touch” or “How Can We Help?” page where potential clients let you know a little of what they’re looking for and share their contact information.
One of our favorite content messaging gurus, Donald Miller, describes sales as a lot like dating. If you arrive to the first date and say “hi! How are you? Wanna get married?” you’re probably going to get a door slammed right in your face and a not-terribly-flattering reputation. But after a few dates, you may start hinting that you’re interested in the long-haul. Start making future plans.
Soon enough, you can start asking for that marriage (or, purchase) and even if the answer is “no,” they won’t go running for the hills. Your date (customer) will stick around to see what happens. You keep asking. They say, “nope,” “maybe later,” or “I’ll think about it” until finally, one day they beam and say “yes.”
It’s the same on your website. If you ask for too much too quickly, you’ll scare everyone away. Wait a bit, but commit to your ask (whatever it looks like) and you’ll have cultivated a relationship that both sides are happily ready and willing to commit to.
Why Is a Quality Website Important?
Even before our calendars opened to this new decade, the power of the internet was not lost on, well, much of anyone.
If someone is looking to buy anything online, from goods to services and everything in between, the hunt will most likely start with a search engine. And why not? It’s quick and easy to compare everything from actual product specifications to prices to reviews.
Add to that the phenomenon of the smartphone that essentially puts a little computer in the pocket of every consumer ready to Google their way to the online branch of your business and it’s hard to deny the opportunity.
Does It Really Have to Look Good?
Absolutely! We, as humans are drawn to beautiful things. A clean, organized, and thoughtful environment is just as important in the digital world as it is in the physical world.
Imagine walking into a store with clutter everywhere, piles of dirt on the floor, no discernable system, dusty tchotchkes in every nook and cranny, dim lighting, and absent shop keepers. This scene would make most customers eager to bolt right back out the door; even if the jumbled inventory is full of life-changing best-thing-since-sliced-bread products.
It’s the same online. If potential customers see a website that feels dated, unorganized, cluttered, and generally unprofessional they’re going to run right to Google and look for other options. In seconds they’ll land on alternatives that both look good and don’t make them work so hard to find what they’re looking for.
Ready to get organized and start building? Great! Remember to take it one step at a time. It can be a lot to process and a ton of moving parts to keep powering in the right direction, but it will be worthwhile in the end. Not sure where to start? No problem! Let’s talk; we can help you ensure your business is building on an extra solid foundation.