I see this a lot, business owners that look at their business website as nothing more than a fancy digital business card. Their sites are not interactive and don’t do much beyond just giving information as a paper business card does.
When people arrive at your site what do they see? Is your site basically one page with all the information in text and your phone number, or, is it interactive with contact forms, newsletter sign-up, order buttons, and video?
Your business site can be so much more developed than a plain paper business card, and yet some business owners don’t put the effort into them. The advantages of a website over a business card or brochure are many – here are some.
The world of color. As good as paper printing looks it can never compare with backlit computer screens. Use color photos and graphics to highlight your business website and make it professional.
Space! You have unlimited space with a website to put whatever you want on it. Use it.
Branding & personalization. Blogs are ideal for branding because they automatically give you the same look for all your website pages. Your logo is on every page, your contact information should be, as well as other graphics that give the impression of your site as professional, a leader, an authority on whatever subject your niche is in. Since there is no shortage of space you should have contact info – email – phone and contact form link on every page. Your footer should have a copyright statement and your address if it’s relevant.
More than text. Your website should be a multi-media experience with color images, videos, Flash, sound, and anything you can think of to entertain your visitors and bring them in as active participants on your site, not just readers of text. Video is becoming the prime way to present your business because it’s the most true-to-life media we have at the moment. Someday there may be 3-D video we shoot ourselves, or holographic video. For now – it’s 2-D video and you should be using it a lot!
Get your visitors to interact with your website. You should be using forms, surveys, games, phone, fax, SMS, chat, video, contact forms, and / or comments on your website because they pull your visitors into your site and give them a way to interact with you. Visitors that read versus visitors that do something on your site are two very different groups and you want the readers to join the latter group.
Funnels. Funnels are set up to channel your visitors through your site in a series of steps toward a goal. You can funnel someone toward purchasing something or toward signing up for your newsletter. You can use a funnel to make sure visitors see the most important video on your site. You can’t funnel with a business card.
Email list. One of the major goals to accomplish with any business site is to build an email list of your visitors and customers so you can re-contact them at your convenience, not just when they visit your site. You can automate your email collection tool with AWeber, the leader in this area.
Fresh content. While you might update your business card once per year your website can have new information daily, or as you choose. Google loves new content so add it when you have it.
Extend your site! While your business site resides in one place online you can pull things from all over the world into it. YouTube videos, share a Google spreadsheet, show Flickr or Picasa photos, maps… all of these can be brought into the space of your website to make it look more professional, more interactive, more cutting edge than a static site. Even a static site is so much better than a paper business card though, isn’t it?
Are you treating your business website like a paper business card?