How important is your website for your business? Do you care how visitors to your website perceive your business? Does your website portray your business favourably? Does it automatically capture leads in a CRM? Can the visitors view your website on all devices? Do you view your website as expenditure or an investment? Think about it – these are questions that determine the quality of your website, and whether or not it works. Your attitude towards business from the the Internet is reflected in the website you get!
Unfortunately, a lot of websites fail. As a website reviewer, I see so many websites that look tacky, have little or no functionality and have content that detracts, instead of adding value to the brand. Often, even when the content is good, viewers don’t read it because they can’t get past the poor design. If the content does get read, it loses credibility because the design looks cheap and does not build trust.
Why websites fail
One chief reason why websites fail is that business owners think of websites as an expense and would like to spend as little as possible on getting a website developed. Which is why you might choose to entrust your website to an amateur, a colleague’s son or friend, who promises to put it together for a song. (Would you take such a risk with your business, I wonder!) The result? More often than not, a website that is unaesthetic, functionally crippled and has ridiculous content – one that gives visitors the feeling that you do not care enough about quality. One look at your website and viewers will be prejudiced about your business, your products and your services.
Your website is an investment
Change the way you think. Your website is an investment. One that is going to fetch you great returns. After all, an effective website can advertise your business 24 hours a day, track your visitors, capture sales leads (prospective customers) online, acquire customers, sell your products, increase the scope of your business and do much more!
To ensure that your website works, do your homework well. Set your website goals. Knowing what those goals are and how to accomplish them through your website will help determine what it should look like and what it should do. After all, it is your website and who else but you would know best what your business is about and how it runs! Research your buyer persona, so that you can address their needs and give them effective solutions. Remember, your website should be created for the benefit of visitors. Only then will it benefit you!
Choose your website developer carefully
A website is best developed by a team of specialists in tandem. A graphic designer might give you the most fantastic design, but may not know the intricacies of website structure and functionality. In the same way, a content writer might dish out the most interesting and engaging content, but might know nothing about programming or writing HTML! It is also important to remember that a website is an excellent marketing tool and if your website is not marketing-oriented or solutions-led, it will not work even if it has a great design! Very often, a web design company is actually just one guy, who knows little about marketing and who subcontracts the content to a freelance writer, and the programming to another freelance programmer. In such a scenario, there is little or no coordination and team work. Getting any changes done becomes tiresome and frustrating, for obvious reasons. Design, functionality and content go hand in hand and must be coordinated. You should therefore choose your website developer with care.
Configure your website to a good inbound marketing CRM
It is important that your website is configured to a good sales and marketing CRM that captures every lead it generates product-wise from each product page of your website. Organisations can have many products today and that could lead to a lot of confusion if it is not classified well enough among your sales team members.
A good CRM should be able to classify leads by product, by source or channel and by campaign. So that you are able to calculate how many leads or clients came from your website or the myriad campaigns that you are doing in different Internet channels such as search marketing, email marketing, social media – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – and perhaps even from advertising in YouTube or 3rd party ad networks.
Ensure that a CRM is sales and marketing centric
The CRM you choose for your website should have processes in place, which helps your sales team in achieving higher conversions. It should have inbuilt features to track leads or even help sales managers to track each member of his sales team. The sales manager should be able to see product wise sales figures in real time and plan his efforts better.
Similarly the CRM should be able to help marketing managers gain business insights. They should be able to identify the campaigns which performed better so that the non-performing ones can be weeded out. He should also be able to evaluate which Internet channels are working for his product or service. So that he is able to get the most out of his ad spends.
To sum up, invest wisely in your website. You might end up losing more than just money, if you are saddled with a website that does not live up to your business!
Sadhana Karnad is a research writer at Abhiyan, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. A website critic, she reviews Internet properties in terms of design and content. Reach Sadhana via LinkedIn.
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