Why your website needs to be more than just a virtual business card

Why your website needs to be more than just a virtual business card

Do you remember the rush to get a website up? Back in the days when the internet was just kicking off, and anyone who even had a website was deemed a futuristic visionaire?

Nobody put a lot of thought into what went onto said website mind you. The mere fact that a company was online was proof of just how forward-thinking a kind of business it was.

Those days are gone. Nowadays, your website needs to be more than just a business card online.

Take a minute or two to look at your website from a third-party point of view, and ask yourself the following three questions:

  • How can customers find my website? If your website is in limbo, cut off from the rest of the digital universe, no-one is ever going to find it. Are you on social media, with a regular posting strategy that feeds traffic back to your website? Are there any groups, professional associations or independent, peer-review type websites where you could post a link back to your website and help it be found? Or media groups you could reach out to to cover your story? There’s no point putting a lot of effort into something that cannot be found.
  • Why would they want to? First, ask yourself if your website is a welcoming kind of place. Does it look good? And does it have a clear navigational structure to help viewers find their way around? Then, ask yourself what is on your website that people might actually want to look at. Something they can’t find anywhere else. Like insights into what is happening in your industry, key stats, an entertaining blog, funny videos or pictures, or something like white papers that will both demonstrate your expertise and educate your clients. The point of your website remains of course to sell your products or services, but ask yourself what about your website is unique and really makes it stand out?
  • What will make them want to come back? This is similar to the previous point. Something on your website needs to be both interesting and fresh enough to make your viewer want to return. For example, a regular newsfeed with running commentary;a regularly updated blog; fun pictures selling your business that change frequently; a thriving online community. Once people have enjoyed your website once, create something that will make them want to come back for more.

If you can’t answer these questions objectively (it is harder with a website close to your heart, I know!), ask a non-biased outsider to help you. It’s really important to try and distance yourself from the choices you made building your website and think like one of your clients.

Speaking of clients – who are they and how do they think? As part of this exercise spend some time thinking about who your customers are and what need they are hoping to fulfil by being on your page. Match this to the language that you use. Are you targeting major international companies or start-up businesses? Should you be warm and approachable in your choice of language, or scientific and authoritative? How you communicate through your website is part of your brand which is essentially how you connect emotionally with your clients.

Websites nowadays need to be more than just a two-dimensional presence online. Think outside the box. Think different. Think new and fresh and always, always, think of who your target client is, where he/she spends time online and how you can move them with your website and the type of content with which you populate it.

Happy reflecting!

 

Ellen Swabey

Ellen Swabey