When should you get a website?
In the rural market, such as here in Herefordshire, many businesses are all doing the same thing- growing cherries, raising beef cattle, milking twice a day, the list is endless. So what can our client do to show his customers that he is head and shoulders above his competition? Is it time for a new website to showcase his wares?
The most important conversation I have with my clients is to establish whether their products are up to scratch. I can design you a shiny new website with all the bells and whistles your heart desires, but what I (or any other web designer worth their salt) won't do is make false claims about what you're doing, how you do it and what the customer will get out of it.
We've all experienced the disappointment of purchasing something online only to stare bewildered at the postman who bears a piece of tat that looked nothing like it's photographs, doesn't match its product description and simply isn't worth your hard-earned. You instantly resent the company, take time out of your day to complain and return, probably never shop their again and put everyone you know off shopping there. So now, you (the business owner) are out of pocket for the website and you're bleeding money because everyones returning your products and all your new custom has disappeared. Nightmare. The lesson? Until your products are of a good enough value that you would be happy if they arrived on your own doorstep, you're not ready for a website.
If you're reading this and thinking, 'I'd love it if my product were given to me as a gift'- then it's time. You need to find a designer and get your website underway pronto! A good website which celebrates what you are all about will put you miles ahead of the competition. Put yourself in the customers shoes- if you had to choose between Shop A, which has a website that belongs in a museum, with blurry photographs and outdated information, and Shop B, which has a new, clean, visually interesting but not word-heavy website- which would you choose? I think you, like the rest of the world, has just walked into Shop B with money in your pocket.
Some of my favourite clients have been stuck in the middling part of their business plan- they've got a name, a logo and their products are almost there- but no online presence. This is a great time to speak to a Website Designer about getting a website live and kicking, with a view to adding in an e-commerce side in the future. A good designer will get excited about the direction you're going in- but won't push you too hard to do something you're not ready for.
Find someone who gets your vision and within no time at all your site traffic will be booming, your customers will be following your every move, and the only products getting returned will be your competitors.