Masterfully written by: J. Bader
How good is your website? Does it do its job? Is it effective? These are all good questions that every business owner and marketing manager needs to ask him or herself. The website has become an essential tool for business. We all know we have to have a website, but are we using this venue to its greatest advantage?
Most people responsible for their company's websites have stats packages and counters to tell them how many hits, how many unique visitors, where they are coming from, what their IP addresses are, what browser they're using, and of course the all important monitor resolution. So what! Who cares? The real question is do we have an effective website?
Now if you have a transactional website, commonly referred to as an e-commerce site, you know the number of sales you are generating from your site, which is important, but do you really know how effective your site is? How many orders are you losing because of bad layout, awkward design, confusing navigation, and poor copy? How many potential clients have you chased away because you haven't put a phone number on your site and an accessible real-person that can answer questions?
A website is your business' public face,. Big businesses can look like mom and pop operations and mom and pop operations can look like General Motors. The design of your website should not be taken lightly, its budget should not be an afterthought, and the designer you hire should be someone who understands more than code. Your Web-designer should be a multimedia-marketing advisor, someone who can counsel you how best to deliver your marketing message, and someone who can go beyond technical issues.
You can spend a lot of money and have someone analyze your site for you, but are you really going to believe him, are you really going to act on their recommendations? You can't sell somebody something they really don't want - that may sound obvious, but believe me, sales people do it everyday. If you don't think you need a new website, you aren't going to spend the money to have one built. So the best way to tell if you need one is to analyze the one you already have, yourself.
Below is a set questions you can ask yourself. If you answer them honestly, you'll know whether you need a new site or not. After you've gone through the process, ask some colleagues to do the same. See if your answers compare.
Every website should have a clearly defined purpose. Having a website just because everyone else has one is not an acceptable strategy. What is your website's purpose?