Pheil: There’s more to websites than looks and lots of traffic
A website is a website is a website? No, that’s absolutely not right.
As the owner of a web strategy company for over 11 and a half years, I’ve seen patterns. And one of the more common patterns I’ve seen is companies looking to build new websites focusing almost exclusively on only one of these three goals:
1) Drive more traffic to the website;
2) Make the website look good;
3) Increase conversions (In other words: increase the number of visitors who take a specific action such as book a room, buy a product, schedule an appointment, etc.)
The companies focused most heavily on number 3 have a huge advantage right from the start, and are typically the companies that experience the biggest results and most success. They’re the companies that get the most for their money. They’re focused on finding the best solution possible, instead of arriving at the conclusion that #1 or #2 will make their biggest challenges magically disappear, without ever discussing the assumption with an expert.
The companies focused on #3 are the companies focused on the big picture. They understand the purpose of a website is to help them achieve specific goals. They understand that a website should directly tie in to their overall short and long-term visions of success.
For the companies focused entirely on #1, we ask them to consider what good it does to drive more traffic to a website if potential customers arrive and don’t know what to do? Or if the content doesn’t appeal to them? Or if they can’t locate the information they were hoping for? Or if the site doesn’t adequately answer their questions?
For the companies focused solely on #2, we ask them to consider what good a nice looking site is if no one can find it? We ask them to consider what good a nice looking site is if it doesn’t incite potential customers to take an action or think a certain way. What good is it if a site is nothing more than just a pretty face?
Typically, the companies focused on items #1 and #2 already assume they know what’s needed for their success and what’s in their best interest. They typically have blinders on, and aren’t open to alternative solutions that would help them achieve their goals more quickly or cost effectively. They want a good-looking website because that’s what they want. Or they want more traffic because they’re sure that’s the answer to their problems.
If you’re ever in the position of having to plan a new company website or rework an existing company site, I encourage you to be someone who focuses on #3, someone who’s open to exploring various strategies. If you partner with the a strategic web agency (and not just a “web design” company), that agency should be able to ask the right questions, engage you in the right conversations, and help develop a custom plan of action that’s focused on your company’s overall vision of success, not just a redesign because your site isn’t as pretty as it could be, and not just sending more traffic to your site with the hopes that traffic will solve all your challenges.
There’s a bigger picture out there. Be open to it. Allow your strategic web agency to work with you in finding the best solution, instead of telling them exactly what you need, case closed.
After all, if your web agency showed up at your office and assumed they could do your job, or assumed they knew exactly what was best for them without asking for your advice, what would you think?
Erin Pheil is the owner of timeforcake creative media—the Web Design & Strategy company voted #1 in Best of Summit. Visit the timeforcake website at http://www.timeforcake.com or email Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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