This most famous line from Dickens' novel, Oliver Twist, is not unfamiliar to many a website designer. It's a line that is most similar to the many and varied reasons given for wanting a new website. So, when it comes to ordering a new website, why do business owners end up asking for trouble instead of asking for business?
More is a word we get to hear a lot - mostly we hear the word as people in business describe what they want their website to offer or generate. They want: more visitors; more visibility; more clicks - essentially, everyone is saying that what they really want is more business.
Business owners want newer and better websites and, more often than not, have been seduced by the promise of a website that makes the phone ring off the hook, a website that makes their inbox bulge and a website that fills their order books as a direct consequence of more search engine visibility, more clickthroughs, more website traffic and more online conversions.
At first glance, Oliver Twist stands-up as a metaphor for hungry business owners asking for more business; however, look a little deeper and the similarity soon stops. Poor little Oliver Twist didn't have the luxury of choice nor the complexity of choice modern day business owners face - Oliver's requirement was simple; all he wanted was more gruel. All business owners want is more business - but what kind of business do they want?
Go on, try it for yourself - it's not as easy as it sounds. I use the
what kind of tool a great deal with Customers; the question, when repeatedly asked, is a brutal yet utterly effective tool that breaks a business proposition down into bite-size chunks. Once the kind of business that a company wants is broken down into the smallest possible chunks then the descriptions we are left with are not only the building blocks for a hit website but also form an SEO strategy.
These small business descriptions will be made up of keywords. If you've thought long, hard and deep enough about the kind of business you're asking for more of, then you're perfectly placed to compare the keywords you use to the keywords your Customers would use to describe what they want from your business. When there's a match, write one web page for each of these individual business descriptions and more business will be yours.
More search engine visibility, more traffic and more clicks come from making sure that your website is a rich source of descriptions of the kind of business you want; when it comes to SEO, describing the kind of business you want is done using the words your customers use. You'll get more business by writing about buying instead of selling, by writing about benefits instead of features and by writing about the use case instead of the manufacturing process.
This effective SEO strategy is capable of generating large websites with many pages which are able to ask for more business and deliver against the business objective that the website was originally tasked with achieving. Recently, we've encountered a handful of clients who (when surveying their website of many pages, built to ask for more business) have requested a cull upon the page count, simply because
the website's too big and I just want it to be simpler.
The trouble with this trend that we've observed and noted here is that by minimising the page count, a website's search engine visibility is also being diminished as a direct result of the page cull. A hit website articulates a business proposition. Very few companies would describe their business as being simple - how would you describe your business?
You want more business but you don't know what kind of business to ask for. You want a simple website so you're not asking for much.
You're not asking for business, you're asking for trouble.