The Website as a Business Resume
By Roy Chomko, Adage Technologies
To say your business’s website is important is nothing new to most smart owners. But as technology increasingly allows potential customers to access your website on the go, your online presence is becoming increasingly essential to success. With the growth of smart phones and tablet PCs, consumers now have the ability to compare you and a competitor almost immediately. This means an engaging website is quickly becoming your most useful sales tool. Essentially, your website is your resume. And just like your resume, there are some key tips you should be aware of in order to stand out.
Just like potential employers, you have a short window of opportunity while your potential customers are looking at your web site. They will decide if they want to hear more about your business based on only a few pages of content. Today’s websites are more than just a place to list your business’ name and address. They need to interact with a customer before he or she even reaches out to you. They need to get you that lead, that interview. Here’s how to do just that:
• Send the right message: A good resume needs to show employers that you are the right fit for their company. A website must do the same thing, giving potential customers or clients confidence that your business can solve their problem. To make sure this happens, first take a step back and decide what your company messaging will be. Your logo, branding, content and design should all work together to create an impressive and engaging user experience.
• Stick to the point: Sometimes web designers get too caught up in extravagant design elements, causing your message to get lost in the noise. Be straightforward as to what you do and why you are the most qualified. Remember, it doesn’t matter if your website has the most entertaining features, only that your customer understands the message. Used correctly, cool features can be incorporated but you should weigh the value of doing so against getting to the point. Draw customers in but don’t overload them.
• Use a content management system (CMS): No one would ever write one resume and never make changes. So why do some businesses choose websites that can’t be upgraded or edited easily? Without a CMS, businesses are held hostage by developers charging for constant minor changes. Changes are at the mercy of others and can even add costs. With a proven CMS, managers themselves can make quick changes to consistently keep customers up to date as the market changes.
• Keep content current: Of course just because you have the ability to make changes, doesn’t always mean you will. It’s important, however, that you make periodic updates to your site. Not only does it give you a way to update your customers on recent happenings with your company and upcoming events, it also helps position yourself as an expert in the field. Features like blogs, articles or news sections spur a more casual conversation with customers, allowing you to consistently demonstrate your knowledge of the field.
• Provide easy navigation: Resumes are meant to highlight key points like your past experience, education and contact information. Employers should be able to find this information quickly and easily. The same goes for a website. Consistent navigation, naming, themes and colors help users understand where they are on your site and how they got there. Potential customers will want to find basic pages like “about us” or “contact us.” Make sure this type of information is up front. If it’s hidden on inside pages, customers will simply move on to someone else’s website.
• Be mobile friendly: This is a more recent initiative but one that is becoming increasingly important. With more and more customers able to check your website from a mobile device, you need to make sure your website can adapt. It only takes a few seconds for a potential customer to hear about your business, look up the website on their phone, see that it is not mobile compatible and move on. Converting to a mobile friendly site can be easy and cost-effective, so begin a conversation with a developer today.
Remember, like employers sifting through a stack of resumes, looking for a reason to eliminate a potential candidates, buyers are doing the same thing. Don’t let your dated and poorly structured web site be the reason the final decision maker decide to skip over your company. Just like your resume, if your website isn’t doing its job, consider making some improvements. The tips above are a good start. It may only take a few small tweaks to change your website from a few boring pages to an engaging sales tool. Whether you are starting a brand new website or simply upgrading your current one, find an experience development partner to get you started on changes today.
About the Author: Roy Chomko co-founded Adage Technologies in 2001, combining a passion for technology and the desire to build a company focused on driving business value through the web. As President, Roy's energy and customer centric approach have helped to grow Adage to a well respected web and software development firm. Roy has over 20 years of experience in technology sales, consulting, and development. Prior to founding Adage, Roy was a principle of a Cisco VAR and a web development firm in the late 1990s. Roy has also held business development positions with Wolfram Research and GE Capital.