Friday, June 13, 2008

Why Bother Having A Website?

I just went to a very cute, very flash-y, very pretty website -

Now as cute, flashy and pretty as it is - it’s about 3% away from being completely and utterly useless.

Now as I said, the company has a cute website. Please don’t get me wrong I like cute and visually appealing websites. The company sell shoes. I really like shoes. Me visiting this website should be a match made in heaven.

But it’s not.

I can see pictures of the I Love Billy shoes but…
• I can’t easily scroll through the shoes or see them all at once (I have to click on a flying shoe each time I want to see one more)
• I can’t find out how much they are
• I can’t buy them
• I can’t find out where to buy them (where are they stocked, is there a store in my state??)

What I can do is email them or register my details. But I’m not going to do this. I came to their website looking for information. In fact I came to their website looking for information on how to give them my money! They haven’t provided what I need, no money for them today from me.

Their website says “wearing I Love Billy will make you feel and look glamorous” – maybe it will – but the site doesn’t get me any darn closer to wearing I Love Billy!

When designing their site I wonder if they sat down and thought about who would be coming to it.

Who could be coming to your website?

If a potential customer / wholesaler / client comes to your site can they:
• Find out information about your product / service
• Can they find out how to buy (ie: on your site, or where offline)
• Is it worth you having a frequently asked questions section?

If the media were to come to your site wanting to do an interview with you could they:
• Get the low down on your business?
• Easily find out how to get in contact with you?

If your competitor were coming to your site would they:
• Be blown away by it?

10 minute task to see if your website is effective:

1. Write down a list of everyone who might come to your website:
Clients, customer, wholesalers, suppliers, people with a complaint, media, competitors, bloggers, journos, people inspired by your story…

2. Next to each one of those types answer the question “What do they want from my website when they visit?”

3. Figure out what you need to do to fill the gaps.

Bear in mind, people may come to your website wanting to buy your product however at this stage online retailing may not be viable or even possible for you. That’s ok. You don’t have to fulfil every desire of every client. Just give them an alternative. Share the information. Tell them where they can buy from, make it easy.

And just so that we end on a positive note, here’s a few websites I think I Love Billy could take a leaf out the online pages of… - it’s fun, it’s easy to buy (a little too easy), you can find offline locations easily and there’s always some news of interest (like the recent store opening in the States). What would you expect from a line started up by a guy with no store front – Peter and more recently the Just Group have got it covered. - an up and coming store in my home state of Tassie. They don’t have online retailing, but it’s exceptionally easy to find out how to get to them and they have lots of nice little points of interest. A great example of a useful website on a small budget. - I found this addictive place because they’re savvy enough to put online coupon codes at: (which is FREE) - clever clever. You only have to see the rating for Retail Me Not to know that everyone loves a bargain. - just found this today, and it completely rocks.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments


(Putting on my web developer hat) You are right on the money with your 10 minute task idea.

Most people are not aware of all the free tips (such as this post) which are available to business owners on the net and would normally end up paying thousands for "professional" consultants.

Peter - many thanks, glad you enjoyed!

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