I'm not saying your website is stupid. I told you that in February when I wrote an article about creating websites without objectives.
Nor am I saying your website is "dumb," as in the common definition of the word meaning "lacking intelligence." In fact, if I were to say your website lacked intelligence before I even looked at it there'd be no denying the dim-witted one here would be me (and clearly a website copywriter you wouldn't want to hire).
What am I saying? I'm saying your site could very well be the other definition of dumb: lacking the power of speech. So you see, I come not insult you, but to urge you to make your website speak to its audience.
I want you to understand the simple truth that remains the least understood concept across all of http-colon-slash-slash-land...
If you want your website to work, it needs to be worked on.
Here's the thing my friend: you can plant some seriously cool seeds, but no way, no how is your garden going to grow if you don't water the damn thing. So let's conduct a quick test.
Presenting your dumb website detector.
These 10 questions should help you assess your site and the effort you are or are not putting into making it connect with people. If you can say "yes" to all or most of them, you can rest easy knowing your website really isn't dumb after all.
- Do you have a blog? If not, this is your first fix. A strong blog will be your power tool for increasing traffic and establishing the authority needed to earn the trust of your audience.
- Do you publish case studies or stories about your customers? Happy customers willing to share their stories make for the most powerful mouthpiece you could possibly have. Easy content, obvious benefits.
- Does your site include a news section? Easy pickings here too. New products, new programs, new accomplishments, new customers, new ideas... If you're making news, report it.
- Do you regularly develop offers and feature them on your site? If you want your website to speak to your audience, you must figure out how you can help them, develop useful content, and deliver it. Ask for something from them too, but not money, not yet.
- Does the site allow visitors to opt-into your email? Think about it. The prospects that really want to hear what you have to say will give you permission to connect whenever you want. Andyes, email remains a viable medium, and one of your best bets for nurturing leads. If you don't offer email subscriptions, you need to.
- Do you offer video content? Some like to read, but some like to watch and/or listen. If you want your site to capture more eyes and ears, publish content of the audio/video variety.
- Have you created a mobile version of your site? We'll forgo the stats for now. Trust me, prospects are trying to hear what you have to say with their smartphones and this dynamic is going no place but up. Make mobile a priority.
- Does your site encourage commentary and sharing? Okay now, if you're smart enough to give your site an active voice, it'd be dumber than dumb to not encourage sharing your content. Be sure your site's chock full of those little chiclets that make sharing a cinch.
- Does your home page change often? However clever and varied your traffic generation strategies might be, the majority of your visitors are likely to enter via your home page. Change it up. Update it. Put dynamic feeds there. Publish teasers for your recent posts. Do not allow your home page to grow mold.
- Are you analyzing how visitors use your site? What gives? Weren't we talking about talking here? Hey, it's also wise to zip the lips. Really. If you want people to listen to you, you have to listen to them. Give it a try. Tune into who's doing what on your site and then when it's your turn to talk again, perhaps you'll spout-off with the useful stuff that inspires people to rave about your company.
Your lame excuse is a lame excuse.
I wrote this article for a reason. I'm tired of seeing it: the neglected site, the electronic brochure parked forevermore in a sad static state while its owner is perfectly happy to call a quick speed-read a triumph of online marketing. I'm tired of hearing, "I don't need my site to sell." I've grown really weary of the "We don't get clients from our site" speech and I want to tell you who professes with pride "All my site needs to do is establish some credibility" how incredibly ignorant you are. It's inexcusable.
But wait! You do indeed have an excuse. I hear it time and again. It goes like this: "No one here has the time to work on the website." Or maybe: "We have more important things to do" or lamer still, the ever-popular and forever ironic: "Our customers really could care less about our website."
How about that? Explain to me then, if you wouldn't mind, if your customers don't care whether or not your site is a useful resource, why should you?
As it turns out, I have a lot to say about improving your website. Help yourself to "21 Pointers to Sharpen Your Website." And do me a favor: while you're at my site, leave a comment on my blog. It'll help keep things fresh ;-)