We hear these common website myths all the time. There is always a lot of talk about websites, how to use them and what to do next. It’s time to discuss the legitimacy of some of those claims. Let’s dispel some of those myths and turn your site into one that works FOR you.
I don’t think it’s any secret that the industry is always changing. It’s hard for anyone to keep up, really. We’re always finding new and exciting things that we can add to our projects. With all of the changes, though, we have come up against a great deal of questions that people have and we’ve noticed a recurring theme. I want to talk about some of these today and help to guide your way through some of the muddy waters in the online space, and combat some of the most common website myths that we come across.
The idea of making your business approachable isn’t anything new. Brick and Mortar stores have been doing it for centuries – making the curb appeal nicer, adding air conditioning, having greeters, larger parking spots, expanded hours, bigger signs. All signs of life that show the business cared about those that shopped with them. And we still do this online – we offer better specials, have bigger graphics, and try and provide free shipping and more stock on items. But this isn’t translatable in quite the same way as a Brick and Mortar – we aren’t opening ourselves up for new business so much as just trying to capture the existing business that comes through our virtual doors.
So what do I mean?
Your online presence: I speak about it a lot. If you’ve spoken to me in the past, I’ve probably mentioned this combination of words. Your online presence is not just your website. I mean, it’s usually housed just on most people’s websites, but your online presence is a collection of things online that make up the view others have of your business in the online space. It is your reach, it is the size of net that you cast, it is how open you are to receive new clients and customers. It is your life in the online space.
Myth #1: Content needs to be strictly about your business
There are a lot of us, who get in our own way of success. We self-sabotage or we don’t know what we don’t know and end up blocking ourselves from what we are trying to do. This is no different when you head online and try to start promoting yourself online. You get in your way through technology, strategy, and neglect. These are some common ways we get in our own way online, and here are some easy methods to deal with that situation.
YOU. ARE. YOUR. BUSINESS. Use your face. Use your words. Your tone. Your experiences. Your expertise. Your picture accomplishes what pages of text would not: it promises them that you provide your personal guarantee.
Hint: Google appreciates this too. They want to see sites that are more humanized!
This is something that took us ages to do. You’ll see pictures of us on our website. We post pictures with our kids, and our dog, or just what we’re up to. You want to differentiate yourself from your competitors, don’t you?
In a sea of businesses that offer the same service as you, the main differentiator IS you.
A good rule of thumb though, when using a picture of yourself in the website is to make it interesting. Try posing in a relevant location, wearing something comfortable yet professional, and try to inject some personality into the picture when possible. If you have a tool of your trade, try posing with that.
Do you have your branding photography done yet? Chat with Sarah Wayte Creative; she will help you SHINE. Maybe I should add more common website myths: “Selfies are enough” and “This cell pic is fine” … because no, they’re not. Go get ’em done.
Hey look – here’s me in a tree. Because why not?
Myth #2: Design is all you need
Sometimes we go to a restaurant and it’s an undiscovered gem – a hole in the wall with almost no signal that it even exists. Over time people have begun searching them out, and the very lack of presence is a symbol of their quality. Unfortunately, this is not the same case online. Nobody is looking for the company with the shoddy, underbuilt website, or the Facebook page with 1 post on it. Nobody is excited about the company whose Twitter feed is one retweet, or the Instagram with a handful of images from 5 years ago.
The issue is that we decide to cast a net and then make the net out of dental floss. Things like providing no pages on your site about your services, or even an area to contact the company. Most of the time this takes the form of the one-page website. While sometimes this is executed with amazing success, a lot of times this is viewed as an excuse to put less effort in.
This lack of activity/content/substance is the very thing Google looks for when deciding whether they want to rank a company up high in searches. It’s another quintessential way that we get in our own way when building an online presence. There is too much of a good thing when it comes to your online presence.
Add quality to the site that you do have and provide value. Don’t do this by duplicating your site. Double the websites does not equal double the traffic (or double the fun…). For the majority of use cases, this will actually be detrimental before you even get it off the ground. What you need to put the effort into instead is the content on your site.
People are attracted to the design initially, but stay on for the content. They want to know how you’re going to solve their problem.
Can you save them money because you do a certain service in a different way, or can you save a customer time by going with you over a competitor because you have a method that takes half as long? Do you provide a better ROI versus your competition. Do you provide a service that is innovative? The key here, again, is to set yourself apart from your competition with what you can do for you clients which is unique to you. Show them why using your website, don’t just list it. Your website is a collection of images, text, video, motion graphics, and if you back in time to the 90’s, animated GIFs. Use those tools in a cohesive way to paint a complete picture of who you are, what you do, and why you do what you do.
This leads to our next set of common website myths…
Myth #3: A professional website costs tens of thousands of dollars to start
Let me be clear with this: going the “cheap” route will eventually cost you just as much money. A lot of the time it costs you in lost business potential. We’ve found that most companies do not recognize the value of a professional website in the beginning and opt to do it themselves at least once before deciding to invest in their online presence.
So for example, our sites are built at an average of $3500-$7500, and it ultimately comes down to the involvement that you need. AND … We provide leasing! Seriously, for $500 down you can have a website for $200 a month.
And let’s just talk about hosting for a second too… please, don’t just go for the “cheap” hosting. Saving 20 bucks a month isn’t worth it if you’re not properly protected.
How much money are you missing out on because your DIY-site is actively turning people away?
People spend so much time on social media to get more clients. You’ve actively brought someone in the door – you’re ready to show them who you are, what you do and how great you are. (Let’s go back to myth #2 here – show them how you help THEM…). Don’t suddenly send these people away before they can make a decision. It sounds obvious, but business owners are doing this EVERY DAY without knowing it.
There are so many ways that you can effectively get out into the world, and with so many common website myths, it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s important to know what works for you, how to reach your clients, and ultimately what makes you money.
Hello! I am the owner and operator of Chewie Media Inc. It is a digital marketing and design agency based out of Chilliwack, British Columbia and Brooks, Alberta. My passion is to help small businesses use the internet in ways that help them thrive. I am a full-stack website developer and designer by trade and have a Bachelor of Science in Interactive Arts to show for my four jam-packed years at SFU Surrey. I would have to say that I enjoy being an entrepreneur, almost as much as I enjoy designing and building unique websites for companies. Having the freedom to tackle problems and find solutions correctly is an amazing feeling and getting great feedback from those clients makes it all that much sweeter. When I am not digging through lines of code or aligning pixels in the perfect order, I am chasing after my two children, playing board games, or tinkering with the latest technology that crosses my desk.
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We inspire and level the playing field for small businesses by building and supporting their website presence and online growth – and we are excited to work with you!
We are known for undertaking complex, brand-driven, collaborative, multidisciplinary projects. Our work has helped clients integrate design into their strategic thinking, realize their business goals, develop memorable brands and create value.