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What's a Website For?

10th March 2016
Frog pointing at a laptop

What's a website for?

A common answer to this question, and a wrong one, is promotion. Your website doesn't promote your business. Think of a website like a shop sign in a busy city. The city has lots of potential customers who would love your products but they don't know you exist and unless they spot your sign they won't come into your store. There are also lots of other shop signs all vying for their attention, so the chances of them finding yours aren't great.

A website has two purposes. The first is to convey information. What are your products or services? Where are you? What are your opening times? What is your cause? Why should people support you? And so on.

The second purpose is to inspire some sort of action from your visitors. If you are a business then that action might be giving you a call, visiting your shop, subscribing to a mail list, following you on Twitter, making a purchase etc. For charities the action might be signing up for a newsletter, registering for a fundraising event, or making a donation.

Neither purpose can be fulfilled, however, if people don't know that you exist. Your website may be the primary source of information about your enterprise, but it isn't actively shouting about your services or your cause to passers by and there's a lot of competition out there. Getting people's attention, informing them about your brand, and encouraging them to find out more, all falls to your marketer, not your website.

That said, there are a few things that can be done to make your website stand out. One such example is Search engine optimisation, which can boost your position in organic search results. Search engines can't tell people about you if they can't read your website so make sure they can or you might miss opportunities to gain new customers.