People treat their websites like a drain on resources, money that has to be spent, and an expense that should be cut down for the benefit of the business. That’s completely backwards thinking, and if that’s how you’re treating your website you’d probably be better of saving the money and getting rid of it altogether.
Websites are an investment. You don’t spend money on them because you “have” to, you spend money on them because doing so will get you more business back out of them. When you treat your website like an expense, you get a bad website that doesn’t give back to you, and it is a drain. When you treat it like an investment, you get something you can measure, and something that brings in more money than it costs. That’s not an expense, that’s a money maker.
What is a Website For?
When considering their website, many business owners fall at the first hurdle, failing to understand what a website is even for. Simply knowing it’s “necessary” they go ahead and set it up, then forget about it, or let someone else manage it without much thinking about goals or purpose.
To properly make use of your website, you need to understand what it’s for, what it’s doing for you and how you intend to use it.
The short version is this: a website is there to bring more customers in from further afield; to give them an easy way to see your services at their own leisure; to give them the information they need, when they need it; and to present yourself in the way you want to be seen.
Your website is your shop window, your marketing, your customer service and your PR ambassador, all in one. If that’s not important, then what is?
Generate leads and sales.
A key reason to have a website is to generate enquiries, leads and sales.
This can be done in a number of ways.
- Using Live chat to engage with site visitors or customers
- Offering great free content in exchange for the visitors details
- People enquiring directly through the website.
- Placing an order of your services or your products.
Pass these leads and sales into your Crm system and you have the beginnings of your sales funnels.
A website should make it easier for your customers to buy your products, or hire your services. That means it should be easy for them to use, to find what they’re looking for and how to purchase it. That might mean having an online checkout, or it might require a contact form, but either way they should be able to complete that transaction at their own leisure, any time of day or night, without any sort of difficulty.
To make that easier, you should be investing in a good user interface (UI), intuitive navigation, clear, easy-to-understand copy and ensuring your website functions correctly. If customers find it difficult to use your website, they’ll just go somewhere else, and you’ve spent money on it for nothing.
Reach a Wider Audience
Your website lets you reach a wider audience than would otherwise be possible with only local and print adverts. You can take advantage of the global reach of search engines, social media, online paid advertisements and emails to expand your reach and bring more people to your business. Doing so requires some work on your part though, it’s not just automatic.
Give People What They Need
80% of people browse online for further information before making a purchase. Your website is your chance to give them the information they’re looking for, so they can make the decision that’s right for them. Without that information, they’re likely to choose a more well-informed option and leave you behind.
Investing in your website isn’t just about pushing people through a sales funnel, it’s about providing them with more information, and helping to answer their questions before they even ask them. Customers appreciate it when you help them find what they’re looking for, and that pays off when they choose to buy from you, now or in future.
Build Your Brand
While you’re at it, your website is a place where you get to talk more about yourself. You’re in complete control of the message you give out, and it’s the perfect opportunity to build your brand. Let people see you the way you want to be seen.
An empty, poorly built or difficult to use website that lacks investment reflects badly on your business and brand. It shows you as a company that doesn’t even care about itself, let alone its customers. A well designed site that looks after customer needs shows a brand that cares for its customers. A website with good copy that reinforces brand ideals builds you up even further.
Keep Building for Better Returns
It’s not enough to simply build a website and then hope that it brings in more business while you try to reduce its cost as much as possible. Your website represents your business, possibly to even more people than any office or physical store does. If you don’t respect it, then it will simply be a waste of money, just as you expect. But if you put the time, effort and money into it, it will repay you much, much more.
It’s also not enough to build a good website once. It’s something you keep building, better and better. There are always improvements to be made, and every one increases the returns from the investment as a whole.
The more care you give your website, the more you get out of it, so stop treating it as a “necessary” expense, and start treating it like any other investment.
Your website is a major part of your businesses branding, marketing and customer service.
You have to treat it as an investment in money and time to help you see the right results for your business regarding leads, sales and customer loyalty. If you put little time and effort in your rewards will be limited.