Your Website – An Asset or a Liability?
Being that it’s 2020, a website is commonplace for many businesses. For a large part of the under 40 crowd, a website is expected. It offers an accumulation of information that a prospective client or patron may be looking for. Sure, the Facebook page is great or the Google business page, but nothing supersedes the luxury of having that information all in one place…. or so it seems.
As a Liability
The real question becomes “Is a website an asset or a liability?” Now, if you talk to an accountant and read about International Accounting Standards, they will have particular guidelines for a website being an intangible asset or a liability. This is looking at it from an accounting perspective. For the web designers, we focus on the ease of use, convenience, and visual aesthetics. A site serving in a rudimentary capacity customarily keeps information fairly generic that does not need to be updated regularly, does not have a blog, and is effectively static. Is this scenario, once the website is live, it can sit there with little to no work.
After a while, it is very easy to notice what websites were built and walked away from. Information tends to go out of date as the business evolves, the site will slow down if not kept updated, and the overall design can become outdated or not display properly with new browser updates. All those concerns can and do influence customers decisions to use a service or visit an establishment. Every generation is more technologically advanced then the previous and thus have further expectations for websites. This can become a liability for the business.
As an Asset
What we really want to focus on is what makes a website an asset and how can that help a business. This website will have 3 main objectives
- It will have all pertinent information about the business. This includes the services offered, hours of operations, and contact information.
- It will engage the potential customer or client in some capacity. The possibilities are limitless and depend on the business. This can be offering a deal for a service in return for an email or having a quote request form. How it does this all depends on the end goal and who the client is.
- Most importantly, it will sell the businesses product or service to the potential customer or client.
Before we break each one of these points down, I want to make something clear. The website only becomes an asset with unswerving and effective efforts put forth to do so.
Information About the Business
While this may seem obvious, having a website that does not cover the fundamentals of the business is a major red flag. Design and aesthetics are one thing (we will cover that), but there is no reason not to have basic information about the business. If you are a restaurant, at the very least, hours of operation, a phone a number, and the menu are a must. If you are a landscaper, the different landscape services and way to contact you need to be on the site. I can give examples all day but there should always be enough on the site for the customer to clearly know what you offer and a way to contact you.
Engaging the Audience
The average bounce rate for a website is 44-66% depending on the industry. That means 44-66% of visitors will leave your website after viewing just one page. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, if you have been able to grab that customer with just one page. If you’re a restaurant, it’s possible that they just needed a phone number or to see the menu. However, if you’re an e-commerce site, it is very unlikely the potential customer was able to find the product and checkout all on one page.
This, however, is why it is important to engage your online audience. The longer you can keep someone on your site, the more they learn, and the better chance you have acquiring them as a customer.
You have heard me say it a few times already, but website aesthetics are a very important part of this engagement. If the design does not even look good, potential customers may leave before ever learning about what you have to offer. There a million different ways to directly engage customers. This can be a call to action, a pop-up that has a newsletter subscription, or a video that grabs their attention just to name a few. An important note though, the type of engagement all varies by industry. If you are a blogger, many visitors would love to be updated with an email when a new blog is posted. However, if you’re a divorce attorney, I doubt your potential client wants emails for the next 10 years on your divorce services.
Sell the ‘product’
It does not matter what your business is. What matters is how you communicate to potential clients. Let’s jump right into that.
I have business that sells inventory management software designed for large corporations. It is for those that have 1,000,000+ different products. Who is my potential client?
In this scenario, it’s not the corporation, it’s the Vice President of Operations & IT Director. (or equivalent roles). Therefore, I want to sell my product to them using their language. The VP of Operations wants to hear that it is going to improve efficiency by 23% and the IT Director wants to hear it is a hybrid SaaS system with deterrent controls. This type of information is great to put on the website. The people who will be reading it and buying your software will understand it and appreciate it.
My friend bought part of my system to create his own company. His company focuses on small mom & pop shops that need simpler inventory management. Who is his potential client?
This time, he is trying to sell the software to a small business owner who is already overworked but loves what they are doing and are passionate about it. They aren’t too tech savvy though and don’t measure their efficiency in percentage points. This software has the same tech specs and efficiency improvement, but the shop owner may not understand this information or have the time to deal with that information even if they do understand. In this case, you would say “This software can run from any computer, has industry standard security features, and will save your workers on average, 7 hours a week.
There is clearly a big difference in the wording for basically the same software; just scaled down. This is just one example of how important it is to say the right thing when selling your ‘product’.
Let’s make something clear, there is a lot more involved in the nitty gritty of website design, copywriting, and upkeep. There is even more involved in customer acquisition and setting up the proper sales funnel. We can even talk about SEO and social media marketing to drive site traffic. However, I can assure you that all those other efforts will be for naught if the time and money is not invested into the proper website.
Cheaper is not always better. You can invest $300 in an easy website that converts only a few potential customers or you can pay a premium for the right website that becomes an asset. If you do that, in a matter of no time, you will be wondering why you didn’t invest in that premium site years before.
There are entire books, classes, and professions out there dedicated to building the perfect website. I have a million more things to say but that will all come in due time. For now though, just remember the following; a website built right becomes a long term profitable asset to your company. A site thrown together can become a liability that no one wants to deal with.
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