What is Your Website Actually For?

When we first speak to a new customer, we usually start by asking a few questions about their exiting website. Usually, these questions, if they were referring to any other major business purchase, would be very simple to answer. However, I’ve noticed that when we ask one question in particular about their website, it’s often met with a blank look.

Let me explain what I mean. If I asked one of our customers, an engineering firm: ‘What’s that huge piece of industrial machinery for?’ they’d say: ‘Oh, that’s for drilling holes in the seabed.’ But when I ask ‘What’s your company website for?’, very often they kind of half smile and say, ‘Well, you know, it’s for the err, you know, the Internet. The, err, the company?’

The fact is, the average business website in the UK has real identity problems. Lots of split personalities competing for attention. It has to impress prospective customers, existing customers, act as a sales support tool, a company brochure, it has to please the management, the Chairman, the bank manager, the investors, the staff. When it comes to the company website, it often has so many stakeholders and functions that it’s easy to lose sight of that simple question: What is it for?

It comes as no surprise that the average company website in the UK converts less than 1% of it’s traffic into sales enquiries. When you think about that, less than 1% means that for every £1000 you spend on SEO, adwords, email marketing, link building or any kind of website promotion, £990 of it is completely wasted. Depressing or what? (It’s usually at this point, when the new customer is at their lowest, that I have to stop one of our Account Handlers chipping in with ‘Why did you hide your contact details on the last tab?)

The good news is, very often there’s a number of quick fixes you can do to your website to enhance it’s conversion capabilities. (This is the part where I start pushing our marketing modules on you “lock the doors please, I have an offer these wonderful people can’t refuse!’) – and yes, we do have a simple Conversion Kit module that will make your website better at generating sales leads, however…

Maybe it’s time to admit that your website, wearing it’s many hats and trying to please so many people at once, will never be the cold blooded sales ninja you need, stealthily picking off prospect after prospect as they stumble unwittingly by.

But there’s no rule that says you can only have one website, or one web address. We always advise our customers to have a series of standalone ‘Conversion Pages’ which have one job: to generate prospects. We also advise them to constantly benchmark their Conversion Pages against each other and A/B split test different versions of the same page to constantly improve and enhance their results.

Of course, if you do find yourself putting several web pages together into one of those pesky web ’sites’ then just keep asking yourself: ‘What is it for?