For many small businesses, the struggle to build and maintain a website is too much work. Add to that, the uncertainty surrounding social platforms and the options are overwhelming. But the bigger problem is that most businesses haven’t asked the one question that changes everything:

“What do we want this website to do for us?”

While there are thousands of options and variations that make up a well designed site, there relatively few reasons for having a website. Either you want to inform prospects and an ‘online brochure’ is your goal, or you want to make contact with prospective clients and you need a lead capture site.

There are other reasons, but we’ll leave e-commerce and content heavy blog sites out of the discussion for the time being.

If you’re a home builder, photographer or interior designer for example, the number one purpose is to showcase your skills and expertise. But because the nature of your business requires face to face relationship building your website becomes a support mechanism to your sales process. Businesses like this need an online portfolio where they can refer prospects to check out their best work. This doesn’t mean you don’t want new clients to connect with you through your website, but the priority of your site is to display your wares.

On the other hand, if you’re running a service business (ie. commercial cleaner, deck builder, landscaper, home renovations) your primary reason for having a presence online is to attract and connect with potential clients. You want new customers to find you and you want them to take action once they arrive at your site.

Once the decision is made: brochure site or lead capture site, there are a number of design choices that will become obvious. Recently we began working with a residential cleaning company. Their priority is capturing emails and getting phone calls so we designed their homepage to make it super easy for the user to contact them.

Example of a lead capture site:

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In this second example, the client wanted to showcase their work. What they needed was an online brochure styled website.

 

seagae_example1

Once you know what kind of website you need, measuring success becomes much easier. Because when it comes to marketing your business online, one question stands above all others – Does your website do what you intended it to do?

Let us know how your website is or isn’t lining up with your marketing goals.