One of the important questions that we often ask potential new customers is “why do you want a website?“.
Now, this might sound like a bit of a silly question because in business these days having a website is seen as just something you have, like having a telephone or an email address.
But, the question goes a little bit deeper than that because when we ask; “Why do you want a website?”, we’re actually trying to get the customer to think about why it’s important to them. And also where it should fit in with their overall business. Because there are examples of where companies don’t actually needed a website.
A rare example of a business that doesn’t need a website:
A good one recently was a small garage, a motor mechanic business, that was in a small village and just did all of their marketing to the village. The village was small, just a couple of thousand houses. They did all of their marketing to the people in the village and they had more than enough business looking after the cars of those who lived in the immediate vicinity.
In all honesty, they didn’t really need a website.
They had a Facebook page, which could arguably be called a website anyway, and they had very clear branding on the front of their service station. But, they had more than enough business without needing a website.
So, when I met these guys at an event, they asked me why they should have a website. After a short discussion, I had to say: “Actually, you guys simply don’t need one.”
So, why do you need a website? Well, the key thing to ask yourself is, “If we had a website, what would we need it to do?” Because having a website just because everybody else has one is a bit like saying, “Well, I’m going to have the latest phone just because everybody else has one” without really understanding the reasons why you would want that. You may want the latest technology. You may want the latest features. But, ultimately, a phone does calls, makes texts, sends emails, looks at your social media, and there are loads of different phones that can do that. You don’t have to have the latest one.
So, the key question about having your own website is understanding what you want it to do. Why do you want it? What’s its purpose?
Now, if you sell things online, it’s obvious that this shop is going to need to generate some business and is going to make sales for you. That’s pretty much a given.
But, what if you don’t? What if you offer services? What if your business function is to provide something less tangible? So, in this particular case, you need to have a think about what you need the website to do? What’s its function online? How is it going to serve our customers and your business?
So, if you’re a service company for example, it could be you want the website to educate your potential customers about how you can help. It could be to provide information about the good things that you do.
In all circumstances, in my view, all websites should
be designed to get some kind of response. In other words, to encourage people to either fill in a form and give you their contact details, or to pick up the phone to ask more information, or to request some kind of free stuff which gives them more information about what’s good about you.
But, always ask this question before you even think about having a website, why do you need a website? Why do you want a website? You’re going to spend some time, effort, and some money on a website. And, you need to think long and hard because websites often aren’t cheap. It can be quite a serious investment for a very small business and, without knowing the why you’re doing it, in many respects you’re missing the point of having the thing in the first place. So,’ why do you want a website’ is a very important question to ask and answer.
Now, the key thing is that the company (or companies) that you ask to give you a quote on building a website should help you to answer this question. If they can’t then, in my view, you should find somebody else.
As I said earlier, this motor mechanic company didn’t need a website and I was happy to tell them so. I don’t really want to try selling them something that they simply don’t need. I’m in business to make a profit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to sell things to people unethically. I want clients to realize that the ‘why’ is important and, if they don’t have a why, then I’ll try and help the client work it out. But if you genuinely don’t have a why, then don’t have a website. Nearly every business needs a website, but not all of them. But, it’s important to understand your why.
A few examples of ‘why’:
We’re currently building a website for somebody at the moment who is a marketing advisor for membership organizations. She wants to sell marketing consultancy and training services. So, the ‘why’ of her website is to educate her market, pitch her as the expert, but above all to develop leads for her consultancy services.
We’re just in the process of building a website for a tee-shirt company and their reason is to sell tee-shirts online. So, their ‘why’ is that it’s their shop front.
We’re making a website for a guy who is a breathing specialist and he helps people to better health through getting more air into the lungs. He wants to educate his market. He wants to provide information on why this is a good thing. He wants to help people to be healthier. Ultimately, he wants people to pick up the phone and ask him to help and that’s what his website is ultimately there to do, to develop leads and business.
Normally, developing leads and business is the endgame (or the ‘why) of most business websites. The route which you take to get there can be varied. But, again, it’s important that you understand your ‘why’ because, if you don’t have a why, you could end up being sold something which, quite frankly, isn’t going to serve you or your business.
So, I hope that helps. If you have any thoughts on this, write them in the comments below. I hope to hearing from you.