When we work with clients on branding and marketing initiatives, one of the first things we examine is their website. While it may seem an obvious place to start, it’s startling how many companies go year-to-year without evaluating it. Even if a company has a huge media presence and high-profile executives, if they have a bad website, it may not matter. A website is one of the first places people go to learn about your company and it must make a positive and substantive impression. How do you know if your company’s site needs a makeover?
- Survey the Field Often companies forget to look at the competition, instead just building a site based on internal likes and dislikes, and what they think should be included. However, it’s imperative to know what is going on in the industry. There may be some common themes across the board or “must-have” pages that other competitors share. What your site does or doesn’t have relative to the competition can tell you a lot.
- Stay Relevant It’s vital to provide useful information to your key audiences to ensure they’re not one-time visitors. Ask yourself “What does my audience want to know and where can they find it on my site?” Do you have pages that with helpful articles? Content that articulates your company’s point of view on major issues? Make the site a resource for visitors.
- Remember Your Core Attributes While providing helpful information, your site must remain focused on your brand’s story. Think of three words or phrases that describe your company and three terms that describe your site. Better yet, ask a customer to think of them. Is there any commonality? Your website should reflect your company’s message and reputation, not be disconnected from it.
- Sit in the Passenger Seat Explore the site from a user’s perspective. Would a new customer or prospective lead be able to easily navigate the site and find what they’re looking for? Information should be readily available and clearly presented with site menus titled appropriately.
A website should reflect what your company can offer and be a window into how you operate. An incomplete, dated, unfocused or hard-to-use site can turn off prospective leads, job candidates and even investors. Take stock of your company’s site and think about the first impression you present online.
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