What is the secret to a successful website?
and it isn’t what you think it is…
Give me just 5 minutes of your time and I’ll tell you why some websites make their owners massive profits and others nothing but wasted time and resources.
Get your website right and it will help your business soar. Get it wrong (and most people do) then it will just be a waste of time and money.
The majority of business owners I meet have the latter. I see websites everyday that will never achieve anything for their owners because their websites do not do their job properly. They never have from day one and never will a year from now.
I will give you the secrets to a successful website but first let me introduce myself so you know who I am.
How I created a successful business online
OK. So who am I and why should you believe me? Well, here is my story. My name is Jamie and I started out as a web designer over a decade ago (and internet years are like dog years which means I’ve been at this for a long time now). I started when nobody really used the Internet which made it a good time to start an online business. I used my legal training to create an online business selling legal services. Pretty simple really. I built my own website, learned sales and marketing (I learned early doors that if you cannot sell you die pretty quickly), made a successful online business, sold it and decided that I wanted to do internet marketing full time.
Becoming an online marketing expert
It was running that first internet business when I discovered I was great at internet marketing and in particular getting websites up in the search engines (It was however only a few years ago when I discovered that the most important aspect of a website was how many people do what you want them to do on your website as oppose to how many people get to your website). Soon after I quit my full-time job and went to study a masters degree in multimedia. After graduating from my masters degree I helped start up a web design company with a local entrepreneur. My main strength was still getting my clients websites up in Google and raising their online profile.
I had some magnificent success for my clients and often outgunned and out performed competitors websites who had three or four man online marketing teams.
The problem with online businesses in 2012
Back in 2005 things were easy. You could set up a website with a half decent product or service and make a killing. It really was like shooting fish in a barrel. In 2012 things are a little different. The problem with the Internet these days is that it’s just too darn noisy.
Just think about this for a moment…
The best thing about the Web is that everyone is a publisher! And the worst thing about the Web is that everyone is a publisher!
Because the web is now so accessible to everybody it is even harder to be heard above the noise of everybody else. The technology to produce websites has increased where you can get students and kids knocking out websites for £500 a time. The thing is. Because there are so many web
cowboys newbies knocking these websites out now – the online space is getting very, very cluttered.
WHAT DID YOU SAY?
The thing with web design now is that it’s very, very easy to create a website.
Back in the day you had to hand code websites but now they are as easy as updating a facebook page. Point and click, jobs a good ‘un. Because the tools to create a web site have improved it has lowered the entrance skill level for the whole industry. Everybody knows someone who can ‘design a website’ or you can even go to BT now and get one (again, you’ll be wasting your time in either case but you can).
This means that what used to be a nice quiet marketplace with a few stalls is more like a middle eastern bazaar with sounds, distraction and everybody shouting at you and trying to grab your attention. What do you do in this situation? The exact opposite of what they want you to do…YOU STOP LISTENING!
The simple fact of the matter is…THE PEOPLE YOU ARE TRYING TO CONTACT ARE NOT LISTENING. NOBODY IS!
How often do you read junk mail, pick up the phone and call?
Think about this in your everyday life. What do you do with junk mail as it comes through your door? Are you glad to see it and read it or does it go straight in the bin (and you probably think about the rain forest and the damage done for some company trying to flog you cheap, plastic guttering you don’t want or need)? How about the young salesmen in the shopping centre trying to get you to change gas supplier? Or the cold calls to your mobile trying to get you to change provider just before your contract runs out? Chances are – when any of the above happens you feel slightly annoyed and ignore them.
This is what most websites are like.
This is where the problem lies.
This is the secret to a successful website…
The secret to a successful website
OK. Do you want to know the number one tip for a successful website? Here we go. The secret to a successful website is not to choose a web designer to design your website…
I’m serious! Sounds counter intuitive right? After all, you would expect a professional web designer to design a website to a good level. The truth is they can…sort of.
Let me explain…
Would you look at a builder to design you a house or would you prefer an architect? Who would you prefer to operate heart surgery on you…a nurse or a surgeon? If I’m not making much sense then lets first understand what the purpose of a website is?
What a website is and what a website isn’t
A website should be a direct representation of your best sales person. That is the purpose of a website. To sell your product or service. Your website is not there to look pretty, it is there to get you more business. So, if a website is designed to sell your services in the best light. Let’s imagine that you have a one shot pitch to sell your services to Alan Sugar who is likely to give a life changing contract to the winning company. You are up against 5 more companies doing exactly the same thing as you. Who would you send to do the sales pitch? The well dressed, experienced top salesmen with a closing rate of 95% or the new lad?
You don’t need a web design to design your site you need somebody who understands sales and marketing. In 99% of cases this is not a web designer. Don’t get me wrong, there are great web designers about, it’s just that most of them do not understand sales, marketing or business strategy very well. The very things than underpin your success as a business.
Web designers very often know the technical in’s and out’s of a browser or the latest html etc but they very often do not understand the basic principles governing a sales process or the basic principles of marketing.
Why what you say is more important than how you say it.
In web marketing WHAT you say is much more important than HOW you say it. If you take just one piece of information with you from what I am saying today make sure it is that last piece.
If you went to buy a car and the first day the car salesmen was wearing a green tie and the next day he was wearing a blue tie would this change your mind about buying the car? Of course not. It is the car and its particular benefits that have attracted you and not the salesmen. The salesman was merely a medium to allow you to achieve this. This is the same with a website. Your customers don’t care if your website is blue, green or has polka dots. They care about what you can do for them and can they trust you.
What you say (the web copy) is much more important than how you say it (the pretty, flashing pictures or the super fast java script features).
Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself?
Take a look around at most web designer websites and you will see that they all talk about themselves. What happens when the annoying dinner guest you invited over talks about themselves all night? You stop listening and never invite them around again
What happens however when somebody takes an interest in you? When they have a genuine desire to hear about you and what you have to say? Completely different story…
Some designers will knock out a website in less than a week…sounds great right? Think again. Why would you rush your potentially best sales platform? Most people will keep their website as the main focus of their marketing campaign for an average of three years. Why would you rush a website out for something that will last three years?
Which of these website would you chose?
Option 1. Get a website in five days for just £600. We will get a professional web designer (oh ohhhh, danger already) to design you a website and you can add your own copy (oooooh, more danger – afterall, what does the average business owner know about the principles of writing engaging sales copy…probably about as much as the average web designer which is why they hand it over anyway).
You get your website and because it looks and sounds like everybody else’s you get the odd lead and cant afford to advertise on pay per click because it’s too expensive (If your website cannot support itself ia pay per click then there is something wrong with either your business proposition or the website).
Option 2. Get a marketing expert to understand your target market and investigate your business to uncover what makes you a little bit special (business owners always struggle with this and believe they do not have anything special but if they didn’t they wouldn’t be in business – people are using you for a reason) and write some fantastic sales copy which engages with your visitors at an emotional level and persuades them to call you. The job takes twice as long and costs twice as much.
Let’s say that by choosing option 2 and thinking a little more about what makes your company different than your competition and engages with them better produces £250 per month in additional leads (it is much higher than this for various other reasons I am not covering here so I am over simplifying this somewhat). That would mean £39,000 over three years of additional revenue. Could your business afford to do that?
The return you get in the long run from having a proper job done in the first place is much, much more beneficial.
By creating a better website in the first place means that you can get leads cheaper (because they convert from visitors into customers more) and therefore outperform your competition.
Why are you telling me this and what do you care anyway?
I am a successful small business coach and Internet marketing expert. I work for some extremely successful companies and help identify areas on their websites where substantial profits can be made. I lead their web teams (often experts in their own rights) and am responsible for increasing profits for their websites.
This didn’t come about by accident. I have studied long and hard and cut my teeth on small businesses just like yours. Building websites for small businesses just like yours is where I learnt my trade many years ago.
I want to help all small business owners stop making bad investments in websites that simply do not (and never will) work for them. This will, over time, increase the usefulness of online business of which I’m an advocate for.
Your website is a business – design it like one.
If you are serious about growing your business and are already successful then I would love to hear from you and see how I can help you (I will be able to help you). You can contact my via my contact form.
If you are just looking for information or are just starting out then I’m afraid I cannot help you directly (I would love to but I just do not have the time) however please read my blog posts. They contain some great information from experience.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your online venture