Before you ask me to design your website, let me save you some time.
You don’t want a website.
Okay. Right away, you’re thinking: This Beth Moore chick is crazy. I’m definitely going to read her blog. Well, all tech people are a little crazy, but that’s beside the point.
A website legitimizes your business and gives you exposure, if it’s done properly.
But I’m going to tell you the truth. What you need is far bigger than a website, because the internet is complicated. A web presence is like a vehicle; it’s necessary, but you can’t drive without gas.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
1. If You Build It, They Won’t Come. Just because you launch a website doesn’t mean anyone will see it. Have you ever Googled yourself and found you were on page 375? This means you’ve driven off course. When your search ranking is low, you’re pretty much invisible. That’s why there’s an entire field devoted to getting your site noticed by Google, called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. These experts agree that the best way is have great content on your site. So … what’s your content like? Do you provide relevant, engaging information? Do you tell a unique or compelling story? Does it help your business stand out? To answer those questions, you need a good content strategy. Otherwise, you’ve just wasted money on a website that nobody will find.
2. Plenty of Fish (Cars) in (on) the Sea (Road). Just how many vehicles are on the road, and how many are the same make and model? How many businesses offer the same products or services as you? Because that’s how many you’re competing with online: every other business on the road. Even if your clients are geographically specific, you still need to rise above the traffic. If you want to attract customers, you need to stand out with a compelling visual identity and story, or brand. Remember my metaphor about websites and cars? The site is the vehicle; the strategy is the make and model & the brand is the gasoline. Any piece of marketing, be it a website or a print ad or a brochure, goes nowhere without brand. What kind of fuel do you use?
3. No Second Chance for a First Impression. You wouldn’t let clients walk into your business and wander around lost without help. Yet, that’s exactly what happens on many websites. Believe it or not, there’s an art to creating a site that customers find accessible. It’s called user experience or UX for short, and it’s what we specialize in. Every online interaction, including your mobile application, deserves the same level of attention and personalization as in real time. If customers find your website or mobile app confusing, that’s not a good experience. If things aren’t where people expect, that’s frustrating. Trust me: if your site doesn’t provide a smooth, easy, rewarding experience, it’s doing more harm than good.
4. How Big Is Your Footprint? Today’s online presence is greater than your website. If you really want to leverage the internet effectively, you need social media. Like it or don’t; it’s simply a fact. With social media, you open a fresh can of worms, with needing strategies for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and whatever platforms you decide to use. In fact, just determining your social media mix—and how it interacts with your main website—takes a professional plenty of time and research. Don’t worry. We can help you navigate better than a GPS.
Yes, the days of “I just need a website” are over. But if you’re looking to ramp up your online presence, you’re still going to need a ride. We are excellent mechanics; we know how to fill up your car, and we can find all the latest detours on the information superhighway. And if you need a website, we can get you into the online vehicle of your dreams. We promise a smooth, easy drive.
Beth Moore began designing websites and creating user expereinces before they were cool. She became Creative Director for an interactive agency at age 22, and has managed multiple facets of the development + design + user experience process. Beth is President and Founder of Street UX Design House, a full-service online product development shop, web design & marketing house for the digital age. Learn more at www.streetux.com.