Do we still really need websites? 5 considerations to help guide your digital strategy

In our recent blog we looked at whether we still need digital marketing. Having concluded that digital IS marketing, we now move on to ask: then, do we still really need websites?
We thought that Spring had arrived, didn’t we? Presumably followed by an endless summer. It all looks promising at first, but we’ve seen it all before. Flattering to deceive.
It’s a bit like when you had your first bike. A top brand of course, all shiny new paint and gleaming chrome – riding around showing it off to the other kids. They admired it jealously: ‘ooh you must be special.’ Your smiling, knowing silence confirms the fact.
That was until one smart Alec smugly pointed out that some of the ‘chrome’ seemed to be peeling off and that ‘Raleigh’ is not spelt ‘Ralley’. Oh dear, so not the real thing at all. A cheap copy, flattering to deceive. You realised it would quickly fall apart – as did your faith in your parents.
You had tried endlessly to persuade them to buy the branded bike, but they couldn’t see the importance. They could afford that couples break in Lanzarote leaving you with your grumpy grandparents, but when it came to important things, like bikes, the horrible realisation hits you: your parents were in fact, cheapskates.

Do we still really need websites?

This brings us to arguments around the subject of websites. Once seen as the kingpin of all things digital, the centre piece of digital marketing strategy, but now viewed sometimes as an area where you can cut corners and make some savings. Like your stingy parents and that rubbish bike
Here’s the thought process:
Don’t spend on a website – It doesn’t need to last long, soon websites will be obsolete; mobile is taking over; social media rules the roost. No-one needs a website anymore, just knock up a Facebook page – it only takes 10 minutes, does the same job, produces the same effect.
Your company are happy to send people to that cool marketing seminar; pay for those tacky trade shows handouts; redesign the logo – again. But pay for a decent website? Forget it.

Some digital tools flatter to deceive

The problem is that digital tools can flatter to deceive if not used appropriately. The chrome can quickly peel off. They look good at first, but quickly become stale and highlight your digital under-spend. Especially when a competitor pulls up on a brand-new racing bike of a website.
You can’t adapt 3rd part sites or social platforms. You can’t shape them and you can’t redesign them. The buttons are where they are, even if it doesn’t make sense. They load the speed they load and there’s nothing you can do about it.
So here are our 5 points to consider when asking, do we still really need websites?

1. Websites reflect your brand.

Your website is your brand – it will reflect what you are. If you claim to be creative, but your website is bland, then you have sent clear message to the contrary. Your website is you. Your design, your font, your colour-scheme, your choices – everywhere. It reflects you, not a corporate media giant that sets the buttons in annoying places and bombards you with sales features every time you click anywhere.

2. Websites allows you to collect customer data

A website allows you to track movement of your visitors. Which platforms they come from, what they are searching for and where they live. It can tell you what pages interest them and how long they spend on each page. This data will let you refine your marketing spend, by focusing your strategy in response to the data.

3. Websites facilitate your SEO efforts

The best SEO comes from you and your site, rather than relying on social media accounts. To get the best SEO results, you need to upload and update searchable content, but some 3rd party sites won’t allow you to do this the way you need to. With your own site, you control how search engines find you and can adapt your landing page to suit your own needs.

4. Websites guide your customer search

Put things where you want, then change it around. If you want people to start following your blog, then place it in a prominent place on your home page and automate a ‘follow my blog’ email invitation.

5. Websites can deliver great first impressions

Using 3rd party platforms and relying on a Facebook page just makes you look small time. Even if you are small, you still don’t want to look amateurish. First impressions count.

So, do we still really need websites?

To quote our last blog on refreshing your digital output: “Remember that digital marketing is just, well – marketing”.
The point we were making is that to gain the best results, we need to integrate digital with sales and marketing activity.
But add to that: if you just pick one digital tool, or social media channel as the focus of your efforts, the chrome will start peeling pretty quickly.
If you ask yourself, do we need marketing? Yes. So, do we need digital? Yes. So do we need a website? Yes you do.

What next for your website?

Once you’ve realised you still need a great web-presence and spent money on achieving this, remember that you now need to keep it in working order. Clean old data up, keep your links fresh, update and add new written and visual content. Upload a new, relevant, content filled blog at least once every 2-3 weeks. If you do this, you will reap the SEO benefits.
And if you ever need to buy a child a bike, go second hand and clean it up if you need to, but like spending on your website – just don’t be a cheapskate…

If you want to re-evaluate your web presence, need a new website, or a re-design, that’s what we’re here for! Get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

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