Time for a Web Wash?

by: Penny Archer

Those of you in the business of e-commerce, internet marketing or website building will understand the importance of first impressions of a landing or home page of a website.

Unfortunately, I found out the hard way and yes, I was stupid as I certainly should have known better, given my years of experience in marketing. The message really hit home on Saturday morning when a voice on the other end of the phone said “…and what exactly does your company do, I have been to your website but I couldn’t quite understand it.”

Oh dear, my little heart sunk about as low as it can go (well, over a website tragedy that is) and I vowed to remedy the situation first thing Monday morning. As it happened, I couldn’t live with myself by leaving the web-makeover till Monday, so Sunday morning I fired up the laptop and tried to put myself in the seat of a first time visitor to http://www.smartdames.com. After two minutes I understood exactly what this well intentioned soul destroyer was alluding to and after five I had decided to throw away half of the content on the site.

But first things first, priorities reminded me that I had an urgent task to research some email marketing companies for a promo I was considering, so I spent the next three hours going through a list of companies that my researcher had prepared. The simple goal was to find the companies that could benefit from my product. And guess what; most of the websites were just as confusing as mine! So I set a benchmark, if I couldn’t understand exactly what the company did after two pages of research I deleted it from my list.

Let’s get real here, we are all busy people. How would you feel if you put your mower into the back of your car, drove it to the other side of town to a mower repair shop and found out that they didn’t really repair mowers.

So back to my website, while still having that annoying little inner voice reminding me of the Number One search engine tip ‘content is king’ (does anyone really know what the search engines feed on any more?) and trying to balance this with the KISS principle, I set about to come right back to basics. And do you know what? It was fun, it was easy, it was cleansing. And more importantly, my focus became clearer and clearer the more detritus I eliminated. It was like carrying around old baggage, not quite necessary anymore but I’ll hold on to it just in case I ever need it again!

How many of you can honestly say that your website is clean, is focused and your services clearly defined. Just take another little check, it won’t hurt.

When you clean out all your unwanted and unused hoardings at home it is referred to as a ‘Life Laundry’, let’s call this a Web Wash.