There was once a time when all a business needed was to build a website and release it into the wild. It would then sit there, idle, for years to come. These became known as a brochure website.
These days, brochure websites aren’t enough. Static in nature, brochure sites offer little to customers beyond a pretty design. More often than not they were crammed with desired keywords, designed to catch the attention of search engines rather than people.
So what can we do to go beyond the brochure.
Provide Fresh, Helpful Content
While it’s true website aesthetics contributes to a business’s credibility, it’s only a small portion of the equation. If you don’t look for ways to interact with your customers in different, helpful ways, your investment will be lost.
Everyone hates to be sold, but everyone loves to buy.
Brochure websites are all about “Me Me Me”. After a while it can seem a bit desperate. That’s not to say you can’t talk about your business and offerings, but try to write your copy in a fashion that makes it seem like you are there to solve a problem, because you are.
If you didn’t read my previous post on website costs, you missed out on the best advice I was ever given. Here it is again:
Everyone claims that they are passionate about what they do. Almost no one can prove it. When is the last time you did something just to see if you could? With no intention of getting paid. Did you bother to document the experience? Employers want to see that you are internally motivated and require no direction needed to act.
This advice was given to me in regards to job hunting, but it applies to business as well.
One of the easiest ways to provide fresh content on a regular basis is through a blog. This is also a place you can really display your passion and expertise in your field. Starting a blog does take a bit of effort, but as I am finding out myself, it gets easier as you go along.
Topics you can blog can be about anything from common questions you receive to documenting your latest and greatest project. Articles don’t have to be long, just interesting. Not interested in writing? Videos are another option.
Calls to Action
Brochure websites are usually devoid of calls to action. CTAs are meant to encourage action, and can ask the user to:
- Contact Us
- Watch Video
- Sign Up For Emails
- View a Blog Post
Having these at multiple stages of the buying process increases the likelihood of quality leads
Install and Use Analytics
Websites should be ever evolving. But you shouldn’t make changes based on hunches. While there are paid services that offer analytics such as Moz Pro, Piwik and KISSmetrics, Google Analytics is free.
All of these services offer far more than just the number of visitors to your site. You will have access to geographic location as well as behavior metrics to study up on. My favorite feature is being able to see how users access sites, which pages do they spend time on, what pages they leave on, etc. With this information you can objectively determine if your latest changes are actually beneficial.
So, do I build brochure websites?
Even after reading this, you may be thinking all you need or want at this point in time is a brochure website. Perhaps you don’t have the time, energy or money to spend keeping your site fresh or keeping up with a blog. That’s perfectly understandable.
However, I would not build a website incapable of what I mentioned above. Whether you like it or not, you are going to have analytics installed, calls to action will be prominently displayed, and you will have the option to start a blog should you ever choose to.