I was a featured speaker at the the Southern Independent Booksellers Convention (SIBA) last week. After my presentation, and over the next several days,  I interacted with the participants and attempted to help them with their internet marketing. Each business owner had their own unique problems. But their was one over riding factor, one myth about websites, that I came to realize was causing them a huge problem.

The myth? That your website needs to look great. Aesthetic. Pretty.

Sorry folks, but that is just not the case. Its not how it looks but what it does.

Oh sure, you want a website to be well designed. But it also needs to be functional. It needs to be informative. It needs to establish a relationship with your visitor.

Here is a list of what the purpose of a website is from sevendesignavenue;

  • To establish an internet presence
  • As an extension of our current advertising (phone, newspapers, etc.)
  • To enhance our company’s professional image
  • To offer company information and give the public a favorable impression
  • To educate customers and potential customers
  • To provide better customer service
  • To increase public awareness of our company’s name, brand or identity
  • To strengthen our position in the marketplace
  • To strengthen brand identification
  • To develop a list of qualified prospects
  • To gain an increase in sales
  • To sell products directly over the Internet taking credit cards and checks (e-commerce)
  • To make product or service information available to current customers
  • To make product or service information available to distributors
  • To serve the needs of current and future clients
  • To explain our products and services
  • To encourage potential customers to contact us by phone, mail or e-mail
  • To consummate a sale
  • To bring in new clients or customers to our location
  • To compete in the global marketplace
  • To offer links to other relevant sites
  • To simply establish an Internet presence
  • To provide information and customer service
  • To offer a virtual community, a place where users can interact with each other

See look pretty anywhere on that list?

Define the purpose, the goal for your website.  Design your website to reach that goal. Don’t re-invent the car to do it.