Everyone talks about their ROI (return on investment). You want to get the most bang for your buck, right? Consequently, your website ROI should be no different.
Consider Your Website ROI
Why do you have a website? Maybe it was because you just assumed you needed one, but that’s not why you hire employees. In any organization, you know that hiring employees that fit your organization and its culture is paramount in its success. If that employee is not working for you, then you’re just throwing money away.
Your website ROI should be exactly the same. Think about it… your site is the only part of your organization that is constantly working, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It never sleeps, never goes on vacation, and is the only thing that is always available to your customers or supporters. You couldn’t hire someone like that, no matter how hard you tried! Even you, as the head of your organization, can’t put in that kind of commitment.
Interview Your Website
If you’re just starting with a web designer or trying to build your website yourself, where do you start? When I sit down with a new client, I tell them to think about what questions they would ask if they were to interview for the “position” of website. If you had a selection of five applicants, what would you ask each one in a job interview, and what would you want their answers to be? This is the online face or representation of your entire organization, so you don’t want to get this wrong.
You wouldn’t hire someone to answer the phone who is rude and doesn’t understand your goals, because that person is often the first encounter a potential customer has with you! On the same token, a shoddy, unprofessional looking website sends the wrong message, as well. Too many people spend time painstakingly working on every detail of their businesses, only to leave the website as an afterthought.
What Should My Website Do?
Here are a few basic things your website should provide:
- Information: At the very least, your website should provide detailed information about your organization, what you offer, and why potential customers should work with you as opposed to the competition.
- Easy Contact Form: If your site only has a phone number as its contact information, you may be missing out. If someone’s work schedule makes it difficult for him to call you during business hours, you just lost a sale. Providing a contact form that can be filled out at any time of day with the responses being emailed to you ensures that people can get in touch with you at their convenience.
- Payment Options: If you are selling a product but don’t offer it on your website, you are missing out on a large market. More and more people are looking to order online at any time of day, and you should latch on to that trend. If your business requires deposits, consider accepting those online as well.
- Calendar: Perhaps you rent party space or have limited availability. Maybe you’re a musician or band who schedules gigs. In these cases, an online calendar can help visitors know immediately whether or not their preferred date is available. Include a reservation form so people can speak for their date, and you’re ahead of the game. Use your website to make appointments, too!
- Analytics: You should measure traffic to your website using Google Analytics (free!) or another tool. If you don’t know whether people are even visiting your site, there’s no way to know if it’s even helping you.
- Lead Generation: If you’re not using your website to generate leads, you may not even know your website ROI. If you spend $X on your site and know it brought at least twice that in sales, your website ROI is soaring.
So it’s time to think of your website differently. Take a look at it with fresh eyes and ask yourself if you’d hire it as your most valuable employee. If not, it may be time to make some changes. Make your website Employee of the Year, and keep swimming along!