Look, I’m not trying to stop making websites. We’re happy to make websites for clients who need them…but have you ever questioned why you really need one?
It’s common for businesses and non-profits to think that they need a website because that’s just the thing to do.
But a website is just a tool. It’s a tool that should be used to accomplish your actual business goals.
If your business goals lead you to creating a website, that’s great! Most organizations do benefit from having one. But you should only create a website to serve a purpose in your organization, not because you feel like you should have one.
A website can be used as a tool to do any number of things:
- Sell online
- Support your offline sales process
- Provide customer service
- Reduce information distribution costs
- Generate leads
- Communicate changes in services or products
- Increase awareness of your organization
- Educate potential and current customers
- Establish expertise
- Get fewer calls and emails
I’m not going to look at all of these uses right now, but the most important takeaway is that your website should have a strategy. What do you need a website to do for your business? Here are some of the more common strategies I’ve seen clients pursue.
Whether you’re a new organization or you know you need to get your company or nonprofit in front of more people, you can use your website to let people know what you do. Simply having a website probably won’t achieve this goal, but it’s a start.
There are probably lots of places online where you can find your target audience, but it’s helpful online to have a home base.
You have control over your website, but you don’t really control changes on platforms like YouTube or Facebook. Sending people to your website from those third-party sites means you get to control how your organization appears and can ensure that the information is accurate.
Your website can serve as a passive source of leads in addition to your offline lead-generation tactics. This is particularly useful if you’re also sending people to your website from social media platforms or even listing your website on your marketing collateral.
Get fewer calls and emails
Depending on your situation, this may seem like a crazy goal. But if you’re a well-known company and are getting swamped with calls and emails, a website can help you resolve that issue.
Having videos or blogs on your website that explain questions or concerns you often receive can help you spend less time explaining them, and it will demonstrate your expertise as well. It’s also a good idea to have an FAQ page where you outline those Frequently Asked Questions and offer up answers.
Obviously, I am a bit biased. I think it’s a good idea for a lot of companies and nonprofits to invest in a website, and I like the websites we provide to our clients. But I’d hate for anyone to set up or purchase a website just because they feel like they’re “supposed” to.
Figure out what business goal (or goals, but keep the list relatively short) your website should help you accomplish. Think of it as a tool—a very useful tool—but make sure your focus is on your goal itself.