When looking to redesign their corporate websites, most business owners are concerned primarily over the look and design of their websites . When I ask Indianapolis area companies about what they want in a new website, the comments I often get are similar to these: “Our site just looks outdated” or “I want the site to look just like XYZ company’s website” or “I definitely want to have the picture of the excited man on the front,” etc. Sometimes I hear that people are concerned about prospects being able to find their site via a Web search, yet if they can’t, “as long as the site looks cool, and we get compliments on it,” everything is fine.
Wait. I’m all for a nice-looking website design as much as the next person, but there are many reasons that some of these comments bother me:
- Your brand is not just about your logo — it’s also about your message. A website is an extension of your business brand. And this brand doesn’t just include your logo and color scheme. It also includes the tagline , as well as the headers and content within your website. All of these elements together work to build a cohesive brand. If you don’t invest the time and funds to develop appealing content for your website, it will reflect poorly on your brand.
- A website that can’t be found, doesn’t exist. If you build a great-looking site that no one can find in a Google search, it does not exist. In other words, it doesn’t serve the purpose of informing, entertaining, building a brand or generating sales for your business. You need to build your website with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind so that people can find you when they are typing in common terms or phrases. Otherwise, people will find your competitor’s site first — even if it’s ugly. And don’t forget to do the SEO research before you build your site.
- A website that is all fluff and no substance won’t persuade. If your prospects (miraculously) find your attractive-looking website, but they are bored, confused or unimpressed with the web copy, your website will serve no purpose in benefiting your sales and marketing efforts. Web copy needs to engage and persuade your prospects to take the next step in the buying cycle. If it just looks cool but doesn’t tell them what to do, how to do it or why they should do it, they won’t. If you don’t have someone who can write effectively in your business, please do everyone a favor and seek a professional writer’s help. In most cases, a web copywriter can do a better (and faster) job of persuading without coming across as too self-promotional.
- A website that is hard to navigate will lead buyers down the wrong path. If your website’s navigational structure makes it hard for prospects or customers to find what they’re looking for, trust me — they’ll look elsewhere. Take the time to map out the path that you want prospects to take upon entering your site, or when they land on each page of your site, and make sure that your site provides clear direction.
- Good website content is an investment. For some reason, people will pay thousands of dollars for graphic design and back-end development for their website, but don’t want to invest in quality copywriting for their website. This (as a writer) makes me shudder. It would benefit the business more to get a no-cost WordPress template with no added design elements and have quality content than to pay to have a website look good but not sound professional. Invest in good website copy, and it will be the best investment that you could make in your business.
Perhaps I have stepped on a few toes with my bold statements — particularly among the Indianapolis web design firms out there. I do partner with several Indy designers and web developers to create the ideal websites for my clients. But my words are aimed primarily at the business owners and individuals in charge of their company’s web development. By recognizing the role of good content development in the website-building process, I hope to change the perspective that many companies will have regarding their next website project. Content — not design — remains king in my book.