Creating websites for business growth. So, what is a website for?
This is the first question that any business owner or marketing department should ask when planning their next online presence. Its purpose is key to its success and a website should be part of an overall business strategy.
When the internet was young, having a website was simply something that was part-and-parcel of a ‘company package’: Business cards? Check. Letterheads? Check. Comp slips? Check. Website? Check. Web design was a dark art which could only be performed by shadowy wizards in darkened rooms who communicated in secret code and was not something that could be attempted by lesser mortals.
However, over the last ten years or so, web design has become quite a different animal and changed massively as a medium. It’s possible now for anyone to create their own website, which is fantastic. There are myriad web builders, free and open-source platforms, and one-click installs which have given every business the ability to create their own website easily. These DIY sites are great for creating an online presence but not necessarily sufficient to be an integrated part of a wider marketing plan. There should be a greater raison d’être than something that ‘looks professional’.
But, the real change has been the shift from a website being regarded as a peripheral ‘bolt-on’ to it being a central hub for first contact with potential customers. What’s the first thing any of us do when we’re looking for specific services? We use Google and we check out a company website before making any contact. Because of the possibilities the internet has presented, our customer habits have changed and so has the way we consume and acquire services. Therefore, it’s a business’ responsibility to recognise these ongoing changes and adapt accordingly. This can be difficult, but here at Cyberfrog Design we do the ‘keeping up’ on behalf of our clients.
One reason for this shift is the change in technology. We all have the power to find out anything we want at any time simply by reaching for our smartphones. Every business’ website on the planet is accessible in two or three touches of a screen. With this in mind, it is vital for commercial success to understand that a website is a receptionist, a sales team, a personality, a storyteller, an employee, a mission statement, a vision and a philosophy.
So, going back to the original question: What is a website for? A business website is a microcosm of the business and should welcome potential customers into the company. It should take them on a journey. The journey must be enjoyable. It must be easy. It must answer their questions. It should enlighten. It must, most importantly, like any journey, have a destination. This destination is the answer to the question and defines the purpose of the website. Ultimately, where will website visitors end up? What do you want them to do then? What action should they take next?
The internet in 2017 is about engagement, user-generated content, interaction, sharing and answering questions. Cyberfrog Design helps businesses use these concepts and channel their customers’ journeys. As a full digital agency, we work with them to define website objectives for measurable outcomes, guide their customers through an online sales process and create bespoke solutions to convert potential customers to paying customers. A website should be treated as a business investment that sees a return and not a cost spent on something that has no purpose.