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Your Business Website: What Should It Accomplish?

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"Website" is a very common word, like the word "food." Let's take a moment to talk about food. What does it mean to you? Is it a general designation of something to eat? The word "food" doesn't specify anything, such as a type, style, or quality. You can add 100 different attributes—protein, fiber, desert, entrée—to the term "food" and effectively change its meaning. Likewise, we can add 100 different attributes to the term "website" and change its meaning.

I wanted to compare a website with food for a specific reason. Assume you are having a special guest visit your home for dinner. What kind of preparations and effort will you put into the event? I can think of 10 things you might have on your to-do list:

  1. Arranging the house
  2. Ensuring comfortable lighting
  3. Catering to culinary likes and dislikes
  4. Working around food allergies
  5. Planning a starter
  6. Preparing the main course
  7. Picking a desert
  8. Selecting a wine
  9. Setting the table
  10. Ensuring your guest easily finds your house

The point is, you will put a good deal of forethought, and preparation into ensuring your guest enjoys their visit. So the question is: are you giving the same kind of forethought and planning to your business website?

It's All about Your Guest, Right?

In the above scenario, the likes of your guest outweigh your own. You are solely focused on providing the best possible experience for them. But whose likes rule when it comes to planning your business website?

My company has designed thousands of websites, and we've noticed that most business owners' focus on THEIR wants, needs, likes and dislikes over that of their guest. Most of them tell us what they want, we sketch a plan based on their input, and we deliver a finished website based on the sketch. If we attempt to educate our clients about website attributes and consider their audience's preferences, they rarely listen. They receive a functional website that meets their needs, but…could it be even better?

"With me it's always about first impressions." –Billy Zane

When it comes to planning your business website, first impressions are crucial. Have you ever seen what eHarmony has to say about first impressions? I don't see a difference between a first date and the first impression left by your website.

A part of my business works with legal entities, and I know many sales people who leave cookies when visiting a firm. Why cookies? To establish a memorable impression with the paralegal so that they'll remember them and call when they need their service. Likewise, your website should reflect your business while establishing a memorable impression. After all, it's your electronic sales professional.

Specifying Your Website

Just like food, websites come in many types. Let me help you understand the different website categories:

  • Catalog: Perfect for displaying your product or service in electronic format that mirrors a printed catalog. The goal is to talk about what you do and related products.
  • Sales: Designed for converting a visitor into a lead or client. Sales sites are dynamic with sophisticated service or product catalogs, which may include grouping, related products, multiple pictures, videos, rating, a check out, etc. The goal is to make a sale or start a conversation.
  • Corporate: Briefly talk about the corporation or company and its divisions and management team. The goal is to educate and inform about the corporation.
  • Informative: This website is made to provide relevant information about just about anything. The goal is to provide the kind of information visitors are seeking.

For small to medium sized businesses, I strongly recommend choosing the sales websites. Your website's function is to guide visitors to reach you and convince them that you're the best, the company they need to contact right now.

Consider your sales pitch. How often do you fine-tune your 30-second elevator pitch? Once a week, maybe more? The reason we do this is to see what works and what converts the most sales. But how often do you change your website content? In my experience, 95 percent of small and medium businesses owners make "one hit wonder" websites that rarely display fresh, updated content.

When you hire a sales associate, you invest a significant amount of time and training into them during the first few months. Launching your website is like hiking 5 or more sales associates. You need to invest proper time and training into your website developer. Once complete, your website will add great value to your business as an electric asset. Trust me - it has real monetary value.

I sincerely hope you now understand the true function of a business website and why you need one that brings in sales. Sales automation starts right from your website. I plan to draft a website design flow and check list to release shortly. Stay connected because you won't want to miss it!

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