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
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 have not put a
phone number on your site and an accessible real-person that can
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 not sell somebody something they
really do not want – that may sound obvious, but believe me, sales people
do it everyday. If you do not think you need a new website, you are not
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.
1. Does Your Website Have A Purpose?
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?
a. Transactional sales-oriented site
b. Customer service support site
c. How to instructional site
d. Product or service demonstration site
e. Lead generation site
f. Marketing, branding, positioning site
g. Promotional campaign site
h. Viral or buzz creation site
2. Is Your Website Focused?
Too many businesses both large and small use their website as an
information junkyard, a dumping ground for everything you do,
everything you've done, and everything you ever thought of doing. This
will not work. Customers are like children; they want clarity, direction, and
unequivocal answers. Your website should be focused on a singular
function. URLs are cheap, there is no reason you can not have different
websites for every major thing you do, or every marketing campaign you
initiate. How focused is your website?
3. How Functional Is Your Website?
Everyone knows that websites should be easy to use, that you
should not have to drill-down too deep to find what you're looking for, and
of course everything should work. Your website is a communication tool.
If your website does not work properly, the only thing you're looking for
communicating is incompetence. How functional is your website?
4. Does Your Website's Construction Balance Competing Concerns?
Websites by their very nature are a compromise of competitiveness issues.
Aesthetics, multimedia, frame construction, HTML, Flash, client-side,
server-side, data bases, SEO tactics, information architecture, marketing
communication, transaction efficiency all compete for precedent in the
design of a site. Are you sacrificing clarity, focus, and communication for
SEO tricks and unattainable traffic numbers? Did you start with an IT
solution like a database, and build your site around a poorly conceived
information delivery system. Does your website's design reflect your
sites' defined business purpose or is it a result of secondary technical
5. Does your website honestly reflect your business personality?
Does your website represent and promote your marketing objectives?
Okay, this is a trick question for many small owner-managed
businesses. Marketing is not sales. Marketing is about communicating
who you are, what you do, and why you do it better than the other guy.
Marketing is about image building, branding, and positioning, in other
words, enhancing your business personality. Does your website
honestly reflect your business personality?
6. Is your Web-presentation integrated into your overall marketing plan?
Too many websites bear no relation to the rest of their business'
marketing initiatives. Everything your company should reflect an
over-riding ethos, point-of-view, and personality. If your marketing
collaterals do not match your website presentation, you are confusing
your audience. Is your Web-presentation integrated into your overall
7. Is content king on your website?
I once had a fairly large manufacturing client ask me to build a website
based on a business card and ten 8×10 glossies of discontinued
merchandise. This fellow was so paranoid that his competitors would
see what he was doing that he hid his products from his customers. This
business is now bankrupt. We've all heard the saying 'content is king'. Is
content king on your website? Does your website ideally display
and explain what you do, what products you sell, and what services you
provide? Are there examples of your work? Are there testimonials from
your customers? Have you provided information on how to order, how to
use, and how to resolve problems? Is content really king on your
8. Is your website an experience?
You watch television, you listen to the radio, you read a magazine, but
you experience a website. Unlike other marketing vehicles, websites
provide you the opportunity to deliver your marketing message with the
full complement of multimedia tools. Websites can stimulate all the
senses, sight, sound, and interactive touch in order to communicate and
connect with your audience. Websites are not brochures. Visitors
should not just see your website, they should experience it. Is your
website an experience?
9. Does your website have a distinct look?
The idea of the flaming animated logo has become a cliché for bad
design and style over substance, but that does not mean your website
should be aesthetically boring and visibly dreary. Your site should
display clarity of vision; it should provide functional page layout; its use
of colors, type, and static and kinetic visuals should be distinct and
purposeful. Your website should provide a deleting "Look" that
enhances your business personality. Does your website display a
distinct look that represents your business personality?
10. Do you list appropriate contact information on your website?
I remember going to a meeting with a client who was in the construction
business. The Vice President of the company was hopping mad. He
demanded his email address be taken off the site immediately. He
was not going to waste any more time dealing with client emails and
inquiries. Websites are all about connecting you to your clients, not
hiding from them. If you think you can put your website on autopilot and
that a FAQ and Q & A are going to cut-it, you better think again. Does your
website have adequate contact information? Do you list appropriate
email addresses and phone numbers for the people responsible for
various aspects of your business?
There you have it. Ten questions that when answered honestly will tell
you whether or not you have a website that works and whether or not
you need to rebuild.
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Source by Jerry Bader