Why do you have a website?

It may seem like a rhetorical question… but if you are a website owner, have you asked yourself “what is my website really for?” Let’s ignore technology and design, and return to first principles…

If you’re an SME, your website will probably represent a substantial four (maybe five) figure investment.
Therefore, a solid business reason should be established before you begin the process. Questions that should be asked include:

• What is the website intended to achieve?
• How will I measure whether my investment has been worthwhile?
• Who will be using the website?
• What will these people really use it for, and why do they come?
• Does whoever is building the website actively understand these concepts?
• Can I communicate my marketing intentions to the website designer?

Too many websites disregard their customers’ understanding, their needs (real or perceived) and the crucial buying decisions that will be taking place in their subconscious minds.

Language used is all too often based on the business’ own terms, and information is structured loosely on their own technical knowledge (let’s say features, not benefits).

Successful websites are built on the crucial principle of achieving ROI – a familiar principle to most business owners but fewer website owners.

To overcome this, we can follow some simple steps:
1) Ask your customers what information they would look for on your website, and what questions they may have.
2) Consider how your homepage takes into account and guides the different types of visitors you receive – prospective customers, existing customers, potential recruits, potential investors.
3) How do you (or will you) measure return on investment? Online sales, enquiries, visitors, telephone calls, brochure requests? Who will monitor these?
4) Ensure that the language used is clear, and promotes customer understanding, not solely demonstration of your technical ability

With the answers to these questions, you’re halfway there to real online success. A website should always be an investment, and not an expense…

Leon Calverley
Business Development Director
Door 4