People Don’t Want A Website

Whilst watching the BBC television show ‘The Apprentice’ I was struck by something that was said during one of the tasks. The task involved making a range of sausages and selling them for a profit. The team making the largest profit was therefore the winner. One of the two teams, in their infinite wisdom, tried selling their produce without getting the potential clients to taste them.

Someone on the show commented that they should sell the sizzle and not the sausage.

This got me to thinking about websites and what clients really want. Do they want the hassle of the task analysis, stakeholder interviews, prototyping user interfaces and all the myriad of different things we use to design and develop a new web design?

NO! What they really want is more traffic, more leads, more enquiries. In other words they want more customers.

If the above is true, why is so much emphasis put on the designing and building the website and so little on search engine optimisation and search engine marketing? Many years ago I was taught that a business should budget for a 20% spend on marketing. I am guessing very few web design projects get anywhere near spending that much on SEO/SEM.

Is it because business owners don’t think they need to do SEO, maybe they believe their shiny new website will bring new traffic with it – A case of ‘If we build it they will come’. Or maybe it’s because our industry isn’t very good at explaining the different requirements of a successful web project. I have seen some beautiful web designs that are getting very little traffic and without traffic you don’t have a business.

Don’t Waste Your Time With Social Media

How did you read the title of this post? Did you read it as saying that social media is a complete waste of time that you shouldn’t bother with; or did you read it as saying that you need to focus your efforts on certain areas and that outside of this area is a waste of your valuable time; or maybe you read it as hurry up get on the bandwagon quick before you miss out?

To labour the point, the well-known url: has the same problem, i.e. the two words can be broken before the letter ‘s’ or afterwards – giving totally different meanings.

The fact is that companies are using social media in a variety of ways, for example, 35% of employers in the U.S. use social media to promote their company. Researchers at Hewlett-Packard demonstrated that they can accurately predict a Hollywood movie’s box office success by counting how often it is mentioned on Twitter prior to release. An increasing number of companies are driving their recruitment through social media. I won’t bore you with other examples suffice to say the list goes on and on.

However, I remember when Pay Per Click (PPC) was first introduced. I came across many clients who were running ppc campaigns where the only thing that mattered (to them) was getting traffic to their websites. What they forgot or ignored was the word: quality. They were in such a blind rush to get as many click-throughs as possible that they forget the point of the exercise – sales!

Granted sales might not be the immediate goal as you might be building trust, loyalty, brand awareness, buzz, whatever. But you can sure bet the end goal is to make sales.

I am seeing the same spitting competition happening with social media right now – “How many followers do you have?”.  I am seeing many public sector clients setting up large social media campaigns but all they do is copy and paste every single press release into Facebook and link to it from Twitter.

Don’t lose sight of the reasons you use social media otherwise you will be wasting your time