8 June, 2011

Does your website work for you or against you?

In today’s world, every local business needs to be found online. The big yellow books are dying as more and more customers get connected to the Internet with their phones. Local businesses need a piece of electronic real-estate to call their own.

Drive around any city and you’ll find a street with houses on it.  Some houses will be well maintained, some bigger than others, some will be run-down and shabby.

Imagine two houses on the street, next door to each other. One is shabby – the screens on the windows ripped with holes, the front screen door swings and bangs in the breeze, the front steps are rotted and caving in, the lawn is bare except for weeds.

Right next door is almost the opposite.  It has a tidy front yard, the windows are all clean with attractive curtains showing through. The colour scheme of the house is warm and inviting.  The front steps are clean, free of leaves and a large welcome mat waits for you at the top.

All other things being equal, which house would you prefer to go to?  Which house do you think would be more likely to trust the people who live inside?  Which house are you likely to want to spend time inside?

Your businesses website is no different.

If your business website hasn’t been updated or maintained since it was built, it’s a run-down house.

Customers only have first impressions when they discover your business on the Internet. They’re looking to do business with you. They’ll have the same reaction to your website as they would with the houses. If yours are the shabby house, they’ll click on to the next one – the better looking one, the inviting one.

Your website is an electronic version of your shop front. Or if you’re a service based business, it’s an electronic version of you.  Look at it as though it were a bricks and mortar business.  Forget for a moment what you know or don’t know about websites, the Internet, and all that technical speak. It simply doesn’t matter here.  Because it doesn’t matter to your prospects.

They care about whether your shopfront looks inviting, whether it looks like someone trustworthy is behind it. They care if it’s cluttered or easy to find what they’re looking for, whether it’s maintained or clearly been forgotten about.

Many local businesses owners sadly don’t take a few minutes every now and then to look at their website from their customers point of view.  To them it’s there, so what’s the fuss?

Little do they know, they could be sitting on the equivalent of the worst house on the best street.  It’s been sitting there for years.  Yet with a little effort, a little investment, and a little love, it can make huge returns for them. It can help you get more customers and more sales.

Your website can help turn the worst house into the best house on the street.

It could be the best investment your business ever made.