First of all, a website is more than just a technical matter. It’s primarily a means of marketing your business to those who might be looking for you and what you sell. It’s easy to cast off this responsibility to someone who manages your internal computer operations, but translating PHP, CSS, Java, and HTML in a way that communicates sales content should be left to someone who works in your marketing department. Your website is the face of your company and attracting the right audience and conveying your brand’s message will drive visitors into your customer column.
The person in charge of your website – yes, needs to have technical skills – but they should also have a clear understanding of your business, the audience, and marketing goals. Here are five reasons why:
- Use of your site isn’t the same as functional. Sure, every page should link properly, servers shouldn’t time-out, pages need to load quickly and shopping carts need to function…all technical issues that an IT person can help with, but making sure it’s easy for the end user is key. A shopping cart that works great won’t do you much good if the “add to cart” button is in an awkward position, sized wrong, ugly, etc. A menu that works is useless if it isn’t organized and made clear to the user how to navigate. Label things in simple, understandable headings that guide your end-user in a helpful way.
- Code is not a message. Your audience could care less whether your website is built with WordPress, Dreamweaver, or any other popular site building software. They care about what you have to offer meeting their needs. That’s a message created through copy, headlines, graphics and layout, calls to action. That’s marketing, not code. Don’t misunderstand, code certainly can affect your message – messy, clunky and bloated code can make it more difficult to use and for search engines to rank, but your core marketing message is your first priority.
- Coding isn’t really that hard. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal…internet-based website platforms make it relatively easy for the layman to understand and use. A moderately computer-saavy person can update and maintain a basic website. Gone are the days of using expensive one-time purchase software to build a basic small business website. Web technology is a lot more accessible and specialized coding knowledge generally isn’t required…so leave your IT people in charge of making sure your email and inter-office networking is up to speed. Put your sales and marketing people in charge of the website.
- Fresh content needs attention. IT people are constantly over-worked, so it’s easy to place the website on the back burner. Outdated sales copy is a killer for developing a good impression. Having a gigantic “end of the year” sale still splashing on your homepage in the middle of July is not an ideal sales strategy. A person who knows your sales process, message, and current products and offers should maintain constant contact with your website. A good sales person who knows how to write – and is motivated to do it regularly – is one of the most obvious choices for keeping your site fresh.
- Marketing and social management need consistency. As with many of the others above, your on-line presence shouldn’t be an afterthought. Constant monitoring of your search advertising ROI will keep your budget in line. Social engagement is more than a monthly health-check. Replying to customer issues should be handled by a professional who knows how to best interact with people and keep or generate a sale. To me, it’s no different than having the janitor who keeps your floor clean help explain a product to a new customer while your sales pros sit in the back office drinking coffee.
If you have an IT person who fully understands and works constantly (or even primarily) on your sales efforts, great. You’ve got the best of both worlds. But often casting off your website as just a technical issue better left to someone who sits in front of a server control-panel day after day isn’t the best sales generating strategy. Make sure marketing is the driving force behind your website and you’ll make better use of it. Hiring a professional firm like Maudience would be a good start. Providing the best web design Iowa City.