Revamp your Website Postit Note ImageI had a meeting the other day with a small business owner who expressed concern that his website was not doing what it should be doing in terms of bringing in leads.

The reason? Because it was outdated – it was done over 3 years ago and just looks old. So he wanted me to have a look at re-vamping it. He’s had a web designer look at it and tell him it needs to be brought up to date.

We’re talkin’ Flash video slideshows and photos. Social media buttons. Bells and whistles. The works.

I asked him what was his budget, and he told me “around £1,500 – £2,000”.

Then I asked him what was his budget for ongoing marketing of his site, to which he said “Well, it’s already on all our letterheads, business cards, invoices and other stationery, so our customers know about it and we do get some traffic. The site just looks dated so we need to get it re-vamped”

Then it would really start working for his business – right?


Sorry, but if too few people are visiting your old out-dated website today, what makes you think that any more people are going to visit your fancy bells and whistles new one tomorrow?

And if when they get to your site they’re leaving and not coming back, then that’s a functionality problem, not a aesthetic one.

You see, how your website looks is only part of the picture.

Let me make an analogy, if I may.

A few years back I worked with a company which bought and sold retail commercial property. Now, one of the key factors in valuing this type of property is footfall – the number of people who walk past your shop window is likely to have a high correlation to the number of visitors to your shop, and subsequently the number of people who actually buy from you (all other things being equal).

So the busiest areas of the busiest streets (prime pitch) are more likely to survive and prosper (and pay higher rents)

With that in mind, which do you think is more likely to survive, an average-looking shop in the prime pitch in town, or a gorgeous shiny new shop down a quiet side street?

The difference is footfall, or in digital speak, traffic. Getting targeted eyeballs on your offering.

So back to my friend’s website – thinking that re-vamping his website will make it work better is a bit like the shop owner in the side street thinking that re-vamping his shop will make a difference to his business. It may make some difference initially (and if it’s so bad that it puts people off buying from you then it should be looked at), but it’s only part of the issue, and it’s unlikely to help long term.

So what did I tell my company owner friend from earlier?

I told him he just needed to adjust his thinking slightly, and take his budget and split it between:

  • adding a few tweaks to his website (not a total redesign / spanky new updated look, as his web designer contact had encouraged)
  • doing some work to get more people to visit it (targeted ones), and interact / engage with it when they do – this is important and often overlooked by SME”s who have what could be called a “brochure” site, i.e. it tells people what you do, and not much more. That’s a wasted opportunity, your site should do some work at gathering leads for you.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way knocking web designers – it’s more from the point of view of you as a small business owner understanding that it’s just a part of the puzzle.

Over the next few posts, I’ll go into more detail about what specifically I’m going to advise him to do to tweak his site.

I’ll try and stay away from tech-speak too.

Hope it helps

By Aidan Breslin – Google+

GM Facebook AdvertisingUnless you’ve been in a bubble for the past few weeks, you’ll be aware that Facebook recently went public with an IPO.

You may (or may not) also be aware that a few days before said stock market launch, General Motors cancelled their $10 million advertising budget with Facebook.

Kinda begs the question – “Do they know something we don’t?”

Well, yes and no.

The reason they cancelled was, I’m certain, because Facebook advertising is not good at selling commodity items such as cars.

Let’s look at it a bit more: – think of the mindset of going to Google to search for something. You know what it is you’re looking for, you type it in, and Google produces all the relevant information you could possibly want about your chosen topic / product / service / research, etc. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for “plumbers in Belfast”, “cheapest deals on iPad 3” or you want to know “why does ice float?”, you want to know something, and Google will deliver you an answer.

In other words, at that moment, you’ve got an itch, and Google will help scratch it for you.

Now consider your average Facebook user – in broad terms they’re there to interact with friends, catch up on what’s happening in their peer group, and generally engage with other users – in other words, they don’t have a specific reason for being there (in fact, they’re probably there to kill some time!), and they’re certainly not there to be sold to.

And this is an important difference – to give an analogy it’s like the difference between chatting with friends in your local coffee shop and looking for something in the Yellow Pages.

At the coffee shop, it’s social. With the Yellow Pages, it’s focused on an outcome and, well, itch-scratching!

Anyway, back to General Motors and their Facebook ad-slap.

I’m not saying Facebook is not a good advertising platform, but it does depend on your company / brand. There are certain types of company / brand / product which suit better for Facebook advertising. For example, if you can build a personality around it; if your business is based around events, travel, entertainment, or any kind of user experience; if your product is customised, personalised, or other has any other unique selling point; then you may have a chance with Facebook advertising.

But I believe the objective for Facebook (and FB advertising in particular) should not be the sale, but to attract and engage with a prospective customer.

Give them a reason to connect with your business, build trust and develop a relationship with them, and sell to them later.

By Aidan Breslin – Google+

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