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Magnifier graphicIs your website focused?

By Ginny Stibolt www.sky-bolt.com

Will your visitors immediately know what your business does, and why they should do business with you? 

Just think how many people will see your site–what a fabulous opportunity.  This is the second of a series of articles on web content to remind you of steps you may take to make the most of your website.  In the first article, we covered the basics of “the first impression.” 

Launching a website is only the beginning of a long-term project.  If you are going to make the best use of this great resource, you must take the time to figure out the real purpose of your website.

Is your site primarily
  (1) a sales pitch for your company, 
  (2) a retail sales location, or 
  (3) a resource for your established clients?

Let’s look at each of these possibilities and how you can focus your site to fulfill your purpose(s).

Topic #1: Is your site primarily a sales pitch for your company?   

If your website’s primary purpose is to get the visitor to contact your sales staff:

  • Make sure you have stated the benefits of working with your company.  A list of features is not the same as the benefits.   You must answer the visitors’ question, “What’s in it for me?”

    Engineers and programmers have a tendency to list all the great stuff they’ve worked so hard to develop, but such a list is NOT the same as the benefits for your clients.

  • Ask for an action – some examples: Pick up the phone today!  Send us an email.  Fill out this request form.

  • Provide information about your company’s expertise so that your visitor becomes a prospect and acts on your request.

  • Provide targeted resources for your prospects so they’ll come back to use your website as a reference.  This would include items such as general worksheets, relevant links for your industry, reviews of products, or success stories from your clients.  This makes your site "sticky."

Topic #2: If you are using your website for e-commerce you must give it as much attention as another branch store for your business.  

This is accomplished on several fronts:

  • Make sure your clients can easily find what they need. If you have many products, organize them by category and include a search engine.  People’s attention spans are short: if it’s too hard to find what they need, they’ll go somewhere else.

  • Provide secure pages for accepting payment–this part should probably be outsourced to another site for a small business.

  • Include photos of the products with enough description so that people know what they are getting.  The benefits and features of each product should also be included in the text.

  • Keep track of the sales and clients through a Point-of-Sale and database solution.  It should be flexible enough to expand with your business and produce the timely information to keep your inventory stocked and updated.  Make sure you can also use it for one-on-one marketing to your clients–but that’s another column.

Topic #3: If you wish to keep clients coming back to your site... 

It's a good idea for your clients to have their own pass-worded section. This special section could contain resources and forums that they might need to keep up with what’s happening with your business and how it affects them. 

Everyone likes to feel special, so providing the exclusivity provides this.  When new prospects scan your site they might wonder what they are missing.  

It's important to keep this section updated with new information.  Keep in mind that the focus of your website may expand as your clients begin to use your site as a resource. You must assign someone to pay attention.

There are many sources of information on web design, but one of my favorites is www.fixingyourwebsite.com, an off-beat look at what makes a great website.  You don’t have to be a professional web designer to learn how to focus your site.

~ ~ ~

© Ginny Stibolt (You may not repost this article, but you may quote parts of it with a link back to this page.) 

This is the second of a series of articles on web content for Digital Harbor On-line in 2002 and updated to some extent in 2014.

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