Why your business website is pointless

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Calling all business owners running local businesses.

Did you waste your money when you got your business website?

Does no-one visit it at all?

Is it hard to see the point of maintaining your website regularly?

Do you secretly believe website developers are just creative con artists?

When you’re in business you don’t want to waste time doing pointless exercises. You just want to know what the job is, and then get the job done. Then you can go back to doing what you really love doing, which is the reason you’re in business.

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions above, the problem with your website is that it doesn’t have a job.

A business website without a job is like an expensive signpost lost in long grass.

No-one really sees it, no-one uses it, except for opening times and telephone numbers.

Lots of businesses only have a website ‘because they should’. They don’t see the value in their website because no-one uses it, so they don’t update it, and it acts like a digital version of a very expensive Yellow Pages ad. Which it is. And no-one uses it because … you get the picture.

There’s only one way to change this problem:

Give your website a job!

What do you want your website to do?

Do you know what the options are?

First of all: what do you offer?

Are you a shop with products to sell?

Are you a service, like an architect or designer?

Are you a bit of both?

Are you an organisation that exists to provide information?

Do you have a duty to the people who use your services to provide them with information about what you do?

Decide what you want your site to do,  because that’s your website’s job.

That’s what a web developer helps you develop: the website’s job.

But what if ….?

“I have a bricks-and-mortar shop, selling gifts in an English market town. I don’t want to do internet mail order. How is a website going to help me other than being a signpost to my business?”

If you want to stand out against all the other gift shops in town, you’ll need to show off your specialness on the Internet. Tomorrow’s customers use the Internet every day, for everything.

What if you featured some of your favourite products each month? Maybe you could tag them with the name of your town and make a big deal about local products.  The ‘local’ thing really does work with Google and friends, so visitors to the town can also find out about you.

“I’m a small shop, without much money, business isn’t doing too well, and I’m not sure I should spend the money on a frivolous website.”

What if ‘frivolous’ meant ‘opens up new opportunities’?

What if business needs to be done a different way to make it work? Is it worth doing? Showing off your products, and more importantly, your expertise (because it’s that which makes you unique), is what will help people notice you and choose to visit you. Showing it off means regular blog posts at the very least.

“I’m a busy building construction company, and get tons of business by word of mouth already. I don’t need a website.”

You’re probably right. If you’re busy enough and you don’t want to grow any more, ever, you may not need a website at all.

A website can be an expensive business. It might cost £100-£150 for the text, between £500-£750 for the design and development, and £350+ for ongoing analytics and tweaking.

That’s why you have to decide what you want it to do before you start, or you risk spending a lot of money doing everything in the wrong order.

If you use a web developer to help strategise from the start, after it’s set up you’ll only need to factor in low on-going costs for keeping it updated, like ordering ghostwritten blog posts (unless you want to write your own).

If business is slow these days, or if you want to communicate with your customers more easily, your website could be the key to your future.

As long as you decide what job you want it to do.

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