Every time you visit your website, you know something’s not right.
You can’t put your finger on it, but you’re convinced that it definitely could be better.
Honestly, I am surprised by how often I get such negative feedback from business owners about their own websites. And all too often, they’re not sure about where to begin to improve the situation.
Usually there are two reasons for their dissatisfaction.
— The site is old and outmoded. Web technologies move at lightning speed and most business owners know it. A website becomes obsolete after only 2-3 years, yet many businesses are slow to keep abreast of the latest technological trends.
—Traditional management actually works against innovation. There’s a “top-down” mentality that does not always support (or understand) the idea that prospects and customers want a better user experience—which necessitates constant striving to upgrade functionality.
Not so long ago, a static website was the norm. The term “brochureware” was coined to describe content (and websites) that didn’t change. This early method of delivery is easy to understand because it was a transition between print and the uncertainty of how to present content using this new medium. (For example, during the early days of television, program format was based on how radio—the earlier breakthrough technology—had worked.)
It would take some time before the fledgling web would realize its potential.
What made this state of affairs change? The most powerful driver was search engine optimization (SEO). Now a website needed more than relevant content; it required changing content in order to help build its popularity.
Business owners performed quick checks of their competiors and discovered they were busily inserting popular keyword phrases into content, adding ALT tags to images, and monitoring site traffic based on SEO success, in addition to human visitors.
And there’s more: Innovative business pioneers were exploring the use of blogs to engage their audiences in two-way dialoguing. The technology had been there all along; somebody just had to apply it creatively to enhance communication with customers and prospects.
The application of blogs is just one step away from social media. Brilliantly, the developers of Facebook and Twitter created an easy way to do “social business” by engaging fans and friends in ongoing discussions about products / services. Social networking started out as a casual means for college students to interact. Very soon, the audience to expanded to include businesses looking for cost-effective, creative ways of interacting with their customers and prospects.
And like the early days of the web, this new networking technology continues to evolve.
So what’s in it for your business? That depends upon your attitude and open-mindedness. Using your website as a hub of marketing activity can be viewed as either a blessing or a curse. Many owners used to traditional marketing techniques find themselves in “no man’s land” when they learn that the old principles of using a “sales funnel” no longer apply. Business is no longer generated primarily from print and / or “old media” like radio and television; depending on the target audience(s), opportunities for visibility are now online. And if you don’t satisfy the necessity of providing interactivity and responsiveness, then you’re not even in a position to compete anymore.
Bringing an old website into the 2010’s is key to integrating your overall marketing plan and pulling it all together. The focus has shifted from print and “brochureware” to interactivity and engagement. By definition, it requires an ongoing effort and attention to detail.
What have you got to lose? You already know your website doesn’t measure up. It’s time to find out how to turn it into a powerhouse for profits.