This blog post will answer why creating a website for your business shouldn’t be an afterthought.
For this, we will explore the importance of having a website and the benefits it provides as well as look at why you’d wouldn’t just have a social media page.
For a little taster, some of the points include your website is the face of your business, the content of your website should match and influence the design and you get to build relationships.
That’s enough introductory text, so let’s get to it.
Website is the face of your business
Your website is seen by everyone, anytime, anywhere. It’s the main online portal where your clients and future clients get information for all aspects of your business whether you are selling products or services. It allows them to get in contact with you through their preferred method (phone, email, contact form, live chat).
When people think of a product or service, what do they do? They go online and search for businesses. You want your business website to show up in the results and stand out and come out on top of your competition.
Because of this, your website needs to be well designed, developed and have a good content strategy in place.
Take this analogy to make the impact of leaving your website as an afterthought will have. You would not go to a client meeting looking tatty and old (outdated), nor would you turn up in clothes that do not represent what makes up you, your business and your brand.
It simply would give off the wrong image to the client.
You would want to look fitting (your style of clothes have an impact on how people see you and your business) and credible.
So, having a badly designed and developed website would give off the wrong image, provide negative user experience and people will not associate the look and feel of your website with your physical business. They would feel “separate”.
On the flip side, having a well designed and developed website that’s got the most excellent user experience you could ask for. The person using it will have an image of a well established professional business (that could be operating from a garden shed).
The chances of that happening are slim to none, it was just to give you an idea of how impactful a website can have on your clients or potential clients.
Your content should match and influence your web design
It’s all about the content.
Here at Canny, a dilemma we often face is how to get a client’s content into their shiny new websites. Often a client sends over a boatload of text for just one testimonial. Really?
Testimonials (the ones you see pop up around websites) are meant to be short and sweet.
Leaving your website as an afterthought and possibly cobbling it together using a builder is a big no-no.
This is because having a website made with a theme or builder means it’s not built ground up for you and your business.
Also, if a non-designer “designs” a website using a builder, they don’t have a solid understanding of web design, user interface design or user experience design.
Nor can totally bespoke features be added. Why? Because they tend to require custom code.
Who wants to deal with code anyways? Well, professional developers that work at good agencies.
With all that said, what do we actually mean when we say “your content should influence your web design”?
Well, take the example of the testimonials we mentioned before (while it’s still fresh in your mind).
If we are designing a website for a client who has lots and lots of testimonials, we will create a design that works with that content. Because the design works with the content, the content looks good in the design. Content and design work hand in hand with each other.
If your website is an afterthought, you may have trouble making your website look good with the content you have.
If you are using a theme, you may be saying to yourself “but it looks good in the preview”. This is because content can have a drastic effect on how the design of the website looks.
It takes a while to develop good content
While content is still fresh in our minds, let’s talk about more content!
Long story short, it takes a while to develop good content.
Content isn’t just the text that “fill” up the pages of your webpages, it’s your blog, part of your design (as we now know), it brings your website to life. It makes it feel as if it’s truly dynamic and constantly being updated.
The last thing you want is a stale looking website that rarely has content updates.
For this not to happen, you need to have a content strategy in place. If you bothered to click on the link earlier, you will have already seen this. If not here’s our content strategy services.
To put this in perspective, here’s a bullet list of the content requirements of a typical website:
- Navigation text and links
- Footer text and links
- Hero sections for each page
- Home page
- About us page
- Contact us page
- Services page
- Sub services page
- How we help page
- Blog listing page
- Blog single page
- Reusable sections throughout the website
- Contact forms
- Call to actions
And much more.
There are often intricate areas as to where content has to be placed.
Here is a perfect example on CentreStage a photography website of how web design and content go hand in hand. It either makes or breaks the website. The design and content of this design totally work.
We say a website shouldn’t be an afterthought. Well, the same applies to content.
Website is part of your marketing
We know your website is the primary online “portal” for your business. So it must be part of your marketing.
Don’t just think your website is going to do the work for you because it’s “sitting” online. If you have this mindset, it will just sit there and cost you money.
You need to make your website part of your marketing plan from the get-go.
Whether your users are online or offline, your marketing efforts will generally point clients towards your business website.
Not only does your marketing efforts need to point clients to your website, but your website needs to be good at marketing too.
- To have an effective conversion rate
- To stand out from the competition
- To reflect your branding
- To have good SEO
- To be responsive
- To be fast
If your website falls short in any of the above you are harming your business’s chances of success.
One final point. It’s all well and good having a content strategy and marketing plan. But you need to understand your target market. This isn’t the post to elaborate on this topic, so here’s a post on the complete list of web design services and deliverables that covers this topic.
Business Brand and website should go hand in hand
Your website needs to match your brand. Not only does your website and content need to work hand in hand, but the whole of your site needs to match and reflect your brand.
If you build your website using a theme or builder, then your website will not 100% match and reflect your brand.
This is because they tend to be “generic” and many many people/other businesses use them and they are not totally bespoke to your business.
Some simple things that make up your brand that can be applied to your website are your brand colours, fonts and logo.
However, these are the simple things that can be applied to themes and website builders.
There are more complex things to consider.
These are the things that should be left to the professionals. These include UI and UX.
How people see and use your website has an impact on how they perceive your brand.
If your website is hard to use, they will simply not use your business and they will start formulating opinions about your business.
Some things that generally come to mind are:
- Not professional
- Poor quality product/service
- Is the website safe to use (are personal details protected. I.e. bank details for ecommerce sites)
- It doesn’t even match the business brand (if they’ve visited your business)
Let’s take a look at a real-life scenario to put this into perspective.
Imagine you were running a restaurant and had a lovely set of bespoke menus.
You also would have a website for your restaurant with the menu on that.
The menu on your website should match the physical menu down to a T.
If it does not, your customers will instantly notice this.
If you were rushing to get your site done, or are using a builder, the chances are you would have to use some sort of plugin for the menu with limited styling capabilities. If there are advanced styling capabilities, it will more than likely need to be done with code.
If you go to a professional agency, all of this kind of stuff will be dealt with for you.
You get to build relationships (agency)
If you go to a professional agency to have a website built from the very beginning, the chances are you will have the opportunity to build solid long-lasting relationships with the people who you are working with.
If you leave your website as an afterthought, chances are you will want your website done and dusted as fast as possible giving no time to build a relationship.
If this were the case, chances are you would turn to a “quick” website builder that allows you to build a website in “minutes” which is what some companies offer.
This is partly true if you want your website to look exactly like 1000s of other websites out there.
You will simply drop a few images here and there, add a bit of copy and some colour and voila it’s done.
With an agency, it takes time to develop a relationship (this process cannot be rushed). But the benefits are totally awesome. Here’s a post on why you want to work with an agency.
In the end, the term “work with an agency” won’t even seem like work. You will enjoy coming in and having a chat and catch up with the team.
Some other benefits building a relationship with an agency has to offer are:
- Help with SEO
- Help with Content
- Help to understand how customers use your website
- The ability to add new functionality to your website when needed
These are a few key points listed out from the linked blog post above, so be sure to check it out (if you haven’t already done).
You can use your website to hype your business launch or product launches
Having a landing page solely dedicated to your business is very exciting. We have just completed a project for a new startup MyOrchard and have built a landing page to show off their new product.
Having a landing page has some serious benefits.
Even before you start selling, you can build a mailing list to start sending out promotional material.
You can get your brand out there and known before you start selling.
You have the opportunity to become a known business as if you are a new business, chances are few people will know about you.
Leaving your website as an afterthought isn’t just affecting you as a business, but you are getting the message out there that you simply don’t care about your customers/clients and are not really bothered about selling what you have.
Landing pages are not just used for new businesses, they can be used for other purposes such as if your business is attending a networking event and want to let people know you are visiting their area.
This takes time and effort to get right. You need to build the landing page to suit the target market of where you’re visiting.
There is also another area you need to consider when having a landing page built. You need a way to promote the page. This can be done through paid social media such as Linked in ads.
This will all be part of your marketing strategy, it shouldn’t just be done on a whim. It needs to be planned out and tracked. Tracked because you need to see what works and what doesn’t work.
Social Media Pages
If you just haven’t considered a website at all, you may be thinking “I can just set up a Facebook page”. The answer is no.
Because you need a website instead of a Facebook page. It’s that simple.
Let’s break this down.
Having a Facebook page means you don’t actually own “your page” unlike where you’d actually own your website page.
It’s Facebook’s property and you rely on them running and maintaining the service. Not like it’ll go down anytime soon, but you never know.
Anyways, to a more serious point.
Facebook has the right to shut down any business pages and it actually continuously does so.
And if for any reason your page is suspended the chances are your followers (clients) will leave your page and you’ll lose their business.
Secondly, Facebook pages are not built around your business meaning they are not bespoke.
They have to work with every other business out in the wild.
You are stuck with Facebook’s brand, colours and fonts. All the things that should be unique to your business.
You can, of course, change the logo, add some imagery and add some colour (not very much).
You have the same little control over the aspects of what you can actually control and it’s the same for everyone else.
You will have the same structure as every other page meaning your page is not unique.
Having a page instead of a website also limits your SEO and the ability to measure how people are using your page.
Not having a website means
- No Google analytics
- No opportunity to have different pages to show up on search engines
- No ability to see where you rank up against other businesses
- Limited to people just finding you through your Facebook page (not everyone uses Facebook)
Facebook pages should be used in conjunction with a website, however.
So, in essence, it’s a tool to help you market and promote your business.
Take the landing page we talked about earlier.
We mentioned you can share a landing page on paid social media. Well, if you have a Facebook page you can advertise that you are visiting a new location for a networking event.
Because people talk on social media, the word will spread fast. This also means you’ll start getting more traffic to your website from social media platforms as users click through the adverts.
Can use your website to drive traffic and sell sell sell
Having a website means you get ample opportunity to search engine optimise your website as well as learn about how people use your website and the types of people that use your website.
This is because you get software that you can add to your website such as Google Analytics, HotJar, Arefs and MailChimp.
You can continuously check for errors, see where people click and scroll on your webpage as well as see where they drop off.
What this means is that you can continuously improve your website to suit the needs and requirements of your users.
By improving we mean, adding content that is relevant to your users as well as making sure the web pages they visit are usable by them and work how they expect them to work.
This means higher traffic.
You get higher traffic from a well-optimised website because Google takes note that the web pages users visit are relevant to them (because they stay on them – due to the continuous improvements made).
So, when people search for a product or service your website will be among the first to show up.
Using a Facebook page means you are missing out on all of this optimisation.
You simply won’t get the type of traffic you really want without a website.
There are many ways to drive traffic to your website, but this is not the topic of this post, so here’s a neat article on how to drive traffic to your website.
Let’s look at an example of how you can drive traffic to your website to sell.
Let’s use the restaurant example from earlier.
You could run an advert at the same time people finish work (using social media).
What do people do when they are commuting to and from work? They sit on social media.
People will see your advert if you time it right.
People are also hungry when they finish work (they will be planning their evening meal), so running an advert at the correct time will lead people to your restaurant website where they can see the menu and opening times.
This is just one simple example of how your website can really sell your business. Just imagine the possibilities.
The final and most obvious point to mention here is your website sells your products or services.
Why on earth would you not want a good website? It just doesn’t make sense to leave your website as an afterthought.
Conclusion: Why a Website Shouldn’t Be an Afterthought
Here are the main points in a nice little list:
- Your website is the face of your business
- Your content should match and influence your web design
- It takes time to develop good content
- Your website is part of your marketing
- Your brand and website should go hand in hand
- You get to build relationships
- You can use your website to hype your business launch or product launches
- Social Media Pages
- Can use your website to drive traffic and sell sell sell
With all of these points, you simply do not want to leave your website as an afterthought. This will leave you with a poor website that doesn’t drive traffic that’ll allow you to sell.
If you are wanting a new website or redesign, check out our web design services.