10 Ingredients of a Remarkable Website – Linda Kleist
I have met with too many business owners who give only a secondary consideration of their online presence, like throwing together a cheap site because they need something “out there.” Here are some real life examples:
A dentist office is using a free-with-hosting site that three other neighborhood dentists in the same city are also using.
Custom Template is an oxymoron.
A manufacturing client assigned a member of the sales staff to build their site using a “free custom site-builder with hosting.”
Your logo doesn’t make it branded.
A global product engineering company asked me to paste their logo on an old site they bought for a song from a company going out of business.
If you’re guilty of any of these or are in that frame of mind, let’s stop a minute and think this through! Your site is about you. Your business is one of your greatest investments, your golden goose, yet you want to go cheap on your website!? Why is that? Here are three top winners of the reasons I hear:
- Business owners want to save money
- Business owners don’t believe a web site is going to bring new customers
- Business owners don’t think an abysmal website will turn customers away
Your website is a window into your business. It invites the world into your front door to learn more about who you are, what you do, and helps them decide whether they should do business with you. When you’re building a website, careful thought should be given to the impression made in the first couple seconds. People are clicking to your site from well-designed social media pages and world-class news and e-commerce sites: when they arrive at your home page, do they wince, laugh or groan?
Imagine that you needed to remodel the entrance into your office. Would you hire you your high school nephew to get it ready for important prospects coming the next day? Could you imagine saying, “Just get some old chairs and paint ‘em to match the wall. How about sticking a poster of a pretty receptionist behind the desk and have a recorded greeting looping behind it–can you do that and make it look kinda real? Oh, and put some shelves all over the walls with books no one will read, so we look smart, too.”
Really smart business owners I meet do something quite similar with their web sites. Recently, on a branding project for a professional service company, I spoke with the business owner about their company website: a crammed, outdated template-site with a lot of unnecessary content. The content is “created especially for his industry” by a third party resource and is included in the “we-do-it-all-for-you!” monthly payment plan. This template site and its generic call-to-action made this particular business look like a hole in the wall when in truth, it is quite the opposite.
Nothing new, not impressive, and not unique.
10 Ingredients for a Remarkable Website
When you need a site, and while you’re building it, keep asking these questions:
- Who is this site trying to reach?
- Does it give the information prospects need to choose whether to buy from us?
- Is our message clear (or is the site busy and difficult to navigate)?
- Do search engines find it (original, relevant, standard code, etc.)?
- Does it strengthen our brand?
You deserve a real website. Your real website will be built for your business’ needs from the foundation. Here’s five benefits to a website that brings real value:
- You and your designer began the process with an analysis of
- The objectives of your site
- What your customers’ need-to-know
- What you want your customers to do
- An understanding of your brand’s graphic standards and strategy
- It strengthens your brand visually and with your brand messages.
- It has a clear call to action on every page.
- You own it. It’s pretty simple, but I run into business owners who are unclear about the difference between the build-your-own-free-website services and having your own site.
Many hosting companies set up files for you to put upload your content (written copy and images). As long as you are paying to host with them, you have a website out there. If you want to switch hosting companies, your website disappears. A site you own is coded in files that are uploaded to a server. You can take to any hosting company.
- You can update relevant content without having to call on your designer.
- It loads quickly, search engines can find it and it looks beautiful in every browser on any size device—from a smart phone to a 30” monitor.
You pour your life blood into your business. It gives value. Invite the world in!