Websites as an Investment Part 4: What happens if I wait?
Welcome back. In this final instalment of the series, we look at that thing that's most precious of all... time.
I haven’t got time to think about the website!”
We hear you:
- You've got your day job to do!
- You have a to-do list as long as both your arms and sorting our your website isn't even on that list!
- The digital landscape is daunting and ever-evolving and that puts you off doing any research.
- Your website needs some serious thought, but it's going to be painful and time-consuming.
What you need is some of that mythical stuff we all wish we had some of... spare time.
I don't suppose that sounds familiar?
The harsh truth.
You're being left behind!
Your smartest competitors will be ahead of the game. Their websites will work on mobile devices. They'll be using a content management system to publish fresh and relevant content as often as desired without paying a developer. They'll be riding high in search engine rankings because of the way their site and content is structured. Essentially your competitors are standing between you and all of your potential customers.
You're losing business!
Your site might be fantastic.
However... if you're not sure, ask yourself whether any of these sound familiar when you think about your website:
- "It's not really that bad" or "it's okay for now"
- "I suppose it could be better, but there are more important things to spend my time on at the moment"
- "I'm not sure what benefit the website is driving to the business"
- "I can't easily find out what needs to be improved"
- "The website isn't that important"
If any of these sound familiar then STOP and take some time to analyse. Use data and observations, and be careful not to use assumptions and opinions.
The most tangible way to quantify how well your website is doing is to calculate it.
Warning: A lot of people get nervous at this point because they fear what they might discover. This is normal. But don't be tempted to bury your head in the sand.
If you are familiar with Google Analytics, or other website analytics tools, try this:
- How many times are your competitors more visible than you in web searches for your key search terms? (Use your web analytics tools to find out what search terms people are using when they find your site and visit you. There are many keyword tools out there that will tell you how you're doing on those keywords vs. your competitors)
- Are your prospects completing the goals you want them to on your site? (e.g. this might be buying something, downloading information, or contacting you) At what stages of the journey are they dropping out?
- Are your prospects spending a significant time on your site or leaving right away? (i.e. if they are 'bouncing' off straight away, ask yourself: what were they looking for that they didn't find? Or were they unable to use your site e.g. on a mobile?)
- What is a lead (i.e. a completed website goal) worth to you in ££s (be specific)? What does a 10% improvement look like? 50%?
Hopefully, the answers to the above questions will have got you thinking.
Still "not that bad?"
You're website is YOU when you aren't there
Is your website representing you in the very best light?
When looking at your website, your potential customers are judging you. They're asking: what kind of company you are, what level of professionalism and service they can expect, or how good your products or services are. You might be absolutely amazing at whatever it is you do but your website visitors don't know you yet. They've never spoken to you. They've never seen your work. And they are judging you without you even being there to prove yourself.
Your digital presence is an extension of your business. It's a representation of your business values. It's a refection of the quality of your products and services. And it absolutely should be telling people that you're the company to address that prospect's needs.
If your competitors have the kinds of websites that answers a prospect's questions quickly and entices them in, and you have an out-dated, sub-optimal website which doesn't, who do you think your prospect will choose?
And now the really harsh truth.
If you're telling yourself that all this research takes time that you simply don't have then you're not alone!
Even this basic research is time you don't currently have scheduled in. As we already established, your time is taken up with your day job.
But you already know this isn't going to get better by itself. In fact, it can only get worse.
We know this all sounds like doom and gloom, but that's the harsh reality. If you're still sure you haven't got time to invest in your online presence then we can only assume that you are one of the very few businesses on the planet these days who do not use a website to drive business.
But, for the rest of us, the pace of change is unrelenting. Whether it's consumer web trends, Google's algorithm tweaks or the speed of online innovation, it is undeniable that the landscape is shifting on an almost daily basis. You and your business need to be in a position to stay ahead. You need to make decisions and changes quickly, and have a website that is fast, flexible and scalable enough not just to keep up, but to get ahead of your competitors. You need to get your brand voice heard, your offer out in the market, and shine.
It's very possible that this could be the single most profitable time you'll ever spend to grow (or even maintain) your business.
Now finally, the good news.
You don't actually have to be an expert in web technologies yourself to move this forward. You just need to know what your website means to your business, what value you need your website to drive, and who your target market is. The right website partner can take this information, and work with you to define the rest.
Every business deserves to have a great website that will help them be more successful. There's a solution out there for everyone, for different budgets, and different requirements. There's no reason to be daunted or waste lots of your very precious time, if you take the right steps.
To sum up the previous three parts of this series, you need to do the following:
- Decide exactly what you need your website to do for you and how it fits into your overall business strategy
- Ascertain your budget (i.e. the amount you're willing and able to invest to get the returns you want to see)
- Choose the right website partner to help you distil your requirements into actionable deliverables, to help you get the most from your web presence
- And... Don't wait too long!
Go, Go, Go!
So what are you waiting for?!
We hope you've enjoyed this series and that you're now all fired up and armed with the knowledge to help you get your web presence firing on all cylinders, really returning on investment and working it's very hardest for your business.
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