Image © Cam Villay
I'll just come out and say it like this – if you are serious about having a business and not a hobby then you need to hire a professional to design and build your website, not your kid, neighbor or friend. Here's why…
A Website Is Made For Marketing
First off your website is a marketing tool. In order for it to effectively capture and keep the attention of your ideal customers and convert them into paying customers t needs to accomplish a few things:
- It needs to attract your ideal customers.
- It needs to speak directly to them and talk about their dreams, failures, fears, suspicions and enemies
- It needs to keep their attention (see #2)
- It needs to have some type of a funnel in place to capture the interested people as leads and convert them into paying customers
If your kid (or neighbor or friend) can:
- Help you define your ideal customer
- Do the hours of research required to find where these folks live online (if they are online)
- Capture the language they use to describe your products/services
- Write copy that captures the attention of your ideal customers
- Understand how to create lead capture mechanisms
- Understand how to collect information using web analytics and use that information to improve the website and increase conversion rates
… then by all means consider them for the job.
Let's Talk About Employees For A Second
On a recent project an employee of the company I was contracted to do a website for used iWeb to create a “case study” page, showed it to the bosses, and then said (and I paraphrase):
See it isn't that hard. Why do we have to pay them to do this?
His “case study” was missing a few key elements:
- Substance. The “case study” consisted of two paragraphs, most of which described a conversation between he and the client.
- Any context for the information. He mentioned the client's name once but never said who he was, why they were doing the project, what the results of the project were, etc.
- A testimonial from the client.
Also the case study wasn't integrated into any of their existing assets (no navigation), didn't match up with their branding, didn't relate at all to their corporate mission and the image they want to portray… I could go on and on.
A Website Is An Investment
Businesses spend money on a lot of things:
- Capital assets – building, equipment, computers
- Employees – payroll, benefits, continuing education (hopefully)
All of these are investments that bring a return. Back in the 1990's when the web was new a website may have acted as a brochure, but today it's a living entity with a job to do. It needs to evolve with your business and customers and be making you money.
Would you stop doing sales? Would you stop purchasing the equipment you need to do your job? Would you not invest in education that can help you bring in even more cash?
Then why won't you invest in a website that will help you get more customers and clients?
Investing in your website is simply smart business.
Advice For Those With A Crappy Website
A “crappy” website has the following attributes:
- It's static
- You are unable to manage the information on the website yourself
- It doesn't have a blog component
- There is no way for your visitors to share your information on social media websites
- It has no way of capturing leads
- It doesn't reflect your or your brand
- The design instantly turns people off or sends them into an epileptic seizure (there are sites online like this today, believe it!)
A website that matches one or more items on that list is working against you. It is literally making people click away and not even give your business consideration.
Business is built on relationships. Whether you're selling products or providing services, once someone hears about your business I guarantee they are looking for your website. That's the where the zero moment of truth comes in.
The first impression is the one given by the person talking about your business. The next and very critical impression comes when the person goes to find our more about you – your website. If you don't keep that fantastic impression going you're S-O-L.
Don't think people judge you on your website? Keep thinking that. I wish you luck.
Invest In Your Website
So please, please I urge you see your website for what it is – an investment. It is a direct reflection of your business. It is often times the first impression someone gets of your business, and many times the deciding factor for whether or not they do business with you.
Put your best foot forward online. Keep the site up to date and ensure it always speaks to your ideal customers.
Put in the time and money required to make it work for you. Invest in your website.