Too many companies think of a website as a brochure or a glorified business card, and little else. While this is true to an extent - you always want to keep the display fresh and have contact details easily available - the role of a site should be so much more than that.
You should treat your website as an employee.
Think about it. An employee should look smart, be able to sell your services succinctly and effectively to anyone they may meet. They need to be approachable and easy for potential clients to get on with. Most of all, they need to add value to your business, helping to raise profits to ensure it was worth hiring them in the first place.
All the above applies to a website. Yet while many companies will spend thousands on recruitment agency fees or HR departments to find the right employee, the website is often an afterthought - something knocked up cheaply and easily in an afternoon purely to say ‘yes, we have a website’.
Having a website just isn’t good enough in today’s world. You need to have a site that actively works to promote your business.
How does it do that? By being part of a planned online marketing strategy, by being usable and accessible across platforms (many users may be reading on text only browsers or through a mobile phone), it needs to give an easy way for users to purchase your product (why phone you up if they could buy online in a few clicks) and most of all it needs to convey your brand values and establish trust with a user who may have stumbled across the site from a search engine result.
It also needs to be freshly updated. If an employee didn’t change their socks for two weeks, you’d soon notice! A website too should always be fresh. This doesn’t need to mean a complete redesign, it could be a new article or news byte going up once a week, just to let prospective customers know that you’re business is thriving.
If a website is sloppy, unusable, basic and doesn’t do it’s job, then like any bad employee, it may be time to fire it. Very often it’s more efficient to start over with a new site, one that is built with the business needs of the company in mind from day one. A well thought-out website that is nurtured, maintained and constantly improved can, like any good employee, continue to add value to your business for years to come.