Building a website is like choosing a car. Driving your car is part of running your business. Most businesses use the car to get to the office or get to the client, but the car (the website) isn’t usually your business.
When you plan a website, start with why you need a website (or a car). What type of website (car) do your people and your business need (fleet, stock or custom)?
For example, you run an industrial supply company. You probably don’t need a fleet of delivery trucks (e-commerce and online shopping) because your customers are quoted individually. A brochure site is great.
You are a family startup. You need a small, fuel efficient car with enough room for a growing family. You want to maintain the car yourself, so you choose a common website (car) that you can easily fix. A template website is ideal.
Websites Are Like Cars
Your website is only one of the vehicles you use to move to your customers. Your customers will notice the quality of your website, like they might notice your car. Some customers aren’t bothered by old cars. In fact, they might find the old car (or old website) to be somewhat novel. But, most customers will notice if your website looks outdated and doesn’t run well.
Parts of Your Website
- Engine – Your coder will help you build and tune the program and server running your website. Most of your customers won’t look at your code, but they will notice how well your website runs. Like a home mechanic, you may be able to do some of the website on your own, but other times may be better off letting an experienced ‘techo’ get dirty.
- Body – A graphic artist gives your car the colour and shape. Some web designers do both the code and the graphics. Either way, like the body of a car, your website has to be both functional and look appropriate for where you are cruising for customers. If you are working with manufacturing clients, your graphics will be different than the graphics for a retail furniture shop.
- Tyres (Tires) – Your marketing manager puts together annual or seasonal updates to your website. This is like changing the tyres on your car. Some websites get a lot of traffic, like a high volume retail site selling event tickets. Other websites might only be taken for a spin by a niche group of customers looking for a local construction specialist. The campaigns might be very specific to a busy time of the year or very general about a product that sells all year.
- Upholstery – Your sales team may want to ride along with your customers to a specific service or product. Some websites have a login to get inside to get access to special privileges. You want to make sure the secure side of your website is clean and the customers can’t see stuff from other customer’s accounts. You want to setup the login and secure area so your sales and customer service team can easily drive the customer to what they need.
- Security – You need to protect your website from being taken for a joy ride by hackers! I had minor “annoyance hack” of my web host’s shared server in 2015. The hack was in a part of the shared server that I could not access. The hackers used this file as a beacon for their bot-ware to attempt logins to my website (and to all the other people’s websites on my shared server). My website was automatically shut down twice by my web host for illicit activity, but the help desk was unable to help me. I ended up paying my coder, Jimmy to move the site to a safe “garage” (a dedicated server) and we added security. [ This recommendation was added Saturday, April 24, 2016 ]
Drive Your Website — Often!
Many clients complain that their website doesn’t get much traffic. If you leave your car in the garage, it doesn’t get much mileage and it isn’t being useful. You do need to spend some time driving your website. Check the traffic and drive your website where there is lots of good traffic. (I’m from Los Angeles – be prepared for stop-n-go traffic!)
Investing some time in a landing page and ads is like driving your car with purpose to go pick up clients. This would be like inviting prospects to your showroom and offering to pick them up from their office or the airport. You need to have the drivers (sales people) ready to take the action – and interact with the customers that show up at the landing page.
Adding a blog article (opinion editorial, explainer) or news item to your website is playing music whilst you drive your car to and from the office. That act of driving gets you where you need to be and music makes the drive better (like noticing cars and people in an office).
Every now and again you need maintenance. Do you remember the need for a mobile compliant website? That would be like taking your car to the mechanic (the coder) for a retrofit of a required part.
Sometimes the maintenance is small, and you have the tools. Changing prices or phone numbers on a website can be like changing oil. You need a little knowledge and you can do it yourself (or hire someone to get dirty for you.)
Going for a Drive
Notice that driving the website by writing blogs and news is attraction? You get noticed — and this is your marketing.
Sales is the intentional offer to do something specific. Your prospect will likely notice your brand (your website). Your prospect will trust you more if they can SEE who is driving the car. Be sure to have pictures and bios of your team on your website!
When the lead engages (they trust you enough to get in the car) when they go for a drive with you. They listen to the music in the background (observe your blog) and enjoy your conversation during the ride (your interaction) with them. That interaction may be a phone call or a meeting. Your website is only a vehicle. Is it clean? Does it look like a vehicle the prospect would climb into?
The lead becomes a customer when they want to do business with you. You may or may not need your website to quote prices or share specifications. Help that lead become a customer and buy through the right means – even if that means doing business outside of the website.
You can choose any number of destinations and roads to get to the destination. Where will you go next? How will you get there? Who are you picking up?
Contact me for ideas. Feel free to ask me for introductions to reputable people to help you with your website and online business.