Are websites in decline?
TheINsiders, webpages, branding, advertising, marketing, PR

Are websites in decline?

Is the age of the website nearing its end? Have websites been overthrown by social media?

In a digital age overrun with social media platforms, mobile apps, and online advertising, is the standard website of less value to a company than it once was?

Do brand websites still matter?

Yes, we’ve said it once, we’ve said it twice, and we’ll say it again until only beautiful, up-to-date websites exist. Every business, whether big or small, should have a healthy, good-looking, easy to access and easy to use, brand website. In fact, despite the emergence of multiple social media networks, apps and so on and so forth, websites might be more important than they were before.

Once the rush to claim domain names was replaced by the need to be a part of countless social media platforms, from a corporate standpoint, some may have lost sight of what a website is actually for.

The web is there to be used as a business tool and a website should be the online base of any company. All other forms of online digital marketing can stem from your website. All of these other forms, whether pages on social media networks, or advertising space should all lead back to a website. This website is a space for you to personalise your brand and connect with your audience. Unlike a company page or profile that is part of another company’s platform, a website is your company’s very own platform with the potential to reach an unlimited audience.

What is a website other than an opportunity?

The purpose of a website vs. other platforms

Too many business, in particular small businesses, have no online presence at all, except for perhaps a dead social media profile with little other information than their address, often incomplete. Contact information is essential and a website is a perfect place to display this along with other content, in a visually dynamic and engaging way.

The most important function of a website is to give a user (a potential client, customer or referrer) clear accessibility. Accessibility to where you can be found, accessibility to what you do and accessibility to your success stories, whether these are in the form of links, case studies, or customer quotes.

It is somewhere to display your logo, to exhibit the company’s personality, and even the values and aims that your company’s very existence is founded upon. If a website does not fulfil all of these functions, then it is not fully serving its purpose and is little more than a blank letter headed with a company logo.

When is a website a bad thing for business?

Websites are not only about flashy eye-catching designs but also about maintenance. Any website can have an adverse impact on consumers if it has not been updated or maintained, whether in terms of design or content. Imagine a gardener with a wild, overgrown garden. If a gardener lets their own garden run into the ground then what does it say about them? An old website is like an out of control, unkempt garden. It is not a question of aesthetics, simply a show that the gardener just doesn’t care, whether there are legitimate reasons behind his neglect of the garden or not. In this case it is the appearance that matters. And appearance and content go hand-in-hand in this context.

If blog entries or news sections or any other information is out of date, this reflects badly on a company and its ability to uphold their image as active, organised and connected to their field of business. If a company doesn’t have time to care for its own website, how is a client supposed to have any confidence that it will have time to invest in their needs?

As with a garden, without a little attention and care, a website can give a negative first impression. And whether we like it or not, we all know how quick we are to judge based on appearance and how important those first impressions are. You can easily overcome this risk by making sure that your website is well-maintained. It will not guarantee the success of your business but it will at the very least give it a solid online foundation from which to flourish.

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