I see it everyday… business websites that are as static and boring as a tattered brochure.
When visitors arrive at your business website are they seeing a non-interactive magazine-type layout on the screen or an interactive interface that is personalized and takes advantage of all the reasons a computer website is better than a magazine or brochure?
A business website is so much more than a magazine or brochure and yet some business owners still treat their websites as such. There are so many advantages the business website has over traditional printed publications. Here are some…
- Color. Unless you have the best printing in the world your brochure will not look anything like a website photo and graphics can look. Aesthetically the color is brighter and more intense due to it being lighted from within. Whereas ambient lighting affects every image you look at in printed matter.
- Length of medium. Space. You have an unlimited amount of space to play with. A web page has no limit for how long it can be… or how wide it can be… you can make a webpage as big as Manhattan literally if you wanted to do that to your visitors. The sheer volume of space you have to play with by adding different pages, posts, photos, and everything else is staggering. You’re not limited with the computer. Take advantage of that.
- Branding, contact information, personalization on every page. Blogs have been great for businesses for a lot of reasons, one of them is the standardization of the template they bring to a business site. If the site is formatted as 3 columns, usually it remains 3 columns across the business’ index page, posts and pages. In those columns and the header can be all the personalization and contact information you can fit. Every single page should give users easy to reach key information about your business. With a magazine or brochure you have a header and footer – but, you’re trying to conserve so much space that you might not use them.
- Multimedia. Sound. Images. Animated GIFs. Video. 3-D Video. Video is really taking off and your website should have some video on it. Video helps visitors feel more comfortable not only with the staff and owners of the site, but also helps to build credibility and professionalism. Use video liberally and not just for sales talks, but for introducing yourself and what the site is all about. Introduce staff, and do a quick run through your company having staff say hello. Video is probably the most powerful way to craft a message to your business website visitors – use it!
- Interactivity. Everyone uses comments nowadays on their business websites and most take them for granted. Some don’t monitor their comments closely and end up with junk that degrades their site. Your business site is your life… your career. You must keep it clean and presenting the ultimate image of your business you worked hard to grow. Polls are very easy to implement within a WordPress site, there are a number of excellent poll plugins that add the functionality easily and professionally. Use them to gain very valuable feedback from your visitors. Polls are probably the most underutilized and most powerful way to interact with your customers.
- Control the path. You can control precisely what information a visitor to your business website views and in what order. You can use “funnels” to funnel visitors toward a goal you have.
- Lead generation. A magazine can collect leads indirectly – and required a reader to call the business and then give their contact information if it made sense to them. On your business website there are multiple ways to collect leads. The website can do it for you – as an automated process. In fact, you might not do anything to the system once you set it up – just day after day it sends you leads in your email that you can contact by email, phone, or snail mail.
- Updates and new content. Magazines get updated once a month. With your business site you can update every couple of minutes or hours if you have something of value to add at that rate. Search engines love to see new content – so getting into a regular groove of adding content at least once per week is a great idea for the longevity of your business.
- A world of resources. You can bring into your business website resources from all over the internet. You can share a Google spreadsheet, link to a YouTube video, show Flickr.com photos, and even direct visitors to a free online training demo you set up to give a taste of what you offer. You have the option to bring any of millions of bits of content into your site and share them with your visitors. How powerful is that?!
Are you treating your business website like a magazine or are you “being all you can be” online?