why do you want a website?

Why do you want a website?Knowing what you want to achieve with your website is essential to its eventual success.

There are a whole range of options you can request including: ecommerce, customer accounts for access to bonus information, forums, blogs etc. My approach is to go through each feature request and ask 'why do you want it?'. Quite often some options are not really needed, or may even inhibit the success of your website.

Broadly speaking there are three types of website:

  1. Ecommerce sites which exist to sell products
  2. Information websites which exist to advertise and promote a business, group, individual or idea
  3. Social networking websites which exist to provide communication between many users. These include blogs and traditional forums and bulletin boards.

Most websites fall into the second category, which is what I specialise in. Of course all three can be combined however, if you try to integrate too much the focus of the site can be lost. When considering cost again return the rule of diminishing returns definitely applies to web design.

Still not sure if you need a website?

Your business can do well without a website, but are you missing out on customers? Your site doesn't have to be the latest technology, doesn't have to cost a fortune and doesn't have to be the full focus of your advertising. In most cases it simply has to exist to reinforce your reputation and real-world advertising.

Most small businesses survive and flourish on referrals from existing customers. In my experience even with a referral a potential customer will check to see if you have a website before contacting you. Increasingly the first thing someone will do is 'Google' you! It's human nature to check up on something before calling. People want to find someone they can trust and do business with. Your website can go a long way to make a new customer feel comfortable calling.

And of course, your time is precious so surely you'd prefer your potential customers to call knowing a little about you and your products?

Most business is still done locally despite the internet's ability to connect users to services throughout the world. Dentists, Car Mechanics, Florists, all types of local businesses benefit from existing online. Yes the internet is global, but increasingly it's being shaped to work better on the local level.

Does it matter how good your website is?

In a word yes. But don't imagine it has to be expensive or flashy. It just needs to be clean, simple and easy to use. It needs to inspire confidence and most importantly clearly convey the right information about you. In a world obsessed with Search Engine Optimisation I am just as enthusiastic about your site's' conversion rate'. This is about increasing the number of people who contact you because they liked your site. Would you rather 10,000 people find your site and 100 contact you, or 1,000 find your site and 200 contact you?