Does your website have a purpose?

[Re-post from June 16, 2009]

Ten years ago, you were considered ahead of the curve if your company had a website. Even large businesses like Barnes & Noble and Wal-mart struggled early on to establish a web presence, paving the way for the success of Internet companies like Amazon.com and eBay.

Why buy?

Remember these?

Ten years ago, your website could consist of a home page, “about us” page, and contact page, with perhaps another page or two that described your products and services. Your site was merely an online brochure – like a Yellow Pages advertisement but with more words and color (and let’s not forget the annoying flashing graphics like the one on the left!).

Ten years ago, your small business could even get away with not having a website, particularly if you only served a local market.

Nowadays, none of the above holds true. Your company – whether you employ one person (yourself), 10 people, 100 people, 1,000 people, or 10,000 people – must have a website that provides visitors with useful information, compelling content and, above all, a reason to engage with you.

Your website must answer this question – Why should a prospect choose to do business with you and not your competitor? This is the singular purpose of your site.

Take a look at your current website (if you don’t have a website, realize that your competitors do!) and ask yourself:

  • What questions would a prospect have when they come to my site?
  • Does my site answer those questions clearly and quickly?
  • Who are my target customers? What are their demographics, buying habits, persona types, and needs? Does my site address each customer segment?
  • Do I provide a compelling reason for the prospect to choose my company over my competitor?
  • Does the prospect know what to do next? Do I want the prospect to call me, fill out a form, watch a demo, download a free trial or whitepaper, make a purchase, subscribe to my newsletter, etc.? Does my site guide them to take this step?

If your website is currently the equivalent of a billboard, newspaper ad, or Yellow Pages listing, you are losing money. Your website should, and can be, a highly effective means for generating leads and sales. Does yours?

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