Your Business Doesn’t Need a Website

Clever subhead goes here

This blog was hesitantly titled as we’re generally leery of click-bait titles that never deliver on their “hot-take” premises. Yet in the end we went with it because it’s more true than it isn’t. And buckle up, it’s not the only hot-take present in this article. 

So what do we mean by the statement that your business doesn’t need a website? Because clearly it does. Everyone has a website—they are table stakes in this day and age for solopreneurs all the way up to mega-corporations. Our position is that just “having a website” isn’t enough by a country mile. If that’s all the thought and effort you’ve put into it, then you might as well throw the domain away and call it a day.

Your website must exist, and function, with true purpose. If it’s not working for you, it’s simply not working. The best analogy at hand we’ve thought of is air. Your body doesn’t need air. It needs to breathe. Plenty of corpses are surrounded by and filled with air… yeah, this just got a bit morbid. However, the thought holds when compared to your website. The mere state of its existence isn’t enough. Far too many sites are thrown together due to limited resources, budgets, or timelines and never quite get back to being the priority they deserve.

Let’s follow that thought with a few more hot-takes:

Your website does not exist for you.

Wait, what? This one’s not that far fetched, and is further backed by the majority of user research out there around website usage. A website exists for one, and only one, primary audience—your customers. That means it’s not there to house your internal tools or content. It shouldn’t be organized and structured by how you might use or talk about things internally. Your pages and content should be centered around how your external users will interact with it. How do they learn? What terms would they use? What tools are they most likely to need? Remember, it’s for them, not you. (and thanks Despi! for bringing up this take!)

User journeys, stakeholder research, and many other UX strategies can be leveraged here to ensure that your website is centered around the people that will use it daily. And we know this can sometimes be a contentious issue inside of larger organizations, but the data doesn’t lie. So use it to reinforce the importance of getting it right before you design and build a website, not after.

Your site isn’t a one-way street.

Many think that users will only enter a site through the homepage, and even then only from an extremely limited set of inroads. Most analytics will show the opposite. From digital marketing to organic search, users will end up on your site on various pages based on their specific needs in the specific moment they are searching/looking for something. Your site needs to be built with this in mind, allowing for multiple user journeys at every point.

One colleague (thanks Bob!) used the example comparison of Grand Central Station, and we think that’s apt. One cohesive hub where traffic flows in and out freely, with multiple touch points along the way. Product info pairs with purchasing methods, help content move seamlessly into contact info. All connected within a seamless experience that becomes more than the sum of its parts. Visualizing your site in this manner helps put perspective around how to best leverage its utility within your broader marketing and sales strategy for both you and your end user.

Your website is not a field of dreams.

Just because you built it, doesn’t mean they (your customers) will come. We’ve seen six-figure, beautiful websites sit as vacant as a poorly planned suburban stripmall. All that effort with no follow up would be no different than a farmer planting crops and just hoping they turn out well and harvest themselves. And that’s probably enough analogies for the remainder of this blog, but hopefully you get the point. 

A successful website will be buoyed by a strong marketing strategy. In fact, we’d go so far as to suggest that if you aren’t planning on investing in either long term (SEO) or short term (Paid/Social) digital marketing to bring users to your site, you should save yourself a lot of time, trouble, and money and just stand up a simple one-page website and call it a day. It’ll save you the hassle of justifying any ROI on the website when your visitor count stays at little-to-none.

Your website cannot be an afterthought.

We’d go so far as to say it must be the first thought. Ok, maybe the second thought behind your initial products or services. Too often business owners don’t realize that their websites are THE first (and maybe only) impression most consumers will have of their offerings. Websites should both reflect and validate the quality of your business, not fight against it. 

One colleague (thanks Ian!) joked that if the website doesn’t cost as much as the CEO’s car, something might be off. We’re not quite sure if the math on that works out all the way up and down, but the point he was making stands: if you don’t invest in the way your website looks and functions, thereby taking it seriously, you can’t expect your audience to. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, even digitally.

Conclusion

There’s a lot here to mull over and unpack. But if you’ve not given your site the consideration it deserves, we’d advise you to sit back and reflect a bit on how it fits into your marketing mix, if it does at all currently. Few things, if any, that you’ll do with your marketing dollars matter more than what you put into your website, so make sure you are getting every penny’s worth out of yours!

Need some help? Let the experts at LACUNA work their magic. We’d love to chat and help you ensure your website is reaching its true potential, so please reach out!

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