Your Website is the Anchor Leg
The very first website was put back online in April to commemorate the Web's 20th birthday. Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web in 1989 at CERN, the European nuclear research and particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. The Web became public in August 1991 while the technology was made available on a royalty-free basis in April 1993. Since that time, the world Internet user population has grown from 361 Million in the year 2000 to 2.4 Billion in 2012.
When companies first started publishing websites, they were simply online versions of brochures, static and non-interactive-read only. See for yourself by visiting The Internet Archive, WayBack Machine, to view many of these early stage websites including your company website and your competitors'.
In 2004, the term Web 2.0 was popularized referring to websites that extend beyond static, read only content to allow for interaction and collaboration; think social media, customer reviews and sharing/commenting. While an ever growing set of tools have helped web developers build more dynamic and interactive websites-like Java, Ruby, Ajax, and more recently HTML5 and CSS3.
Yet, many of the 146 Million websites on the Internet are stuck in the last century! When is it time to redevelop and refresh your company website? Here are some signals that the time is now:
Flash-based websites were novel before today's Web visitor interactivity was even possible. They served the purpose of adding a visual interest to read only websites. Yet, they sorely lack usability and are slow. More importantly, they are not search engine friendly and can't be optimized for organic search. Flash-based website are missing organic search traffic from your prospects.
Calls To Action
When your website is not generating leads, prospect inquiries or any visitor feedback it is missing its reason for existence. That is like a direct mailer missing a call back number or return address. "If you don't ask, you don't get," equally applies to website conversions.
Calls to action should be placed prominently on each page (especially the home page), repeated and varied. Examples include 'request a demo', 'ask a question', 'download', 'watch video', 'register for webinar'.
Text is still the main form of content on the Web despite the popularity and near ubiquity of video and digital media. Web visitors are searching for content that answers their questions, helps them complete a task, solves their problem or extends their knowledge on what they are searching.
However, this comes with a few caveats: Web users don't read, they scan; they want content fast; and they want current and relevant content. Heavy and wordy (and outdated) copy will not be read and will drive your visitors away (exit sign). The place for longer form copy is not on your web pages-locate content rich information in your blog, white papers, articles and eBooks (ideal for 'download' calls to action).
Most entrepreneurs and CEOs are obsessed about the competition. Every business can identify 2 to 5 primary competitors who they compete with for the same prospects, influencers and web visitors/searchers. Your audience is googling and visiting your competitors' websites-and hopefully yours.
Want to know what your competition is doing to win business? Visit and review their websites on a regular basis to uncover first mover advantages, ideas to improve your website, and learn where they are missing the mark-and where yours outshines (or could) the competition.
If your website is lagging and not keeping up with the competition you are giving them a leg up. Your website is the anchor leg in the race to win customers in the 21st century.