More often than not, here’s what people say they want:
- I want a website.
- I want to be #1 on Google.
Then, when push comes to shove and we start discussing options, no one has any clue what they really need. Websites aren’t a “build it and they will come” system. You’d never print out a bunch of business cards and expect people to call you. It takes some time and effort.
But, one thing can help — you have to have clear content. The more Google can read, the better. The more your customers can access, the better. More often than not, we get charged with designing a website and we genuinely get excited about the project. But, no one has anything to say. We’re forced into building a shell and no one has the turtle.
The result is a site that looks nice, works well and doesn’t say a darn thing. It’s not that what is there is necessarily weak — it’s that the site doesn’t have any text beyond a few names and phone numbers. People don’t visit websites to see names and phone numbers. They visit websites to learn, to be engaged, to experience.
On two occasions this week I’ve been forced to ask, “Great. Now, what do you want to go on the website?” As much as we try, we’re not mind readers and we can’t know everything about every industry. Our clients range from fish and tackle to fine dining to law to automotive. It’s impossible for us to be experts on everything.
What we bring to the table is a list of things we’d like to see. If you’re running a restaurant, we can tell you that we’d like to see a menu, reviews, awards, press coverage and a ton of photos of the food. We can’t, however, get away with a nice looking website with nothing more than a PDF menu and a picture of a cheeseburger.
When website work begins, we aim to get the content nailed down first just in a simple Word document. Then, we know everything we’re dealing with. We can help, but if you want to write your content yourself without the help of a copywriter (which we can also help with), be prepared to think a little bit about what your customers need and want.