“You have to have a website.” “If people can’t find you online, your business will suffer.” To a large extent, those axioms are true. But there’s more than just having a website solely for the sake of having a website – you should expect to have one that actually supports your business. But how can you tell? There are a number of different factors, all beginning with understanding your industry and your audience.
First and foremost, consider the purpose of your site. If you use your site to position your business as a legitimate resource as opposed to using it to generate additional leads and sales, allocating resources to try and generate sales leads will be ineffective. If your site is geared towards older users, an extremely edgy visual design coupled with cutting-edge site functionality will result in an aggravated audience (unless, of course, that’s your goal). By ensuring your site speaks to your target audience, your likelihood of achieving your desired conversions increases.
Secondly, how users interact with your site is very telling. Analytics come in handy here- if you understand your site engagement, you can determine how your site is truly being used. And that can be very differently than how you intended. Using analytics, you can determine how much time people are spending on your site, where they are spending their time, which pages they are viewing, where they’re located, what browser they’re using, etc. This information helps ensure that your calls to action are strong. By regularly reviewing your analytics, you can ensure that users are using your site correctly.
Finally, having appropriate site functionality for your industry is important. Users have expectations for how your site should feel and what they should be able to do with it. Say, for example, that you own a water damage company. A mobile site that allows a user to call directly from the site (which is typical for emergencies) is more appropriate than a “mobile-unfriendly” site with no helpful calling functionality. If they have to search for your number, they probably won’t be calling – instead they’ll call one of your competitors who made it insanely easy to get ahold of them.
Overall, the best way to tell if your website is truly supporting your business is to determine alignment – when it properly reflects your internal culture, speaks to your target market, and correctly serves its purpose, your online presence will continue to serve as one of your most valuable assets.