Brief Description of Article: Don’t get carried away thinking about the infinite possibilities of what a website can do. Understand what your website should do for your business, and build it with that in mind.
The internet has no limits. It contains billions of pages relating to millions of different subjects, some with written text, some with audio or video, some with animation, and some with a little bit of everything. The internet is the largest collection of information in human history, and it gets bigger and more complex every minute. Exciting, isn’t it?
Sure, it’s exciting, but when it comes to your company’s website, don’t get carried away. Many people make the mistake of trying to cram as much of the internet’s capability as possible onto their website, and the result is a mess: too much design, too many tools, too many pages, too many different types on content. Once you get started down that road, it’s not easy to stop—there’s always something new you’ll think you need to add, or that someone will say you need to add.
If you’re updating your site, or especially if you’re building a new one from scratch, stop and think about what that website is really supposed to do. Is it supposed to sell products, or just convince someone to pick up the phone and call you? Is it supposed to introduce your company to people who’ve never heard of you, or provide information to an established customer base? Or is it supposed to do all of the above? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll know how to build your site.
Let’s start with that last question first. Proper organization is always important, but if your site caters to a wide audience, if it needs to be a lot of things to a lot of people, organization is absolutely critical. If you have a number of different brands or widely varied services, consider using a separate website for each. If that’s not an option, you’ll need to build different sections of your site for your different audiences, and you’ll need to make sure that anyone who goes to the site knows exactly what to do. The front page probably shouldn’t do much more than identify your company and provide links for the different sections of the site.
To see this strategy in action, go to your health insurance company’s website. Does it say much on the front page? Probably not. More likely, it just has a large graphic and some well-identified areas to click on– one for you, one for doctors and hospitals, and one for employers. You’ll see this even more clearly on the websites of companies that operate in multiple countries— some of them won’t tell you anything at all until you tell them which country you live in or what language you speak. Keep this in mind, even if you’re not running a billion-dollar corporation: you don’t want to risk alienating your customers by letting them get lost in a section of your site that doesn’t have anything to do with them.
If your site doesn’t need to do quite so much, focus on what you really do need from it. If you’re in a business with a long buying cycle, keep that in mind. You’ll need to provide lots of information about your company and your product, not ask your customer to “Proceed to Checkout.” If you’re looking for leads, build a site that does the best possible job of getting people to contact you, or to provide you with their contact information. Don’t try to close the sale on the second page of your site. It won’t work, for one thing, and it will make you appear inexperienced and unprofessional.
If, on the other hand, your site does need to sell products, focus on that. In most cases, customers who are planning to buy a T-shirt, a pair of shoes, or a tube of toothpaste don’t need to know a whole lot about the company they’re buying from. They’ll want some assurance that you’re not a fly-by-night operation, of course, so let them see right away that you have the accreditations, memberships, or partnerships that lend you credibility. Once you’ve done that, dispense with the formality and show them what they came to see.
Author Bio: Bob Regnerus, “The Leads King”, is an expert at generating online traffic and converting web visitors into prospects and clients. To learn more about how your website can be a successful, effective tool for your business, please visit www.TheLeadsKing.com.