- Scott Hofheins
Its hard to believe, but there are still many businesses without a good website. I would like to discuss the reasons why, and talk about the importance of a good website. We will be focusing on the sign industry, but I think this topic will be helpful for business owners in any industry.
This post should go along nicely with Mike’s post about the different approaches to selling LED signs. A website is one of the best tools you have to generate leads and expand your potential customer base. There is a reason Google has been so successful: The web is a central source of information for consumers and having a strong advertising presence there is essential. Even businesses that deal strictly locally benefit from a strong online presence.
Do you make quality signs? If the answer is yes, then you will most likely have a high quality sign standing on your property. Can you still make quality signs, but have a run down-poorly made sign out front? Yes, but you will have a hard time convincing potential customers of this fact. They will associate the quality of your sign to the quality of their potential sign. Sometimes this is an active thought process, but can also be a subconscious trigger to move onto another company with better signage.
When we talk about it in those terms, it’s easy to see the importance of a quality sign for a quality business. But many forget that a website has the same effect in the minds of online consumers. They will associate the quality of your website with the quality of your business. This could be a buyer from a national company looking for a good local source to fabricate or install signage, or a local businessman beginning his search for a new sign just down the street. This is not to say that a company with a poor website will not get business, but the amount of business they do get will fall short of their potential.
Hopefully we can all agree that a good website is a good thing, and these days - essential. If this is the case, why do we still see poorly designed sites, or the lack of a website at all? Here are some common reasons and my thoughts on why they are not entirely valid.
Time and Money
The cost of operating a website has gone down over the years. You don’t have to buy your own servers or pay an IT staff to maintain them. Basic virtual hosting is cheap and sometimes free. Many services will help you get a general site up in minutes, not weeks or months. The costs for website design are well worth the investment when compared to the benefits received from a good website.
Word of Mouth is Working
You may be doing great now, but eventually your growth will be limited as more and more people use the web as their main source for referrals from the online community. The ease and convenience of searching online will win over the less convenient act of physically calling others for word of mouth referrals.
It’s not that complicated anymore. With the use of PHP and other web “applications”, generating a basic website is easier than ever. WordPress, Drupal, Google Sites, and others offer some great options.
When designing your website, it’s important to keep the following principles in mind.
- Keep it simple. You don’t need to have an in-depth massive website to communicate quality to your potential customers. A simple design with tasteful colors and organization including a gallery, contact info, and a description of your services is 100% better than no website, or a complicated poorly designed site.
- Keep it focused. Your website should focus on what you have to offer and why customers should contact you specifically. Good grammar and a clear message is important.
- Keep it organized. There is nothing worse than a website that is difficult to navigate. Always err on the side of fewer pages than more and keep the design simple and intuitive.
- Keep it clean. The layout should be uncluttered and easy to read. A simple, direct layout communicates more effectively to the viewer than a pages filled to the brim with text and graphics.
- Keep it fresh. Don’t forget about your site. You don’t have to update it every week, but make sure it stays relevant and purposeful. At a bare minimum, update your site every 6 months or so.
There are other aspects to a website like maximizing your SEO (search engine optimization) and interactive content like Flash, but the goal of this post is to focus on the fundamental need to have a website in general. Whether you invest in a well designed 3-4 page site or a full fledged integrated website, the benefits are unquestionable.
The bottom line is this: Most people do not open a phone book anymore, they open a web browser...Make sure you're there.
I hope this post has been informative and helpful. As usual, I welcome ALL constructive comments. Please feel free to comment and add anything I've missed, or additional tips you may have regarding this topic. Please visit www.vantageled.com for many other resources, white papers, and of course: Great looking LED Signs!
**All posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.