If you are treating your website like a brochure – static and simply informational, then you are missing out on a big opportunity. Even if it feels like your business does not need to have an online presence or that you do not need traffic to your website, you should pay attention to your website.
Your business or corporate website is not just an information brochure. It is your brand’s face and a portal to engage with your potential customers. Your target market would glean a lot from your website. What kind of a company you are. How do you conduct your business. And most importantly, how do you treat your customers.
Having a nice design and a decent hosting is just the beginning of your website. If you get these things wrong, then you can rest assured that your website will actually do more harm than good to your brand. Imagine a prospect coming to you website and seeing a shoddy cheap looking website. It tells them immediately that you are either cheap or you don’t care about your business enough to invest in your website. This may come out as a harsh thing to say but when your business reputation is at stake and the bottom line depends on the impression that your customers or prospects have of your brand, then harshness is called for.
Time and again, I see really appalling websites for companies that actually have a substantial operation. I can hear you thinking: if their business is running well with the bad website, why should they spend money trying to make it better. But what kind of a brand story is this business telling its customers and prospects. One that says that this company is not up-to-date and current.
With so much competition and options available to consumers in every market segment, businesses will incur an “opportunity cost” if they fail to think about all the touch points of their brand (points where their target market comes in contact with their brand). The business owner may be thinking that they are doing ok. But doing OK and being average is the precursor to disaster. If you are not growing your business then you are not only leaving money on the table but also giving away market share to your competitors.
There are several reasons why business owners may not be focusing on their website as much as they should. Here is a list of myths that business owners believe in which leads them to neglect their website:
Myth #1: Websites are expensive!
This is not the case any more. In the past, getting a decent website used to cost thousands. These days you can get a kick ass website for under a thousand dollars. “A thousand dollars!” I hear your gasp. Think about the time and money you spend trying to drum up business. The money you spend on online and/or offline advertising. The money you spend buying leads. The money you spend on direct mail. Of all these activities, you can bet that your website is the most valuable marketing asset and will continue to be more so.
As a rule of thumb, be prepared to spend at least 30% of your marketing budget for a decent website.
Myth #2: Websites are hard to maintain!
Once again this is not the case any more. With many powerful CMS platforms (Content Management Systems) in the market, you can manage your website just as easily as updating Word documents. You can add new pages, fresh content, upload images and even video – all with out even knowing what HTML means! With an easy to use interface and a turn key publishing system, you can easily keep your website fresh with interesting information, industry and company news and establish yourself as an authority in your market segment.
You should also strive to increase engagement on your website by posting photos and videos related to your business with your own unique interpretation and view point. Coupled with some social media presence, this could turn your website into a real branding tool.
Myth #3: My business does not need a website!
This is a very much mistaken belief. Every business needs a website – if they are to keep up with the competition and grow their business and market share. Even if you are not selling on your website and do not get your prospects from it, your business needs to maintain a healthy presence online because the consumers expect it. And if you are relying on sales from the internet, even partially, then you need to focus even more on making your website better and stronger.
For most businesses these days, a living and breathing website is a must. If you have a website that was created a few years back and you have not updated it recently, then take action! Your website could be poisonous to your business in its current state. Refresh it. Make it more contemporary. Make it look more professional.
Myth #4: My friend/cousin/neighbor can help me design my website!
It is easy to be tempted to skimp on getting a professional website design and go for some cheap or even free alternatives such as getting it done by inexperienced folks. But this could lead to loss of revenue down the line. Much more than what you would have invested in getting one done professionally. Are you spending any money on business lunches? What about on adverts or direct mailers without knowing what the outcome would be? What about on a new pair of shoes? The point is that most people consider investing in their website an “expense” but the fact is that it should be thought of as an “investment”!
If your budget is indeed a constraint then at least go for a free CMS system till you can muster enough to get a professional website. Free websites would have advertising and would lack individuality but that is better than having a static website created years ago that you have no control over and which you do not update and keep fresh.
It is time to take action. Ensure that you are not missing value opportunities to create the right kind of impact on your target market. It is simpler than you may think. The important thing is to ensure that your website is based on a CMS and allows you to easily manage and update it.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR WEBSITE!