Ten Myths relating to putting your Business on the Web
The following page is due for review and update. While the general concepts present remain valid, many of the details continue to evolve.
very form of media has myths associated with it. For business owners the Internet can hold numerous misunderstanding: Ideas that seem true, but in fact are not… thoughts people repeat but without foundation… simple misunderstandings of this fast-evolving medium. Written with business owners in mind, the following myths are detailed to assist you in the making of informed, rational investment decisions.
Myth 1: Now that almost anyone can build a web site, costs can be reduced by asking someone who builds sites for a hobby or as a side-line to design your business web site.
Reality: Evolving beyond an immature design medium, the web today has become a serious commercial playing field. Serious operators spend significant amounts of money on the design, content and marketing of their highly effective Web presence.
No one can afford a badly designed web site any more than they can afford amateurish business cards, sign writing, mail-outs, or badly scripted TV ads. Long gone is the time when the World Wide Web was a mere plaything or novelty.
Myth 2: Putting a business on the Web requires little time or forethought - you just need to get some colour brochures to your web designer.
Reality: Your web investment needs to be part of a well-considered, well reasoned business plan - a plan which addresses questions like:
- The nature of your business and your market(s);
- Your primary customer paths (How do you gain business?);
- Your overall marketing strategy;
- Your ordering, fulfilment and payment methods; and…
- Your competitors; both direct, indirect and potential.
Myth 3: If you spend enough money on your web site in the first instance, you don't need to concern yourself with your site for another few years.
Reality: In the 'instant age', people won't bother with dated or irrelevant content. They will not return if they sense you're not serious in updating your online information.
Myth 4: Visitors to your site want to know all about how good you think you are!
Reality: What people want to know is how you can be help them obtain what they desire better, faster or cheaper than your competition. Too many sites are unwittingly self-serving and self-focused rather than client-focused. Content should be geared towards selling the benefits of your product/service, while promoting your ability to deliver. Imposing marketing hype or self-serving flattery may deliver visitors… to your competitors.
Renown web site critic Gerry McGovern says: “It is up to your organization to speak the language of your customer, not the other way around. If you publish organization-speak on your web site you will end up talking to yourself.” www.gerrymcgovern.com
Myth 5: Your customers love brightly coloured text and fancy animations (think splash screens).
Reality: Overuse of colour turns people off! Unnecessary animations and graphics clutters their screen, wastes their time and impedes their single-minded goal - relevant information.
Myth 6: A well presented Web Site will naturally attract interested visitors (on its own).
Reality: Without a specific marketing plan a new web site will attract zero visitors. There are three ways people can arrive on your web site:
- You put your site address (URL) in front of them and they choose to type it in to their browser (Think of a business card or a printed brochure).
- People using search engines are expressly looking for a topic, issue, product or service which is referred to on your site and your site is near the top of the search results pile. Or…
- People find a link to your site on another web site.
Note: Effective ways of gaining site visits (traffic) is another whole topic.
Myth 7: Tricking Search Engines into putting your site at the top of the search results pile will gain more customers.
Reality: The people who design Search Engines are smarter than most of us! People may be tricked into coming to your site once, but once they see they've been duped, what have you really gained? Some 'techniques' could see your site banned from some prominent search engines - this would be a very bad outcome.
Myth 8: A web site must have thousands of visits to be successful.
Reality: Success is best measured in terms of your business plan (see Reality 2). Success depends on factors including the goal of your site, the potential lifetime value of a customer, how the web site fits into the whole marketing picture.
Myth 9: Any web presence is better than none.
Reality: Increasingly customers will judge the quality and trustworthiness of a business by their first impressions of their site. A mere online replication of your "Yellow Pages" details or an image of your business card conveys the impression that you're not a serious player - and you may well be treated as such. When you can do so much more than replicate a tri-fold brochure - why waste the opportunity.
Myth 10: The 'Net is now a mature and stable medium in which there are experienced and seasoned experts who can eliminate all business risks relating to Web Sites.
Reality: As the value of Internet business expands, and the potential for profit grows, and more people 'jump on the bandwagon,' the medium continues to be a 'melting pot' - moving ahead, yet with new directions and 'hot spots' constantly emerging.
True Internet experts remain rare, while past performance is never a guarantee of future success. Every aspect of business has its associated risks, and nobody can eliminate them - particularly in this information driven age.
Putting Web Sites to work for business through meaningful design, layout & navigation, Toowoomba web development company Info-Design Online assists local business to effectively integrate the Internet into their business model. Info-Design Online develops business sites which are professional, practical & personal.
Creating unique solutions for each client allows web sites to compliment a business' unique corporate image. Focusing on the clarity of content, the quality of design, layout and graphics, enables Info-Design Online to create web sites which are functional and very user-friendly… essential qualities of any successful commercial site. See also Seven Keys to an effective Web Site.