The company website, while far from a new-fangled thing, still gets treated by many business owners like an annoying brochure – not worth their attention and finished when launched. This could be one of the biggestmistakes made by small-to-medium sized businesses.
A static, unprofessional website doesn’t work as hard for your company as it can and should, nor does it provide return on your investment.
To find out if your corporate website is working as hard as it should, ask yourself if your site performs these five essential tasks:
- Clearly explains what your company does
- Introduces key players
- Announces news and events
- Provides directions to your office and essential contact details
- Makes customer queries easy
Ask department heads, a few clients and a fewoutside your company to give you feedback on the company site. Finally, open a web browser and see how your company fares when you search relevant industry keywords.
Here’s why your site needs to fulfill these five basic tasks.
1. Explain the company
At its most basic, your website should clearly define what your company does and why it’s of benefit to your customers. This does not mean you have to list every single product and service (unless you run a retailsite). It does mean you should clearly and simply convey the benefits of doing business with your company. Be sure you answer: WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?).
Companies that explain their business well include MailChimp (Send Better Email), Square (Start Selling Today), L.L. Bean (Shipped for Free. Guaranteed to Last.), Sprouts Farmers Markets (It’s Healthy Living for Less), Sanford Health (Dedicated to the work of Health and Healing).
Think you can’t boil down your value proposition to something this simple? It’s not an option. The average web site reader spends 4 to 8 seconds before deciding to stay or move on.
2. Introduce key players
People like to connect with other people. That’s why your company should provide profiles of its key players. Each profile should briefly explain what this person does and a few details about work experience. If it fits the personality of your company, include personal details such as hobbies.
Hire a professional photographer to come in and take everyone’s photos every year or two. You don’t want to undermine your good efforts with amateurish photography or surprise a new client because you went gray and gained 50 pounds since your last web photo was posted.
Your web site is the perfect place to announce promotions, key hires,and , company wide volunteer efforts and key events. Key events include trade shows your company attends, and speeches and presentations given by executives.
You should also link to your company’spages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. Not sold on the idea of social media? At a minimum, your company and each of its executives should have an account on LinkedIn.
Another advantage to spending resources on the News & Events section? Frequent updates help improve your search engine rankings as well as keep customers abreast of where to find your team during industry events.
If someone calls, do you make it difficult to talk to the person they need or refuse to give directions to your office? Of course not!
Neither should you make it difficult for your web audience to find your mailing address, street address and at least one main phone number for your organization. Even better, include telephone numbers for customer service, sales, accounting, and if applicable, media relations and investor relations.
Nothing conveys indifference and disorganization to customers faster than unanswered queries generated from your corporate website form.
At least one person should be responsible for answering all emails coming from your website readers. That’s right – every single email must be answered every workday. The only exception is spam. Filters reduce the quantity of spam, but you still need a human making the judgment of what is spam, what is not, and forwarding legitimate emails to the appropriate departments for follow-up.
At a certain volume, your designated person will need to implement an auto-response mechanism that lets people know that their message was received and when to expect an answer.
Set a standard for how quicklymust respond to customer emails. Yes, a complex answer may be needed, but someone from your company should respond with an initial answer and follow-up questions within 24 hours. Rather than treating these emails as a hassle, consider it an opportunity to communicate with customers and gather intelligence.
Once you’ve analyzed your site for these five essential tasks, be prepared to devote some time and resources to changing it so that your site works as hard for your company as you do.
Read more about what your website says about your company: