There's a lot of information out there on what you should or shouldn't do with your website and your web presence overall. Sometimes that info is good, but sometimes its out-of-date or just really wrong. We figured it might help to address some common website and web presence misconceptions. Below we've outlined four things you might think you need but probably don't --- and what you should do instead.
What you think you need: A website with a "cutting-edge design"
What you really need: A website that gets your message across successfully.
Lots of people think they need a website that's sleek, modern, different, and cutting edge. They want their site's design to scream, "This company is legit and clearly does things right. I think I should do business with them."
The problem with this approach is that if you haven't noticed, websites are becoming pretty homogenized lately. Everyone is used to mobile menus and streamlined layouts. There's been lots of testing to find out what design and layout is most effective --- and everyone started using it.
If you try to do something totally different with your design, you'll probably leave your visitors frustrated, confused, and heading straight for your competitor's easy-to-use, non-cutting edge site.
What's much more important than modern design is that all the necessary information is available, , complete, concise, accurate, and easy-to-find.
Craigslist is hugely successful and their website looks horrible. But it works.
This is not to say that you should have an ugly website that you can't stand looking at. You should be proud of it --- but don't think that your website's design will be any sort of key differentiator for you. Think about it. When's the last time you patronized a business because you loved the design of their site?
What you think you need: Daily posts on all of your social media channels.
What you really need: an effective social presence that aligns with your goals.
Many people have the incorrect idea that "I have to post on social media X times per day or else my strategy is totally useless."
On the contrary, you don't have to post every day, and you don't have to be on every channel. Instead, think about your target audience, your ideal customer, your buyer persona. Who is this person? What social channels might they use? Get into the mind of this person and get where they are (whether that means Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or anywhere else.)
As far as how often to post --- do what feels right. Don't think because your audience hasn't heard from you in three days that they'll forget about you. Also, don't try to sell on social media. That's the worst. Just document what you're doing and share lighthearted updates and tips and tricks. Pick one or two channels, and always focus on quality over quantity.
What you think you need: A video that explains who you are and what you do.
What you really need: Multiple videos that address the top problems your customers are having.
Everyone seems to want a nice company overview video. And these can be great, but they are really just the beginning.
Think bigger as far as what you want your video content to achieve. You can use video to:
drive traffic to your site
answer common questions
move visitors along the sales funnel
get your biggest fans (evangelists) to promote you
When thinking about what your video content should contain --- put yourself in your customer's shoes and ask, "What's in it for me?"
Talk less about your company and what you do. Talk more about the solutions and benefits that you deliver to your customers. This will make for better video content, and you'll be able to track your ROI much more effectively.
What you think you need: Lots of keywords and zip codes on your website so it ranks on Google.
What you really need: To understand and regularly use Google My Business.
Years ago, there were tons of tactics to get your website to show up higher on Google searches. These included putting hidden white text on white backgrounds, stuffing keywords onto pages, setting up links from shady directories, and listing out every single zip code in your state in the footer of every page.
These days, though, doing stuff like this will really penalize you. Think of it this way. The goal of a search engine is to deliver the best possible answer to the searcher's query. If you want to show up first, you need to be that best answer. Don't try to craft your website "for search engines," instead, craft it for people.
One of the best things you can do if you want to rank in search (especially local searches) is to dive headlong into Google My Business. Here's where you can add all the zip codes your heart desires. You can also add photos, answer customer questions, respond to reviews, update company info, and all sorts of other stuff that you should be doing.
So if you we're thinking, "My business really needs a website with a cutting-edge design, daily social media posts on multiple channels, a company overview video, and lots keywords and locations stuffed in," we encourage you to at least reevaluate. Doing so might make a world of difference.