One of the common thoughts from small businesses is, “If I have a website, why should I spend money to get a new one?” If a website was something that simply was checked off on a to-do list, then the thought would be correct; however, it’s more complex than that. Let’s delve into what makes a website different from traditional marketing which has stood the test of time.
Just because you have it, doesn’t mean it’s good.
For a new perspective on the topic, let’s view the average brick-and-mortar store. Keeping a relatively modern appearance of the storefront coupled with contemporary advertisements will allow most small businesses to garner traffic without fret. Some businesses can get away with the niche market of being “old-fashioned”, but this is reserved generally for businesses who market strictly towards older products and timeframes. With these older stores, you can take a building and aesthetically recreate the look and feel of an era (with modern technological implementations such as plumbing and checkstands) without destroying the functionality of the store. Alas, when it comes to websites, the concept of “retro” doesn’t apply.
There has been exponential evolution in websites from the early days of the internet up until now. Much of the functionality of older websites is obsolete, broken, or even entirely phased out of use, and cannot be operated by modern web browsers. Many of these old websites had archaic designs beyond the aesthetics of older times, to the point that their functionality is the website equivalent of keeping a bald tire on your car in the rain.
Websites using the “Flash” plugins are one of the most common and frustrating examples of why there’s not only a “should update” but a “MUST update” when it comes to websites. Flash was used for most of the early 2000’s as it was the first streamlined way for people to engage with animated features on their websites, as many of the modern tools used hadn’t been developed yet. While Flash was a tool which laid the foundation for better tools to be created, it certainly hasn’t aged well. It’s riddled with performance issues, and even worse, security issues. The issues are so bad, that Adobe will have entirely retired Flash by the end of 2020. Imagine if your storefront had a cash register which sometimes doesn’t work, and allows random people to simply reach in and grab a printout of the credit card numbers of your customers! How would you feel about shopping at a store with those issues?
A website is only good when it’s attractive and functional.
“But my website doesn’t employ Flash or other security risks!” you might say. Old ideas such as design don’t always translate well into modern times, especially when they cause their customers to need to spend more time figuring out how to shop, than _____ actually shopping. Using simple HTML builds, without dynamic sizing or wonky color schemes, is a common occurrence in websites which haven’t yet been updated. The site will appear boring, unimaginative, or will simply scare the customer away almost immediately.
Imagine trying to decide between a couple local BMW dealerships. You arrive at the first one, which is crisp, clean, modern, easy to navigate, and provides answers to all of the questions you desire. As a good shopper, you decide to go examine the competition to see if you can get a better deal. When you arrive at the second location, however, it only takes one look for you to turn away and go back to the first shop. The walls are crumbling in places, the floor is missing tiles, it reeks of ammonia, and half of the showroom has empty platforms where the cars were supposed to be. It’s clear to anyone that the first shop deserves their business, while the second shop’s owner scratches their head wondering why there’s no point of sale.
Show the same pride in your website as you do your company.
Remember that ultimately your website is the digital showroom for your company. The same sense of pride should be felt when you open your website, as you would opening the doors to your physical storefront. Stating that you’ve met the minimum of simply “having a website (showroom)” is equally as unacceptable to customers online, as it is to those who show up in person to a specific location. Taking care of your digital showroom is simultaneously attractive and shows that the owners actually care about the product and customers they’re selling it to.