If You Build It, Will They Come?
Gone are the days that someone calls an agency and wants to finally build a website for their business. For the most part, everyone has one. Depending how savvy the company is, they are either on Web 2.0 or higher of their own digital presence. We started work in web development many years ago, and it is nice to no longer convince a company how important a web presence is. However, there is still a huge misconception as to just how powerful a website can be. Just building a new website doesn’t mean people will find your website. Today, competition is fierce online. At Leopard Digital, we seriously struggle when someone wants us to build a new website but they do not want to spend any money or social media effort to drive traffic to it. There is a sense that so many people are searching online, that if they build it, they will come. This is not the case.
Outside of digital marketing, people will only find your website in one of 3 ways:
1. They type your URL in the address bar – these are your existing customers
2. They type your business name in the search bar – these are customers or referrals
3. They type your type of business (or products) in the search bar – this is the open market
In the case of someone finding you in example 1 or 2, having an updated site is still important. It validates that they are doing business with a company who stays current, relevant information is all that is found versus dated content, and the user experience should be better since current development matches current technology requirements such as the latest mobile devices. So, it is definitely worth keeping your site regularly updated just like maintenance in a home. If you do a little each year, then you shouldn’t have a tear-down on your hands. But, if you launch it and forget it about, in 5 years, it is most likely a big do-over!
Example 3 above is by and large why people tend to come to us for a new website. They think if their site is updated with nice current design, then they would attract more customers. I am not sure how this thinking is so widely believed, but this is where a digital marketer at any level becomes necessary for your business. This is where art and science merge. See, with websites, there are two experiences simultaneously happening. First, there is the front-end. This is what people see when they land on your site. Your navigation, design, content, forms, downloads, etc. Second, there is the back-end. This is what search engines and digital tools see when someone searches for your products or navigates through your website. The back-end is the busy part because it collects cookies, stores data, and tells Google, “hey, hey, pick me!” But the back-end is not very pretty at all. Like a blind date, you want to make a good first impression. If you haven’t washed your hair in a week and your clothes are a wrinkled mess, it may take a bit for your date to finally learn how smart you really are! In person, someone may give you the time to explain who you are and why you’re great. But, on a web page, forget about it! You have about 2.5 seconds to make that happen. And, if people don’t like your front-end enough to stay and learn all about you, then your back-end will never get to collect the data needed to learn why they tried dating you (errrr, visited you!) in the first place.
Therefore, the short answer is no. If you build it, that does not mean they will come. These are the efforts that drive traffic to your website:
1. Online advertising
2. Content optimization
3. Social media
4. Referrals from other websites
Getting traffic to your website is a nurturing business. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does need to be consistent. So, take the time to write key business goals for what you expect from your website and be prepared to spend the time building it according to the success you want. Then connect with us, we’d love to help you #FindYourSpot!