“If you build a website they will come” !
This is a common misconception about getting a website done, Often as web developers we find ourselves in the awkward position of trying to explain that a website is just a tool albeit a vital tool for marketing. A client often imagines getting a website done and they are suddenly inundated with business and their promotional work efforts end there. Then we as web developers are left with the awkward task of trying to explain that a website is not a magical force that suddenly grants wishes, It is a tool that allows you to reach a greater audience in ways beyond the physical presence. And for that to happen many factors have to come together, and so here are the ways to ensure that your website is successful:
1- Promote Your website
It might sound ironic that such a powerful tool of promotion like a website needs to be promoted but that’s exactly what you need to do, otherwise it’s like a drop of water in a vast ocean. Imagine in the days before the internet when having a catchy phone number for your business like 1-800-buy-cars was the equivalent of a domain name today. Well now imagine that you registered that phone number and that’s all you did. So now you are standing there wondering why isn’t anyone calling? Well even back in the day you had to invest in listing it in the yellow pages, or putting it on a billboard, paint it on a truck or in advertising in a local newspaper and only then the calls would start to come in.
Well today is no different, you buy a domain name like for example: www.buycars.com and you invest in SEO ( search engine optimization ) in order to compete with the other websites in search engines but you still add the domain name (today’s equivalent of the 1-800 number) to everything from your vehicles to any promotional materials and appropriate mediums just like back in the day.
2- Use your Website
This might also sound ironic but time and time again I hear “so I have a website and now what” ? And so I explain that a website is a tool, It’s you representative online 24/7 365 days a year. What do you want it to do for you? Is it the online version of your brick and mortar store? Is it a source of information? What do you want it to accomplish for you? Because if you don’t know, how do you want a visitor to know?
Let’s use the example I gave previously of www.buycars.com. If your website has just a picture of you standing in front of your car dealership giving a thumbs up sign, your not going to get much out of your website, but if you have gorgeous images and video of your fleet of cars with lots of information and prices, you will get a completely different result.
3- Be Credible
Many clients fail to realize that a website is often the first impression a potential client gets of your business and so if they go to your website for whatever reason and they aren’t impressed either by lack of information or lack of focus on the purpose of the website, then they will leave with that impression of you and your business. Statistically it’s a proven fact that a visitor to a website will leave after only a few seconds on a website if he or she doesn’t find what they are looking for, So your website has to justify it’s existence and be concise and to the point.
I often say to people “When you wanna know about a restaurant, you go to their bathroom, If the bathroom is clean you can bet that this is a well run restaurant with a clean kitchen” And so If you wanna know about a business or organization visit their website, You can learn a lot about what you’ll see:
• Old stale content = Bad work ethic
• Misleading information = Dubious business practices
• Chronic incorrect information = Incompetence
• Unresponsive from contact efforts on site = Bad customer service
… and so on and so forth the list goes on ! Having a website is a wonderful thing that can and should bring in many rewards, But only if it is used diligently as a powerful tool to help you in your endeavors very much in the same way you would be meticulous in any other aspect of your business.
Hopefully I’ve addressed the misconception… NO not just because you built it they will come ! They will come if you follow the three steps I’ve listed below.