How to Choose the Right Website for Your Company (Or: The Two Types of Web Site Owners)Posted by Aaron
In my experience, there are two types of business website owners. It doesn’t matter whether you’re online only or have a physical presence, it doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in, or if you have a small or medium sized business. You’re probably going to have at least one of two goals:
90% of the web sites being built for business customers do little to achieve these goals. At best, they’re glorified business cards. At worst, they’re an eyesore.
The irony of course is that there’s so much more a website can do for you. Let’s take a look at how a website can help achieve the goals above.
I WANT BRANDING
I WANT SALES/LEADS
|A cool-looking design: This is the one a lot of companies do pretty well, and there’s no doubt it can help create a positive impression of your business. But how many designers really *test* what they create to see if it’s the best alternative?||Identify the unknown unknowns: First of all, do the people coming to your site even want to buy your product? Are you pitching the wrong thing to the wrong person? Have you asked them? Find out what your visitors want.|
|Interesting and valuable content: If you want people to remember your name in 3 to 6 months, write something they’ll find interesting and useful. Don’t just describe your company, describe the benefits it provides, and offer up a generous helping of advice and information that’s useful to the people you want to attract. On the Web, this is the differentiator between your firm and the ten other competitors who do the same thing you do.||Relentlessly improve your pitch. Make data-driven decisions. Don’t try one sales pitch: try two (or five) and see which one generates the most leads or sales. Try different copy, images, layouts, video, everything. You may be able to double or even triple the number of people who buy or contact you with a few simple changes. You’ll never know until you test.|
|Make it shareable: The whole point of branding is to get people to spread the word for you. Once you’ve got amazing content and a site that’s both appealing and functional, create ways for people to share it using whatever medium they’re most comfortable with (email, Facebook, instant messages, etc.).||Add testimonials: Even businesses that have only been around for a few months have someone who’s willing to say something good about them. So get them to do it and put that online, because there’s nothing customers want to see more than a description of your benefits made by an existing, paying customer.|
|Keep them coming back: Every dime invested in your website will have 10-100 times the return if you find a way to keep reaching people after they’ve logged off. Ask for their email address, or subscribe them to an RSS feed (I like email because everyone uses it). Then don’t just let your web site sit there — *do* something with it, add more content and more resources over time, then invite people to come back and remember why your business is so great.||Maximize the lifetime value of your customer (LTV): Customers and clients like long-term relationships as much as you do. It’s human nature to stick with what you know works. Get permission to email them after the initial sale, and follow up. If you’re a service business, look for other ways you can help your client. Even if a visitor hasn’t given you money yet, find a way to stay in touch with them and. This can all be done effortlessly and automatically through the web.|
|Get more traffic to your website: A website is useless if nobody sees it. A business plan for the web which doesn’t include at least one strategy for driving new customers to your site is questionably useful, at best.||Are you charging as much as you could be? On that note, you can even test your actual prices. There’s no easier place to do this than on the Web, where you can present different price points and offers to different customers and see what makes the most money.|
Do you already have a website? If so, can you put a checkmark next to each of the items above? If not, how much more money could your business be making? How much better-known could your brand be?
Most web designers aren’t doing this stuff for you. I started Command Media to provide these services and help even the smallest businesses get a website that’s more than just a calling card. If you’re missing one or more of the things above, get in touch with us.