A few weeks ago, I had to get a quote for a client who needed to redesign their website. So, I did my search online and found a company that designs award-winning websites. I asked for a quote and got hit with an unbelievable price tag: €35,000! Sure, a good website is not in the hundred-dollar range, but I wasn’t expecting something that cost roughly $40,000.
Who in their right mind charges 35,000 Euros for a website? And who pays that amount?
The world has changed, and not just because people now charge insane amounts for websites, but because the way business is won and done has evolved.
There was a time when a company’s most valuable asset (besides staff) was their building; now it is your website. More people now visit your website than come to your brick and mortar store, assuming you even have one.
Your entire business can be handled from a website and most of your clients won’t care at all whether you are operating out of a skyscraper or a shoebox.
So why is it then, that not enough attention is being paid to how good your website is?
If your website is responsible for a large chunk of your revenue, then you should be investing a considerable amount to ensure it looks the best it can.
What makes a killer website?
Most people think having the best website means having beautiful graphics, easy navigation and all-around aesthetic excellence. In other words, the more advanced and futuristic it looks, the better.
But while having a website that makes you feel like you’re in Iron Man’s suit is really cool, it isn’t all that important.
People don’t go to websites to admire the design, they go there for the content. And just in case you haven’t heard, Content is King.
The most visited sites in the world – Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo etc. don’t necessarily have mind-blowing designs, but they are loaded with the content we crave.
Wikipedia could look like it was designed by a baby and we would still go there several times a day!
Great websites have great content
Great content – every bit of information on a page in written, audio or video form – is what great websites are made of.
Being able to find entertaining or enlightening information easily, quickly and regularly is what people expect from a good website.
If you can’t deliver good content, then expect to keep hemorrhaging prospective clients.
When visitors come to your landing page, they want to be greeted with information that can help improve their lives and/or business.
That’s another thing most people forget – a website is to help meet a need for your clients, not give you an opportunity to impress yourself.
Your website is not a trophy cabinet
So back to this new client of mine. The company needed to upgrade their web content and social media. As it was a new industry for me, I did some research into what their competitors were doing.
I visited the websites of the leading companies in that field, in my client’s country and I was in awe. I was in awe of how vain most of them sounded. Every single one was obsessed with telling how they were ‘the leading firm’ in the country, which left me wondering how many leading firms could there be?
Every article or picture was about an award they won or almost won.
Chucking my disappointment aside, I decided to move my search to similar firms in different countries and I found more of the same. It was then I realised that it was common practice for their industry, most industries for that matter.
But then, I came across the best corporate website I had ever seen. Their homepage was immaculate.
Simple design, but excellent content.
This firm, one of the actual leading firms in the world, made no attempt to brag about their achievements, the awards they’ve won or how they were the best.
Their front page is filled with actual information relevant to their clients. It was instantly apparent why they were one of the best – they are focused on customers. In fact, when you scroll down the page, you then find a brief About Us, which begins with these words – ‘We help clients’.
They really do help clients. It was the perfect example of the type of content every firm should have.
Website content is a collection of articles, infographics and videos designed to ‘help clients’. You are not the clients.
Your website isn’t an opportunity to brag about your accomplishments. Though there is room for that, it should never be front and centre. Accomplishments and awards can go in the About Us section, unless you are desperate for clients.
What matters most to you is what you will focus on, and your customers will be able to tell whether you are self-centered or customer-centered.
The information you provide on your website should, therefore, be designed to help your clients, and communicated in a way they respond to. If not, they won’t be coming back.
How can you tell if visitors don’t like your website?
Having a lot of visitors on your website means you are definitely doing something right.
But having a lot of visitors does not guarantee clients. 100,000 people could visit your website and all of them could leave for good.
The easiest way to check if your website is scaring off customers is to check three important metrics:
- Bounce rate – the percentage of people that leave your website after visiting just one page. The lower this is, the better.
- Average visit duration – how long people spend on your website will let you know how appealing your content is.
- Pages per visit – more page visits means people like what they see and are interested in the other things you have on offer.
Your Google analytics page will help you check these stats. You can compare your performance with your competitors’ with similarweb. There are different ways to interpret these metrics, but if you are not getting as many clients as you would expect or not getting any at all, then these would show why.
How to make your website more appealing
Even though looks aren’t paramount, you should at least have a professional website. Google doesn’t have to look good because it is made for search, but even they have cool games and gifs. You probably won’t get away with doing the bare minimum.
Besides investing in a good-looking website, you should also pay attention to your content. For most businesses, this will consist of high-quality blogs, infographics, white papers, case studies and maybe a gallery. Having video content is also highly recommended.
For those willing to pay $40,000 for a website, you should be willing to pay much more for the content. Your design might get you more clients, but good content definitely will.
To get great content you can have it written in-house or hire a freelancer. But if what you have been doing so far hasn’t worked and you need drastic results, then you need professional assistance from a content marketing agency.
What to expect from a content marketing agency
A good content marketing agency will help you optimise your site with content and a bunch of technical stuff. They would help you develop content that will appeal to your audience and therefore attract clients.
It would, however, be your job to ensure that the tone of the content is focused on helping your customers. Not every agency will put customers first, as they might want to write a lot of ‘look at us’ articles.
Once the direction of the content has been established, the real work can begin.
The first thing a content marketing agency would want to do is understand your business, have a look at what you have been doing and find out what you would like to do moving forward. They will also compare your performance with your competitors and prepare a report on it.
Next, they would conduct a site audit, to make sure your website is optimised for search (there is a way to prepare content that makes it easier for it to show up on Google searches). They would also want to discuss your goals and come up with a strategy to turn your website from a dud to a stud.
This would involve using some of the content examples I listed above. But our work doesn’t stop there, as your website is only one part of your public face.
The other is social media. And before you even go there, yes, social media is for everyone! Your clients are all over social media, you just have to use the right one.
All of this will cost you a bit of money, but returns on average are about 700% of your investment over the course of a year+. The best thing about content marketing is that the articles written will keep yielding returns for years to come.
So, if you don’t reach the average ROI in the first year, you will get there in a couple of years. But sometimes, the returns are much, much higher.
Build a great website and clients will come
Building a fantastic website is no longer an option. While you are busy cold-calling potential clients all day long, hundreds or even thousands of people are going to your website to find out if you are the right company for them.
If you can’t convince them quickly, they’ll move on to your competitor. Nobody wants that…well, apart from your competition.
You might be a great firm with the best products on the market, but if visitors to your website can’t be sold on that fact within 30 seconds, you’ll keep losing countless potential clients every day.
Now that is a price too high to pay.
If you need some advice or would like to schedule a free consultation, fill out the contact form and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.