How important to you is your website?

The other day I was talking with one of my smaller customers (a 10-person company) about their website. I asked them if they knew how much traffic their website was getting. I pointed out that they — the website — hardly appeared in Google searches, unless the search was very specific to their area of expertise AND the suburb of Chicago they are located in. And even with such fine-tuned search criteria, they appeared somewhere at the bottom of the first page of results. All of that concerned me.

When I brought my concerns up to the client, their reaction completely surprised me. They replied that… their website is not a marketing tool for them. What more, they told me that they are likely to turn away potential clients that would come to them through the website. That’s a shocker! They feel that prospects finding them through the web would not match the corporate philosophy and therefore would not make good clients. Instead, they simply use their website as a 1-way communication tool with the existing clients by posting quarterly updates. The website looks dated and uninviting. If I found them through the web, I wouldn’t do business with them even though their philosophy may match how I feel.

In today’s world, for a lot of people, if you don’t have a website or if I can’t find it, you don’t exist, you go by unseen. But if your website looks dated and unappealing, if its appearance does not match how you want the world to see you, sometimes it is better to go unseen. Sadly enough, we still judge a book by its cover and tend to be deceived by appearances.

Your company website is perhaps the single best marketing tool out there: low cost, low maintenance, and yet it can be such high impact — it is the quickest, the most immediate face your company presents to the world. If you don’t think that people who find you on the web are going to subscribe to your philosophy, why not spell your philosophy out on the website? Make sure the website reflects the image you want your clients and prospects to perceive. Add a call to action: “If you like what you hear, if our philosophy matches how you feel, give us a call.” Maybe that way you can save time screening out the “unwanted” clients and maybe, just maybe, you can attract some surprising clients that you wouldn’t find otherwise.

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3 Responses

  1. Your perspective is somewhat common among tech folks, but not accurate to business.

    If a business is profitable, has the desired income, and desired growth, then there is nothing “broken” that a web site needs to fix.

    Even if a website could make the company bigger, maximizing growth is not every company’s goal. Especially in small, privately owned companies, sometimes just making a living while leaving leisure time in their lives is quite enough for the owners.

  2. Dave, I understand your perspective. But I still think that if you’re not going to use a website to promote your business, then why even have one? If you have one, don’t let it be a determent to how your company is perceived out there.

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