The problem with a website today

The year is 2020 and everyone knows what a website is by now. Most people use certain websites on a daily basis without even knowing it’s a website. Even Google is just a website. A very powerful website, but a website none the less.

Back in the 90’s when people actually started using the internet, having a website probably made you one of the first companies in your industry to ever have one. It was all so new and there was almost no competition. Simply having the website and being there relatively early was all the power some needed. Take Google for example. They were not 1st. But they were the first to make it really easy for people to find websites, and this made them the gateway to the internet for nearly everyone using the internet today.

The moment they became the powerhouse they are now so well known for everyone was at their mercy and everyone who had a website suddenly had a new problem. How do I do what Google did? How do I get my website to be the first that people go to (after they go to Google of course)?

In the last 10 years in the industry it has become apparent to me that the general public still don’t quite understand what a website is and how this whole game works. I bet this happens with any new entrepreneur who is looking to let us say, open a store. I bet a lot of attention will go into, picking a location, making the shop look amazing, making sure there is stock, staff, plastic bags etc. and I am also willing to bet that the marketing of that shop is probably the last thing that is on their mind and sometimes it never even crosses their minds.

Well I’m telling you that at least 80% of people that I speak to about building their websites, had no idea how they were going to market it once it was completed. They had done no research, had no idea of the costs and did not even understand what a Google ad is.

They did however fixate very heavily on the perfection of their website! They would spend weeks and months changing, tweaking, re-changing again and being completely indecisive about their website, right to the point where we would be driven almost mad. If you have ever built a website with a designer I am sure that it probably took 3x longer than you had thought, and if the designer was not at fault then I bet that if you really thought about it, you would realise that you spent a lot of time asking for changes and tweaking it probably a lot more than you should have. Am I right?

This is a very interesting phenomenon that I have observed and it puzzled me for the longest time until I realised what had happened.

The simplicity of the problem

Most people are simply not educated on marketing and what marketing is. And if you break it down into it’s simplicity even further, people understand what they can perceive and what is real to them. In other words, what they can see, smell, taste & touch.

People know what a shop looks like. They walk around in them every weekend. People know what a website looks like. They use them every day. What is not so easy to notice are the invisible lines that connect things together and which lead people into making their daily decisions. People rarely ponder about how they found out about something. Ask anyone who has ever told you some rumour, “where did you hear that?” and note their reaction. 4 out of 5 will not immediately be able to tell you the source. And then even if the source was known, they surely would not be able to trace it back further beyond the point of where they heard it from very easily. This is because people pay attention to what is being communicated, but very rarely to how or where it is communicated from.

In the old fashioned sense of marketing, people think about flyers, business cards, billboards, TV and radio ads. They know these things because they have seen or heard them around. But on the internet, what is essentially the same as a billboard ad has been reduced to look practically like every other piece of content you are used to seeing on Google or Facebook. I’m astonished at how many people I talk to who didn’t even know the first 3 results on Google are usually ads. The word “ad” on them is so small, that some don’t even notice. On Facebook it’s much of the same. The ads look like posts. The posts look like ads. So internet marketing has become even less real to people because of this.

The economic situation is getting worse

OK so by now I am sure you will agree with me that internet marketing is important for the success of your website, but just think for a moment what the internet will be like in 10 years form now. I assure you that the following issues will be even more apparent than they are now:

  1. there will be more competition
  2. it will be 10x harder to be on the first page of Google
  3. it will cost 2-3x more for the same online ads
  4. inflation would have driven up costs for everything as well
  5. there will be even more economic turmoil and political uncertainty
  6. ads will look more and more like “organic” content and be even less distinguishable

What is the solution then?

In working out the solution to any problem, a good way to start is to work it out backwards from the final product you want to achieve.

So if the problem is
1. that people are focussing on the wrong thing (their website) and
2. putting all their attention into this and
3. then putting their attention onto their marketing last,
4. leaving them with not enough budget for marketing or just not knowing what to do

Then working backwards we could handle the problem like this:

  1. Find out how online marketing works
  2. Find out how much online marketing costs
  3. Find out how to implement it or find someone who does
  4. Plan out how you will market your website
  5. Now you can build the website
  6. And finally you can launch your marketing campaigns and sell your product or service

There are of course many other steps you could add when starting a business, but this assumes you actually have done some research to find out if people need and want your product or service and hopefully you have surveyed them to find out what to market to them in terms of messaging.

It is because of this fact that people don’t work backwards from their problems that they invariably come to us or a company like us and all we have to do, is to give them the correct sequence of these parts and we can easily help them make a success of their venture. 1. to 6. is our bread and butter. But most of the time point 5. is all that a new customer has in place and looking at this you can now hopefully see that there were a few omitted steps before that point, which can easily mean that their site is not set up to help their marketing efforts particularly.

I hope this was useful to you and if you need any help, please feel free to mail us at info@webfanatix.co.za. We are happy to help with any questions about your website or your online marketing.

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