November 12, 2014
When I was a young girl, my Oma and Opa owned a bakery in Lilloette BC. Each summer my brother and I got to go and visit them for a week or so and oh, what a treat that was.
I remember standing in front of the bakery window, with wide-open eyes as I scoured all the tasty treats and hoped with all my might that Oma would share a morsel or two with her favorite granddaughter.
Of course, from a 10-year-old’s perspective, I didn’t look at their bakery as a business, but a place of awe and wonder where delectable, mouth-watering pies and pastries were miraculously created.
Miraculous my foot!
Looking back, I now can fully appreciate the very long hours they worked, the sacrifices they made, and the expertise they used in order to build a successful business.
They were also masterful at grabbing passer-by’s attention and drawing them in with the seasonal window dressings and the welcoming aroma that only a bakery can produce.
Using their storefront as the central focus of their business, they made sure that anyone who walked by would notice them, see that they were a world-class bakery and would not be able to resist the urge of entering to see what they had to offer.
Your website should be doing the same for your business.
It’s your virtual storefront… It’s what your prospective customers and clients go to in order to check you or your products/services out…
It’s standing in a virtual landscape amongst millions of other websites, visible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving everyone an immediate impression about you…
Why is this so important?
- Just like a store’s building façade, if your website looks just like everyone else’s (meaning a typical WordPress template or common theme that everyone else is using), then prospective customers will pass you by because nothing caught their attention and drew them in.
- Just like a storefront window, if your website does not showcase the products or services that you offer in a way that appeals to your target market, they will not stick around long enough to find out how great they are.
- Just as location is important for stores, so is your search engine positioning. If your website has not been properly optimized for search engines to find and rank you higher in the search results, then it becomes a ghost town because no-one will know it exists.
- Just like a continually changing window-dressing, a website needs to have updated content on a regular basis to consistently draw in new visitors. Updating your website on a regular basis not only tells your prospective clients that you are busy and on top of what needs to be done for your business, it also tells the search engines the same message and you are rewarded with higher rankings.
- Just like the welcoming aroma of a bakery, your website also needs to come across as inviting to your prospective customers. If they ‘enter’ but don’t feel the love, they will get the immediate impression you cannot provide a solution for their particular problem and they are “out the door” to seek out a competitor who can.
As you can see, it doesn’t matter that my Opa was a master baker and Oma created amazing puffed pastry, if they didn’t pay attention to their storefront and ensured people on the street knew they existed, they would never have been as successful.
And the same applies to you.
If you are in business, then treat your website as if it were a brick-and-mortar storefront. This is not the time to go cheap and throw up a template site and say it’s “good enough.”
What you think you are saving now will cost you far more in the long run by losing all the new customers you could have had but were turned off when they visited your site; by wasting all the hours you probably spent putting up your website yourself when you could have been out making sales instead; and by progressing at a snail’s pace, fighting for every sale you can get instead of making it an easy and effortless decision for your prospective clients to purchase from you.
It’s important to keep in mind that your website is not just a place to tell people about what you do. It’s an opportunity for you to provide an experience for your potential customers, laying out the red carpet for them and, just like the bakery, making it irresistible for them to enter because they already feel like they know, like and trust you just from that first impression they get.
As the founder, Susan Friesen brings a unique advantage to eVision Media clients by having earned a Bachelor in Business Administration degree with a concentration in Computer Information Systems through the Thompson River's University. Her experience in the Web development industry since 1999 has gained her much insight and knowledge in how to effectively brand a business and then translate that to a user-friendly, search-engine friendly, custom designed website. She is a graduate of the Vancouver Film School multi-media program and also earned several certificates in technology through the University of Victoria and Athabasca University. She won the 2003-2004 Governor General's Bronze Academic Award for achieving the highest academic standing in a diploma-level post secondary program. http://evisionmedia.ca