“I need a new website” – do you really?

do i need a website

Let me tackle an important subject today, that of “I need a website”. I get approached all the time with this request but upon further investigation what the person really is saying is “I need more sales in my business and I believe having a website will bring them in.”

Does that sound familiar? Are you in the spot where you feel a website is going to bring you additional business? Or more likely, were you in that spot, approached a web designer, paid anything from R300 – R30,000 for a lovely looking website and 2 months later, there are still no leads coming in?

Odds are you understand this scenario. The problem is a lack of understanding. Online marketing is the rave, everybody gathers you need to do online and mobile. Most people  are generally too busy building their business for really understanding what this means.

So let me clarify this for you. No, you don’t need a website. What you need – in most cases – is a lead generating machine. Paying a webdesigner x amount to build a website and then not doing anything with it equals printing 10,000 brochures and putting them on a shelf in your garage.

Nothing is going to happen. Nothing.

Unless you send people to your website it’s not going to do anything for you. There are millions of websites set up every day, how are you planning on competing with them? Where is your strategy? Unfortunately webdesigners won’t tell you that. They will ask your brief and give you what you want – but what is your want based on? Did you tell them to build a SEO optimised website? If not they won’t necessarily do that because they usually aren’t marketers, they are designers. No good or bad, that’s just how it is.

The problem is, you see a pretty website and equate this with a good one – oh I want one like these. Let me tell you something every web designer is hating me for saying: pretty doesn’t cut it to generate traffic online. Obviously the site has to be pleasing to the eye, but there are only two things that bring people (organically) to your website: words and as of late pictures.

I run several websites and the ugliest one brings in the most traffic. Why? Because it’s optimized for people searching for the information it provides, means it concentrates on the words not the design. And people type words into that search bar on Google. They don’t care how the words are presented as long as they can read them and give them the information they were looking for.

The key to a successful (= traffic/lead generating) website are:

  • usefulness (does the information provide me with what I’m looking for?)
  • easy to navigate
  • interesting enough to keep you on it longer
  • conversion (turning visitors into leads)
  • traffic generating strategies in place
  • relevant and fresh content

I like to compare it with a shop. Will you go back to a supermarket where you can’t find what is where? Where you don’t find what you’re looking for? No, all the points above are the same for a successful shop. Of course you need to have it clean, and pleasantly looking. If it’s revolting people will run away. But the most important is, do the people that come by (your shop or your website) find what they are looking for?

Key questions you need to answer for yourself

  • How are people going to find the website?
  • How am I going to convince those visitors to *insert CTA (call to action: phone you, buy off the site, send email, sign up for newsletter, etc)*?
  • How am I going to keep the site updated and relevant?
  • What information must go on?
  • What are my keywords?
  • Do I want to build an online income stream in addition to my business?

Basically there are two ways to look at with regards to a website, either you just want to have a pretty online brochure that works the same as it’s offline counterpart. When someone comes across it they hopefully get converted and end with an action. But your main idea is not to drive online traffic there, it’s actually the offline activities that drive traffic there (link on your email, your brochure, your business card, etc.). All you want is for people who know your name and/or your domain to find you and see what you’re all about.

Or the other side of it is you want people who search for your services but don’t know your name yet to find you and thus create completely new leads you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

And I know that’s what people usually mean when they say “I want a website”.

So how do you go about getting one of those? The first thing is to understand this is a fundamentally different process to the first option. For the first option (the brochure website) you could even get away with a free website (although I suggest to at least get your own domain).

For a traffic generating website on the other hand you don’t just need someone to design it, you also need a plan of how that traffic is going to reach you.

And that’s a science in itself. SEO, keywords, landing page optimization, content marketing, blog, social media, etc comes into play. You need to make a plan how you drive the traffic to your site and then how you convert/monetize it. If you have an existing business then that last part is easy. That’s the goal, to monetize it via your existing business.

The concepts you got to cover are:

GET FOUND | ENCHANT | CONVERT | RE-ENGAGE

The guys over at Hubspot are doing an incredible job in educating the world at large about all the stuff that needs to happen. They also have a phenomenal grader software I use in my free marketing assessments. They have the tools that will make your website a lead generating website, there is no doubt about it. I’ve recently taken a client through implementing their marketing software and I’m blown away, it’s outstanding and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Plus they are really cool, see how Hubspot marketing enchanted me recently here. I strongly suggest to subscribe to their list and blog at the very least, there’s a lot of great information coming from them for absolutely free.

There is a more affordable option for a lead generating website available, albeit one that takes more time. Remember the ugly site I said brings in the most traffic? Well that’s a Sitesell.com website. Their SBI (site build it) system is unrivaled when it comes to creating an online business. It is really unbelievable at that price – and they never increase the price!

So what is Sitesell? Well in a nutshell it is THE online tool for creating a lead generating website. If you want to make money online that’s the way to go, but it’s the slow one. You know all those get rich quick scam artists? Well they promise you a quick buck online, there is no such thing. Whether online or offline, you gotta put in the hours to make it work. Sitesell is the slow way, but personally I have not seen a better and more affordable system then theirs.

And the best part, whether you are a total newbie (know nothing about anything online) or an experienced web pro you will find their system works for anybody. I told you my “ugly” site generates traffic and pays for the site itself, and I hardly spend any time on it. I am busy planning on putting up another SBI site, particularly because they launched their new 3.5 mill $ block builder system which is going to be the best of breed. It’s a drag and drop website building system with which anybody can build a good looking website that works (= brings in traffic).

The third and often most commonly used option, as it doesn’t take much money or time, is to have someone setup a WordPress site for you and learn how to do what you need to do yourself. My ninjas & I offer a WordPress & Marketing setup from R3,500, contact us for details. This very website is a WordPress site, it’s one of the easiest to use systems and once you’ve gotten the hang of it you can easily change content and add new one, which is essential when you want to use it for marketing.

There are plenty of other systems as well, but when it comes to using a website to do marketing the three options outlined here top everything else I’ve come across so far. Yes, webdesigners won’t like me for that, but I suggest they need to wake up and go with the times, as this article “The Web Design Business is Dead” outlines very well.

So in summary, do you need a website?

If you just want a nice place online to send people to via your business cards (and other offline media) then go the WordPress route, it’s quicker than SBI. Set up your own domain (here my thoughts on whether to go .co.za or .com) and install WordPress on it. (We offer a WordPress setup from R3,500 for a basic site)

If you want a website that generates leads and you are passionate about your subject (it’s a prerequiste, you need to want to write a lot of content) then go with Sitesell.com, they will teach you everything you need to know. Please do yourself a favour, for the less money than I charge you for a WP site you get SO much more, it’s incredible. I don’t even want to mention the awesome community you’re going to be part of, just check their Facebook page to see what I mean. But it’s only a good option if you are going to do most of the website work yourself and have the time to go through all the manuals (tons of them).

And lastly if you’ve got some budget and are serious about generating loads of leads for your business go the Hubspot route, pop me a mail and I’ll take you on a tour.

If however, all you want is your phone number to come up when someone looks for it then I suggest to go with a simple Google Places listing. That’s really all you need for that, it’s free and they put you on top of page 1. I call it a yellow pages listing on steroids. Just make sure you’ve put in the appropriate keywords.

As always, if you have any questions at all, please contact me (top right all the links)! I’ll be happy to help you navigate what will be the best solution for your particular circumstances. Or book a Pick My Brain session with me.

And if you found this article in any way beneficial I’ll appreciate you sharing it with your network.