When I meet someone new and collect their business card, I always ask if they have a website. I want to check it out to see how this interesting person is being represented online. Does their website match their personality, or leave me with a completely different impression than the one I got from our in-person meeting?
If they do have a website, my next question is “How’s it working for you?“
I’ve only met one person who has proudly smiled and told me they love their website, that it’s helped them connect with their clients and that they can’t believe they used to do business without one. Only one person. EVER.
The most common response is confusion. It seems most people and businesses have not given much thought to whether their website provides any value or not.
If your website happiness isn’t at least 85% (always leave room to improve!), or you don’t know if or how it is impacting your business, it’s probably time to talk to a web professional to help you ramp up your online presence.
Of course the visual design and structure need to be rock solid. But to be valuable, your website also needs:
Useful content is still the #1 reason people come to your website. They want to know what you know! Find out what they want and give it to them. Quality content is also the #1 factor used by search engines to rank your site in organic search listings so people can find you.
Content Management & Publishing
It’s impossible for any person or business to say what they need to say, publish it once and never return to it again. Times change. Practices change. Customers change. Your business changes. If it isn’t super simple to update your existing content, add new content, and publish and share specific content (e.g., blog posts) as quickly as your business changes, your website will be stagnant, outdated and useless before you can say Content Management Capabilities.
You and your customers need methods for connecting and interacting with one another. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to do this and social tools that facilitate the process are available in abundance. Obvious calls-to-action on your website will direct people where they need to go to join the conversation.
Websites can be very simple or complex and serve many purposes. Most businesses will find that addressing fundamental issues such as design, content, management and interaction will dramatically improve the value of their website and how they and their customers use it.