Let’s Be Clear: Websites Suck - Unless They Sell

September 7, 2011 - Posted by to web design,marketing,copywriting

Websites consume a large amount of valuable company resources.  The costs include obvious expenses such as designing, updating, hosting, search engine optimization and advertising to more hidden costs through your staff’s involvement in the creation process, routine updating and now social media. With the large investment in creating, maintaining and promoting a site, your business must ask a simple question, "Is your company’s website just sucking away time and money - or does it sell?"

Does each page's design enhance credibility and mesh flawlessly with your company's brand?
If your business website isn't maintaining or improving your company's credibility and image, it is hurting it.  A well-crafted website has the ability to make a local shop look like a Fortune 500 company - and vice versa.  No site falls into perfection without ample time spent researching top-level competitors already placed where your company wants to go.  Since the "other guys" always have flaws, your company's website marketing must mask its own problems while amplifying the competition's.  It must highlight positive features and present your company as the obvious choice.  Don’t just create a website to reflects your company - create a site that markets where your business should go.

Does the site's layout and navigation fit the way your customers shop?
The most common site design flaw is a hard to find contact page. A few customers are already sold when they visit your site and they just want your number. Don’t make customers search through countless pages before they find out how to contact your business - just place a nice link at the top of your site’s navigation.  On the flip side, a large “contact us now” button in the main section of your front page is a waste of valuable screen real estate.  Many customers won’t know your business and need to be first sold on its benefits.  There are countless layout and navigation flaws such as these that reduce a website’s effectiveness. Always mold your site to help your customers shop the way they like.

Amazon.com and Walmart have almost identical layouts and navigation

Is the site's copy centered around convincing your customers to buy?
Copywriting, or copy, is the sales content written for your site.  This is equally important as the site's design and navigation for two reasons. First, it speaks to your customers in a language they can understand while selling your company's unique benefits.  Second, search engines use this as a major ranking factor.  Copywriting mistakes can insure your site is relegated to page fifty of the search results. Blindly writing copy for your business's website, without understanding its unique power, is setting your site up for failure.  Don’t just write content - use it to create sales.

A business website is expensive and time-consuming.  If a site is well-crafted, the returns for your business can be substantial. During your site’s next maintenance phase, be sure to take the time to ask if your business is getting a great return on its investment - or if your website just sucks.