Last week we talked about how a bad website can do your business more harm than good. That column brought several emails asking what is the key to building an effective business website. I replied with the same answer I always give: building an effective business website is a simple matter of definition.
Before the first graphic is drawn or the first line of code is written, you must define the website’s budget, purpose, target audience, design, navigation, and content. And when that’s all said and done you must define the marketing that will bring visitors to your site.
It sounds easy, but you’d be amazed at how many really bad business websites there are out there. Yours might even be one of them. If so, listen up. For nearly ten years now my company has been building and rebuilding websites for every kind of business you can imagine: from mom-and-pops to multinationals. We’ve designed (or redesigned) a couple hundred websites and along the way I have come to the conclusion that most business websites do a pitiful job of working for their owners.What’s that, you didn’t know your business website should work for you? You think it should just sit on a server somewhere taking up digital space and collecting digital dust?Wrong. Every website, business or otherwise, must serve a purpose, and that’s usually where most websites falls short. They serve no purpose because the website owner never gave much thought to it. It’s not the website’s fault. A website is inanimate. It is only what you make it. The only life a website has is the one given to it by its designer and owner. If the human element doesn’t do a good job of defining the building blocks, the website will serve no purpose and eventually die a digital death.
Building an effective business website isn’t brain surgery, thank goodness, since that’s how I make a nice percentage of my living. Building an effective, well-designed website that works for its owner, that actually serves a purpose, is all about definition.