Why does your business have a website?

It seems like a ridiculous question.  Oddly enough – it’s probably a question that many business owners have never stopped to really think about.  “Why?”  “What is the actual function and purpose of this thing?” If the answer is something like, “Well – we just need one” or “so people call us,” there is a serious problem.  Maybe the better question is, “How is my website contributing to my business growth?”

For eCommerce sites, the answer is more intuitive because in many cases the website is the business.  But for everyone else – especially local “brick-and-mortar” businesses – it’s a question business owners should be asking themselves.  The answer to that question will never be the same for everyone.  But before you can arrive at that answer for your business, take a few steps back and define your business (goals) by asking yourself some very basic questions.

“What do I sell?  Who is my target demographic?  What is my target geographic market?  What makes my product(s) and brand different or better than my competitors?  What are the quantifiable steps involved in my sales process?”  You get the gist.

Once you have those answers, you’re now ready to ask yourself, “How well does my website convey those ideas and business goals?” I talk to business owners every day that tell me about all the various features, plug-ins, videos, etc. they want in their site – but in those conversations, I can tell there is a big disconnect between what they think their website needs… and how that will positively impact their business.

I’ve heard some crazy and sometimes befuddling ideas through the years – but here are a couple generalized (and highly simplified) concepts to consider for your site’s appearance and messaging before you leap into your next redesign.

  • Color Scheme – Plain and simple, does the color scheme fit the character of your business? Employ a little “color psychology”.
  • Imagery – photography in a site can make or break someone’s interest in what you’re selling. Especially for businesses that sell a “visual” finished product (plastic surgeons, dentists, construction, interior design, etc.), you’ll want to have professional photography on your site.  In most cases, its best to hire a photographer.  If I’m considering getting new dental veneers from you – I want to see YOUR work!
  • Font – Yes, font still matters. Comic Sans has seen its day and probably isn’t the best font for your law firm’s site.  Choose a font that is consistent with your business image.
  • Layout – This is where it gets tricky. The general idea here would be to consider what the actual conversion goal is (phone call, fill out a form, download a newsletter, etc.) and make sure that your site’s layout encourages the conversion goal.  In other words, if you want a phone call – make sure your business phone number is prominent and visible on every page of your site and not just on the contact page.  Seems like a no-brainer but I’ve seen the statistic that more than 60% of websites have their phone number only on the “Contact” page.  So consider your conversion path in choosing your layout.
  • Content – The bulk of your content should be about whatever product or service you are selling. But go back to those original questions of ‘brand’ and ‘unique selling points’.  Make sure your content adequately explains what differentiates your business from your competitors and any other messaging you want your customers to know.  Make sure it encourages and explains the conversion goal.  (ie: “Call now for a free quote!”)

Take the time to evaluate how your website represents your company.  Look at it from a potential brand new customer’s point of view.  Look at it from a business owner’s point of view.  Take the mental journey from that potential customer’s first interaction to them becoming a client and see how well your site facilitates that process.

And to the point of the article… “Why does your business have a website?”  If you’ve taken that mental journey now and are still left scratching your head why and how your website is not contributing to your business growth – you’ve missed something.

The Elevated team has worked with every type of business – from mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 companies.  While a business owner will always know their business better than us marketers – it’s very rare that we talk to owners who are also experts in online marketing and web development.  If you think your site could be doing better – you’re probably right.  Feel free to contact the Elevated team to discuss what opportunities we can help identify to improve your site’s performance.

4 Responses

  1. Great tips Cameron! It is easy to get caught up in just “needing a site” and not thinking through the overall purpose.

    1. Thanks Jared. In writing this, part of me thought “this is SOOO 10 years ago.” It amazes me how many businesses are already succeeding without any real online presence – just using their website as (essentially) an online business card. They could be doing so much more with a better user experience and better visibility.

  2. Basic but like you said, often overlooked. Sometimes business owners nitpick the design of their website without taking consideration what the actual fundamental purpose of the website is.

    Thanks Cam, good stuff man.

    1. Thanks Ricardo. I keep thinking of the ‘KISS’ principle – “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Websites don’t need to be crazy elaborate to be effective. Sometimes, the less-is-more rule is the way to go.

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