In today’s marketplace, a company’s website is their first impression with prospects. It’s a rare purchase today that doesn’t begin with some sort of research or due diligence. And as consumers (both B2C and B2B) find themselves more time starved and more web savvy – the research tool of choice is often a Google search.
Long before they’ll set an appointment for a consultation or walk into your retail establishment – they’re scoping you out on the web. It makes sense then, that when it comes to your web presence you’d want to put your best foot forward, doesn’t it?
And yet, if you spend any time on the web – you run into a lot of stale, outdated websites. We just launched a new website for a client and his comment was “phew, now I can actually give people our web address again.” They’d ignored their website for so long – they literally weren’t giving people the URL to avoid embarrassment.
When asked, companies say that they don’t update their website because:
- They don’t have the time
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to devote to it
- They don’t have the budget
- They don’t want to add interactive elements because they don’t have time to maintain them
- The last redesign was such a painful process, they can’t think of going there again
But letting a stale or static website be your first “how do” to potential customers is more costly than you might imagine.
If you’ve got dated copy or information (many websites make it pretty obvious they haven’t been updated in years…their latest newsletter issue is from 2008 or the last bit of news in their newsroom is from three years ago) what you’re saying to visitors is that you aren’t so hot will follow up and attention to detail.
If your design is tough to navigate (you know…you just keep adding a page here or there, but there’s no organizational structure) you are going to frustrate that potential customer before they can figure out if you have what they want to buy.
Cheaping out by letting your cousin, neighbor or other amateur build your website says that you aren’t a successful business. You don’t have to build the Taj Mahal of websites but you do want something that speaks to your professionalism and functions the way you want it to.
Are you wondering if your website is working as hard for you as it should? See how your site matches up with these stats.
Websites with blogs get 55% more traffic (Are you sharing your expertise and taking advantage of the organic SEO value of that effort?)
Companies who blog get 79% more followers on Twitter (How does your stale website encourage me to connect with you on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and other interactive spots?)
The #1 attribute people want is a websites that is easy to navigate so they can quickly find the exact information they want. They don’t want to have to click 4 times or guess which heading the information is hiding behind.
People want contact information so they can call, write or drop by. This floors me but many companies do not include offline contact options to their web visitors.
Keep the distractions at a minimum. People want to be able to scan your page and figure out what’s there and where to go next. If you pack every bit of space with information, you actually get in their way. Remember, your goal is not to tell them everything so they don’t have to call. Your goal is to tell them enough to make them want to call.
Your website is your introduction to many of your potential customers Is it the way you want to be introduced or is it time to consider a re-do?