Treating your web site as an advertisement

Let’s face it – most companies love to see business referred through their web site.  When this occurs, it indicates that someone tried to solve a problem (need to find a plumber, need a new car, etc.) and that company’s web site seemed to provide an answer.  That person then chose to do business with the company.

The web site became an advertisement for the company.

I’m currently reading a great book by Andrew Griffiths titled, 101 Ways to Advertise Your Business.  In Section 1 of this book, Andrew offers up five important things everyone should know about advertising.  While reading, I realized that these points adapt quite well to the web, particularly web sites.

So what are these five important things you should know?  Instead of copying Andrew’s list verbatim, I’ll instead paraphrase his five points and tailor them to web sites:

  1. Know what message you’re trying to deliver. Don’t confuse your potential customers with irrelevant information.  Be quick and to the point.
  2. Know your target audience. Being too broad could mean losing business to a competitor.
  3. Make your web site stand out. A great design that’s easy on the eyes does wonders for your company’s credibility.
  4. Make sure people visit your web site. List your web site on all your advertisements and business cards.
  5. Let your web site work over time. Don’t expect results overnight.

Back in the 1990’s, simply having a web site was good enough, and it showed.  Many businesses designed a simple one-page site with a phone number and uploaded it for the world to see.  In this day and age, those types of pages look old and out of date, and businesses using them come off as “behind the times”.  That perception could mean the difference between “new customer” and “no customer”.

Long story short – take your web presence seriously.

Mull over these five points and ask yourself – “Is my company’s web site advertising our business?  Or is it just going through the motions?”  If you answer with the latter, there’s no better day than today to change course.