Why a website is like dating
If you’ve met me, or read any of my other blogs, you’ll know I love an analogy, and this is one of my favourites. A good website, is like a good date. It can woo a customer from taking a look, to handing over their phone number. But how do you make a ‘good’ website?
Understanding what your website is there to do for your business is key to making it successful for you. Customers often come to us knowing that they ‘need’ a website, but not always knowing why. Or maybe they have a website but they’ve been told by a friend that they ‘need’ something called SEO. I’ve been working in the digital marketing industry for over ten years, and before I worked for Kuka Studios I regularly saw customers being sold services without ever understanding them or knowing why they needed them.
So this is my answer to what you need for a successful website, and why it’s important.
1. Search Engine Marketing – Put yourself out there
No matter how amazing you are, you’ll never find your soul mate by hiding under the stairs and making wishes, you need to get out there – physically or digitally – and meet people. In the same way, you can have the most amazing product or service in the world, but it’s no good to anyone if you can’t find it. Think about who your customers are, where they are and how they’ll find you before you even think about building a website to sell to them. One of the initial ways to do this is using search engine optimisation to make sure that when your website goes live it’s seen by the right people – the ones with the need that your business meets.
2. Design – Dress to impress.
Before a big date you’ll take time to shower, do your hair, and carefully pick your outfit. Why? Because first impressions count. Your website is often the first thing that people see when they research your brand, so it should reflect everything you stand for. It should be professional, and look so good you can’t help showing it to people. A beautiful website design is key to making a fantastic first impression on your customer.
3. Content – What you say matters.
So you’ve shown up, you look good – now you need to speak. You want to get across your personality, sound intelligent, find common ground and have a conversation. The content on your website is no different. It should reflect your brand, be informative, show that you can solve your customers problems, and encourage responses – not just shout sales pitches at them. Take your time over your content – don’t just type the first thing that pops into your head, and never, EVER, copy it from another site.
4. Usability – Avoiding embarrassing moments
Being honest and making your intentions clear when dating makes sure you are both on the same page, and no one struggles to figure out where the evening is going. In the same way, no matter how good your website looks and sounds, if a potential customer struggles to work out how to use it or find your contact information, you’ll have lost them before you can convert them.
5. Conversions – Seal the Deal
You’ve met someone promising for the first time, you’ve spent less than 2minutes together and while you’ve given all your best moves – but you aren’t expecting a proposal. You’d settle for a phone number of maybe a Facebook Friend Request – right?
Your website needs to take it as slow as the rest of your sales process, but it still needs to provide the opportunity for a response. Don’t just demand a sale instantly, offer alternatives: newsletter or resource sign ups; request a call back options; or live chat. Some people might want to buy straight away, but most will want some other options. If you provide conversion opportunities for a wide range of customers, you’ll receive more conversions and add more people to your sales pipeline.
6. Tracking – Don’t let them get away
I’ve never found a way to make my final point fit into my analogy without sounding creepy – but you need to track and monitor all of your efforts to see what’s working and what’s not. There are some amazing free statistics tools out there like Google Analytics and Piwik which can help you see how people are using your website, what they like and what they don’t. It takes practice to learn how to read the results, but that’s what we’re here for. Think of us like your Fairy Godmothers – bring us a pumpkin and we’ll help you find your Prince Charming…or something.
If you take anything away from this, let it be this – if you want a website, ask yourself why. If you have a website, ask yourself what you need it to do, then ask if that’s what it’s doing. And if you need to talk over any of your website woes, drop by Kuka HQ, curl up on our sofa and we’ll stick the kettle on.