The website dilemma – is yours a fully-fledged high-performance asset?

If you want to enhance the position of your business in the market place you need to change your perception of your website from merely being an online presence, to being a valuable asset and marketing tool. All too often I come across business owners with the former viewpoint.

So, what do I mean by this?

Having planned and constructed websites for over 20 years, I have seen the migration of website technology from Flash based image websites through to today’s current technology that delivers information and advice in an accessible form across all devices.

We are now at the pinnacle of the technology (at least for the time being as far as we know), whereby we can utilise animation, video and other means of delivery to enhance the customer engagement process, and that an effective website now needs to provide. In some respects, we have gone full circle. Flash based sites were all about movement and emphasis on certain areas of the page (or to use the typical term ‘strategically placed calls to action’) which needed to gather the greatest attention from the visitor.

In reality, building websites in Adobe Flash or Macromedia Flash, as it was then, enabled us to use movement to grab the visitor’s attention. Although this has always been possible since the migration to HTML coded websites through the use of animated gifs, and what I call the flashing button period of website design, the technology we see now is a million miles from those early days and now highly sophisticated from a marketing injection point of view. It sets standards in how websites are now constructed, based on the research of visitor habits, allowing marketers and creative designers to lead the way rather than the coder. Gone are the frustrations of marketers trying to explain to the analytical coder that the tiny call to action on a page isn’t attractive and won’t grab the attention of the visitor. Marketers and creative designers can finally take control, and that is important when optimising the on-page performance of a website.

It is with thanks to those coders and technically astute programmers, that marketers now have fabulous WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) tools which means, together with the availability of far reaching insight into visitor interaction (through things like Google Analytics that measure performance across a wide range of indicators), website owners can continually make improvements that capture and keep the attention of the visitor. Content can be tailored to provide positive reinforcement of offsite marketing activity.

The home page has now gone from the big unread text heavy introduction to a series of calls to action that take visitors to areas of the website they are specifically interested in, rather than boring them about how great the company is as soon as they hit the home page. I still to this day don’t really understand the thought process of home pages that introduced businesses through an abundance of heavy content, but we certainly had a period of this happening. The home page is now meeting the demands of busy people who want instant access to answers, rather than having to read through endless content to find them.

Websites now have to perfectly correlate with a buying decision, and the research into e-commerce and online purchasing has benefited all business types to fully understand the levels of interaction they need to seek, and leverage upon. This is a mentality that ensures a website is a true business asset rather than an online presence.

The perfect example that differentiates asset from presence

My recent article focused on third party reassurance, and how we as consumers and purchasers of products and services seek third party endorsement as part of the purchasing decision. This is a reality across all purchasing decisions now (it’s inbred into human nature), and my own analysis of website visitor interest and migration is proof of this fact. Apart from the standard home, about and contact pages, the most visited pages on B2B websites are testimonials, case studies, reviews or other forms of third party endorsement. Visitors want to know why they should choose you, and by virtue of the fact they have visited your website, they probably already know what you do whether that hit on the home page came via a search or particularly engaging post on Facebook. Creating a website that influences purchasing decisions is based on giving the reasons why people should purchase from you. These emotional selling points that back up the businesses ethos and attitudes around customer service are incredibly important.

So why do websites focus far too much on what you do?

For starters, it’s easy! The reality is most businesses find it difficult to ask for that testimonial, or feel that writing a case study is irrelevant and too time consuming. On the contrary, a case study is incredibly relevant and a hugely important asset to find the time to produce, and a major influence when it comes to that subconscious and conscious tick box decision a prospective customer will be looking to make. If your website is about creating a major business asset rather than just an online presence, you want the visitor to tick all of those conscious and subconscious tick boxes. I will guarantee your contact page visitor numbers will increase dramatically if you create an asset rather than a presence.

Open to all that read this article. If you would like to discuss improvements for your website and how to make the necessary changes to create a performing asset as part of your business and marketing model, please do get in touch!