ARE YOU “TOTALING” YOUR WEB PRESENCE?

In Good Company was a 2004 movie starring Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace. It was about how the 26-year-old Carter Duryea (played by Grace), became Dennis Quaid’s boss. Carter’s rise into management came with a nice paycheck, which he decided to use to buy a Porsche 911. Just moments after buying the 911, Carter pulls out onto the road where he immediately crashes into another vehicle.

“I want all the bells and whistles. How much would it cost to get the Porsche of websites?”

A Past Client

So many businesses ask web designers and marketers this exact question. They want “all the bells and whistles” on something that will “drive” leads to their business. Naturally, because of the “driving” concept of leads, businesses (and, honestly, many marketers) think of website properties as vehicles. So, a website’s functionality isn’t viewed as something that brings any real value. Instead, like the Porsche 911, it is seen as a status symbol.

Just Because You Can Afford It, Doesn’t Mean You Need It

Going out and impulsively buying a Porsche 911 like Carter did could be disastrous. I have found that many business owners ask for website features without fully understanding what they are asking for. Not having a full understanding of the features, whether that is the business use case or how consumers will interact with them, can derail your efforts online. This derailment is essentially a “totaling” of your web presence. Many times, these coveted features are like a car that is constantly stalling out (think of a driver trying to drive stick for the first time). The extra features never seem to work or be effective for the business.

Buying a website is like buying a car, and you need to think about what stage of life your business is in order to choose the right type of site. If you don’t have a website yet, starting off with a small set of features is a good way to get an initial idea of how your customers see and interact with your company. Don’t try to accomplish too many things with the first version or phase of your site. It’s hard, but you should boil down your website plans into the essential functions that your site needs. For example, maybe you envision a loan form that customers can fill out to begin the application process. While that’s a great feature, getting a website up that has your company information is critical to your business’ success and should take priority.

Start with the Basics First

Instead of trying to get the most tricked out website right out of the gate, think about what you actually need your website to do for you. Give preference to features that will encourage conversions from potential customers rather than cool effects and animations and be mindful of how these potential customers are browsing your site. Prioritize function over form, and you’ll wind up with a much more effective marketing tool in the end.

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Erik McNair