Ever since I started building websites for businesses, personalities and other organizations, my first question to the new client is "What do you want your website to do for you?"
The most common response is a 50,000 foot overview of "growing" their business or raising awareness of a interest.
Several hundreds of thousands of businesses, both small and large have already embroidered online advertising, providing them with a new means to receiving orders as well as attracting new customers and offering existing ones access to valuable information about their services.
Moreover, a well-designed and properlymarked web site can give you the potential to reach not only your local market, but international markets and indeed the world market. The possibilities for increased turnover and business growth are there before fabulous!
Recent data reports show that with 100,000+ prospective clients going online each month there are now well over 1 billion potential customers around the world to whom your products or ideas can be offered. In addition, there are more disabled people using the Internet through advanced technology such as screen reading software, etc – it's estimated that this section of the global community accounts for approx 10% of all traffic.
Most of your competitors will already have web sites, but are they effective?
The old adage "Build it, and they will come" no longer applies to businesses who simply launch a website and sit back to expect the orders to come rolling in. The internet is a volatile marketplace, each website seeking to climb the Google ladder to get their website listed at the top, in the hopes that visitors will come to their website and buy their products or visit their store.
Today's internet marketplace simply is not that simple – because even if a website gets to the top of the search engine's listing, it still does not mean that they're guaranteed a click from the visitor's ever scanning and easily distracted eyes. Companies have dumped buckets of money into Search Engine Optimization programs, and have abandoned hope due to the lack or ROI (Return on Investment).
OK, let's say they DO click on your listing …
It's time for your website to come up. According to reports from the propeller-heads who count things like statistics and web traffic, the average visitor will give your website just 3 full seconds to capture their attention before deciding whether to hit that "BACK" button or investigate further. Sadly, it's often less than that, but I am being generous here.
If the website is outdated, or is ladened a myriad of design issues and nothing to offer the visitor except a page full of wordy descriptions and reflecting about how good the company is, then your chances of capturing anything more than a back-click is almost nil. No, it's less than nil, but again, I'm being generous.
What's really Important?
The importance of an interactive, engaging and purposeful website can not be overlooked or taken for granted. It is my personal opinion (achieved through experience) that the potential customer is coming to your website, with a need to fill one or all of the following:
- They have a problem, and need a solution or information to solve a problem.
- They know what they want, and want more information to form a decision or assistance with solving a problem.
- They do not know what they want, and are researching for information before they decide what they do want, or identify a solution to a possible problem.
If the website the visitor is viewing does not fulfill one (or all) of these three points, (within 8 seconds) it is certain they will abandon that page, and return to where they came from and resume their search, most likely never to return. Where do they go? Why, your competition, sadly to say.
Armed with a formula for providing an answer, and solving a need that the customer has, the website becomes more than just an online advertisement. It becomes a trusted resource that your visitor will rely on to return to again for additional information, or a resource of value.
As with many things, the trust of a customer is an earned value which must be cultured, and honored – without it, the relationship between your company and the customer will never grow, or even worse, may cause harm to your business if they communicate negatively about their experience with your website.
"What has your website done for you laTely?"