Here is what you will learn from this article:
- Recognise what has real value for your web site and what is over rated
- Understand everything important about a web site in simple business terms
When a small business owner starts thinking about a web design, or a new web design, there are a few things that they could do to create a more successful web site before the design even begins. And perhaps the most important thing a business owner can do is to stick with what they know — doing business. This article series is about keeping and using your business perspective while saving money.
As a small business owner you are confident about running your business and if I came along and said to you, “You know, I think you should move this counter against that wall and put a display case here”, you would probably tell me to mind my own business because you could see that I don’t have a clue about how to run your business.
And then along comes web technology
And then you sit down with a web designer and your business brain gets turned off as you become intimidated by web technology. Perhaps the web designer means well, but who knows more about your business and what is good for your business than you?. So, let’s get something on track here before it’s too late — there is not a web designer in the world that knows more about what’s good for your business than you do. Just turn that business brain back on and let’s get to work.
The first thing we want to do is always think in business terms. You’re a business person and you understand business language and you have business savvy, and that is all you need because a business web site should be about business.
When your web designer is asking you if you want a Flash intro then imagine what that would be like for your material office, warehouse, shop truck or whatever your business works out of. Think about opening the shop truck and being greeted by the same recording every time. Imagine customers entering your warehouse and being greeted by an animated poster guy dancing out a welcome tune.
Cool, don’t ya think?
How long would it last before you got rid of it?
If you treated every web feature in the same way, a practical business way, you would quickly discern what made good sense and what didn’t.
Ok, so let me suggest that your home page should be created so that the whole page is a very attractive statement, a first impression where you can stand back and see an elegant business impression. What would you say to such a design concept? Many business owners are very impressed and proud of their business web design when it is elegant and tastefully done.
Making use of that business brain
- Would my current customers see this as pretentious?
- What type of customers is this image going to attract?
- Can my site’s visitors see the real business, and is this my company?
- What information stands out on the page, and what does it tell me?
- Does this design engage my market right away, and how?
And there are many more questions that could be asked from a business perspective. It is always good to keep in mind that the easiest approach for a web designer is to sell to the CEO because selling to your market is a lot tougher to do.
Understanding everything that is important in business terms
People in the web tech industry speak a different lingo from you and I. You probably won’t know their industry jargon, although you know your own industry’s jargon, and that is all that is going on. They are not smarter than you are, and they really don’t know anything about your business so it is up to you to stay in control and insist that all conversations take place using the language of business.
When jargon comes up that you don’t understand you will have to ask them for a translator. There is no reason in this world why you should learn their jargon. If a web design firm wants to do business then they should speak in business terms.
It is good to be prepared with a handful of questions that can get any technical recommendations back on business terms. To that end I offer these questions:
- How will that help me communicate to my market?
- How does it support a visitor’s need to solve their problem?
- What will it cost me, and is there a cheaper alternative?
- Will it slow down page loading and penalize my search engine placement?
- How will my visitors benefit from this? (could be intangible benefits)
- Can you give me a successful measurable example?
We’ve looked at a few situations where business owners lose their presence of mind, and we’ve got a few questions to ask when the business perspective gets lost. In Web Planner part 2 we will look at the function of a web site in simple business terms. This is a practical and grounded understanding of having a business web behave as a medium for doing business.
Edward Cannell is the marketing & SEO manager for A Better World Business Club a web marketing support site for small business owners that are making a difference in the world. Read more about Web planning for small business owners.