Rediscover Your Brand: “Why It’s Important To Know The Main Purpose Of Your Website”
In today’s age, having a website can be crucial to the survival of a company or organisation. Before the internet existed, if a person wanted to find out more about a local restaurant, they would have to look up the phone number in a phone book and then call to get all of the information that they were looking for. Today in a matter of minutes a person can do a quick internet search, find out not only the phone number of that restaurant, but also a website. On that website the customer can find out hours of operation, location of the restaurant, menu options, and even see reviews and pictures before they decide to go for dinner. All of this is done from the convenience of a computer or even a phone with internet access.
If you are working on your first website or redesigning a website that isn’t functioning as well as it should, there are some things that you should consider first. Perhaps the most important aspect to consider is the main purpose of the Website. Start by asking yourself the following question. Why am I creating this website, and what do I want it to do?
There are many different types of websites. Perhaps you want to create a personal website to keep in touch with family and friends, or a website to promote your business. You may be creating a website to inform others of your organization, or to blog about your experiences. Whatever the purpose is for creating your website, it is important to think about how you can be effective.
Creating a personal website can be very exciting. You can create a website to keep your family and friends informed of what is going on with you. Let’s say your child just had her first birthday and you want to share that information. By having your own website, you can post pictures of the event, write a note of how thankful you are to have had a wonderful year with your daughter, and give updates on what is going on with your family. By building your own site, you are able to control the information about yourself that you want others to know. This information is available to anyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A word of caution must be spoken about this. Anytime you put information about yourself on the internet, you are opening that information up for anyone to see it. This would include anyone from people who may not have your best interest in mind, to a potential employer. Make sure that the information you provide shows you in the best light and is not something that you would be embarrassed for someone else to see. Perhaps it isn’t a good idea to post pictures from last weekend’s bachelor party, when you are currently trying to get a job. A lot of employers and even schools will do an internet search on a person before they decide to have a further relationship with them. You may have a difficult time trying to convince your future employer of how seriously you take your responsibilities when they are looking at pictures of you having had just a little bit too much to drink. This is not to say that it is a bad idea to have a personal website. Just remember that anything you post can be viewed by a variety of people.
Perhaps you have your own Business and you are considering a website for the company. This can be very rewarding for you. Having a website is an easy way to market who you are and what your company is about. Imagine this situation. Bob started his Tee Shirt printing business five years ago. When he first began, he would place ads in the local newspaper to let people know that his store was open, and his services were available. He would then hope that customers would spread the news by word of mouth. Soon he started to get calls from people asking when he was available and what type of services he offered. Although he was grateful for the business, he was overwhelmed with trying to work and take care of the inquiries. He hired a store manager to help him answer phone calls, and schedule appointments. Although this took a lot of worry away from him, he still felt that there needed to be a better way for him to be more productive. Bob looked into creating a website for his business. On this site, customers could find out his store hours, email him to make an appointment, look up his pricing information, as well as upload their digital designs to be printed. Having a website allowed Bob’s customers to get the information that they needed when it was convenient for them without having to rely on anyone else. His customers now have all the information that they need. This allows the office manager to spend less time with phone calls and scheduling and more time doing productive tasks such as billing and marketing. Using this same situation, let’s consider another scenario. Rachel wants to have a tee shirt designed for a family reunion. She works as a nurse Monday through Friday until 6 pm. By the time she gets off of work at 6, bob’s company is closed. She goes online and finds Bob’s website. Now Rachel can get all of the answers that she needs even though the store is closed.
Having a website is a great way to stay open for business, even when your company isn’t physically open. But what if you don’t own a company, but instead run a non-profit organization. Can having a website help your organization? The answer is YES! Let’s say you run a research-based organisation whose goal is to inform and connect people who are suffering from a rare disease. Since you are non-profit, you can’t afford a lot of overhead costs. On your website you have several important pages. The first page tells the symptoms of this disease and what can be done to help. You also offer information on how to get in contact with other individuals inside and outside of your community that are suffering from the same thing. The website also offers a listing of physicians who have been treating this illness and have a more in depth understanding of how to treat it. Without having a website for your non-profit organisation, people who suffer for this devastating disease would not be able to connect.
Another reason why you may want to start a website is to create a blog. What is a blog? A blog is a record or diary written and maintained by an individual. The difference between a blog and a diary is that a blog offers the chance for anyone to read it and to leave comments. It is an interactive website. Usually, blogs are written about a particular subject, but that is not always the case. Lets’ put this in context. Imagine that you are a travel agent and are given the opportunity to take trips all around the world. You want to be able to tell your friends, family, and potential clients about your vacation as you are experiencing it. A blog is a perfect way to do just that. By logging on and writing what is happening to you, you can allow others to feel like they are right with you.
By now I think we have seen why it is important to have a great website. The next question you need to ask yourself is what does the website need to accomplish for it to be successful? Is it to sell advertising? Provide information? Build up a brand? As we have discussed, there are so many reasons a company needs a website. Make sure you understand exactly what the main purpose of your web site is. Let’s discuss some of the main purposes of a website.
One main purpose of a website is to build a brand. You may be wondering what it means to build a brand. A brand is not just symbol. It is meant to package emotions, experiences, and associations to a company all at once. By using consistent sounds and images a brand is built. Let’s look at a perfect example of this. Who do you think of when you hear “ba, da, bop, ba bah… I’m loving it?” If you guessed correctly, you just said McDonalds. At this point you are probably picturing the golden arch that is associated with this famous fast-food chain as well as starting to drool over the smell of a Big Mac. McDonalds has become very successful with branding. Just the sound of their jingle will bring up many thoughts, feelings, and mental images to a person’s mind. You know that it is McDonalds without even hearing the name. Successful websites should aim to do the same thing. When this is achieved customers are won over and kept long term. Branding sets a solid expectation. When faced with a choice of McDonalds or an unknown fast-food chain, most people will be comfortable with choosing what they know instead of what they don’t know.
When branding there are several things to keep in mind. You should be very careful with your choice of colours. Certain colours have been proven to stimulate different emotions and feelings. Let’s play a game. If you are feeling sad, what colour do you associate with that? Perhaps you picked blue, or black. How about envy? Most people feel that green is the appropriate choice. Green also represents nature, environment, profit, money and health. The colour red may increase blood pressure, pulse and respiration. It’s a colour that symbolises passion, energy, power and excitement. When choosing your colours, make sure you do research on the effects of those colours.
Another important branding tip is to consider the character of your company. How do you want people to perceive you company? Are you strong and determined? soft and gentle? Always willing to do the right thing? When you go to the store, what brand names do you pick up? Why do you choose them? Most people have a select number of brands that they feel comfortable with and associate with. Make sure that your website reflects what you want your visitors to feel.
Another important thing to remember is to be consistent in your website design. Keep the same colours throughout. Don’t change your font style too often, unless you are trying to get something to stand out for a particular reason. Remember that your written tone of voice can be very important. Keep your message simple, clear, and make sure it says what you want it to say. Provide basic information such as hours and location. When people leave your platform, they should know who you are, what you do, where you’re located, and how to contact you.
Your website may be centred around selling products online through an online store. If this is the case, your priorities will be different. Your site will be focusing on the ease of buying and paying for products. When a customer is purchasing items from you, they should feel that it is an easy task. There should be clear and consistent visual cues as to how to proceed. Examples of this would be tabs at the top of the page that says “Start Shopping”, or “Check out”, or “Contact us”. With so many online stores to choose from, making the actual act of checking out as easy as possible is going to be very important. Let’s look at Amazon for an example of an easy and fast checkout. When you go to Amazons website you are immediately presented with a search bar to find the items you are interested in buying. Let’s say you are interested in purchasing a dryer. You can search for a dryer under the appliance section. Once you have located what you want to purchase, you can read reviews on that item, find out specific details about it, and even see how many dryers are left in stock. It makes the shopping process easy for the customer. The next step, checking out, is just as important. Amazon has a nice feature for returning customers. Once you have imputed your home address, billing address, and contact information …Amazon stores this information for you. The next time you are ready to purchase an item from them you can do so with just a few clicks.
They would not be successful without making sure that their merchandise is organized correctly. When designing your site, make sure that you have the appropriate amounts of categories and that you name those categories correctly. This will be the difference between visitors leaving empty-handed or buying something from you.
Lastly, it is incredibly important to provide excellent customer service. Let’s play our last game. Think about a time that you had outstanding customer service. How did you feel when you were finished with that company? Did you go back to them? Now think about a time when you were really frustrated and received terrible customer service. How many people did you complain to? Did you ever shop with that store again? Customer service is what will keep your customers coming back to you. If a customer has a question, they should be able to contact a company representative through you website. Often times this is done through providing a phone number or email address. Some companies are now providing the option for customers to chat live with a customer service representative. Providing customers with an easy way to find information is a great goal for any service-based industry’s website. The best way to do this is to provide a FAQ sections, content that explains exactly what you offer and why, and an abundance of contact information. In addition, Emails, phone numbers, Twitter, Facebook, etc. should all be prominently displayed on every page, not just the contact page.