We talk to many small business owners who have previously spent thousands of pounds and numerous weeks hunched over their keyboards designing gorgeous websites that their friends and families were blown away by. Some of those small business owners then get the displeasure of watching as only friends and family manage to view it.
The missing link? Search optimisation - ensuring that the design and content are picked up and indexed well by search engines, ensuring prospective customers have the opportunity to also view it.
The general attitude of small business owners regarding their website 5 years ago was basically to get key facts and figures onto an online brochure, so that customers could take a look at these figures without having to be posted literature or binders and so they didn’t have files laying all over the place. Small business owners need to move to a phase 2 in the process and turn their website into an engine for growth.
Phase 1: A small business in phase 1 is similar to a postcard, taped onto a lamp post which lots of people walk by. The postcard doesn’t change. It doesn’t get updated. It just states the same message, showing the same picture.
Every other 1,000 passerby may stop and read the message, start trying to review the small text at the bottom and then give up and move on. There isn’t enough up to date content to keep them coming back, so you end up with 1 reader who consumes the content on the postcard and never comes back. Without the ability to refresh the information shown, to make it more relevant to your audience via landing pages or blog posts, you lose the opportunity - and you keep losing it because the viewer never comes back.
Phase 2: A small business in phase 2 is similar to a smart marketing guy standing in Leicester Square on top of an attractive podium holding up a huge sign with your company’s message on it shouting a rotating message out for all passerby to hear.
When someone is interested, they come over and listen to more of the message. The marketing person changes the detail, the focus and asks what exactly they want to know. They have a long conversation about the benefits of the small businesses service or product and suggests the next best step. Imagine this clever marketing guy represents your website.
Your website should inform your customers in the most appropriate way - tailoring his message around their needs and requirements and make it personal. It should provide you with the opportunity to know what they seek and enable them to pursue a conversation with your small business via whatever medium is best for them. Lastly, it should be well dressed and professional at all times.
For those of you who made it this far down, I apologise for my clumsy analogies.