I Dare You to Take This Website Challenge

Surely you know that your URL is the first place a prospective customer will go when your name comes up as a potential service provider. Even if a trusted colleague recommends you, your home page is where I’m headed to check you out.

Despite all the tools available today to keep a Website current and contemporary, I find that too many print company Websites fail to serve the company well. Some are just dusty. Some are downright lame.

New visitors to your Website expect to get a pretty good picture of what specifically you do and whether you can be a resource for them. They’ll spend a minute on your site if you’re lucky—more if they see information that resonates or captivates them.

Is your site good enough to engage first-time visitors who’d make ideal customers? There’s one way to find out. I dare you to take this challenge. If you do, you’ll get a huge amount of value in it, and it won’t cost you a dime.

Find at least one adult—preferably a few—who don’t know your company at all (no employees, no relatives, no customers). Ideally, these folks would be businesspeople (unless your market is strictly consumers). Maybe you know a designer or two. Maybe you know people in marketing positions. They’d be ideal.

Ask them to visit your Website for a few minutes and then answer the following:

  1. What do we do?
  2. Do we have one or more specialties?
  3. What do our customers think about us?
  4. Who’s in charge of the company?
  5. Can you name three different products we make?
  6. What makes us different?
  7. What’s the overall impression you get about our company?
  8. What qualities set us apart?

When I visit a printer’s site for the first time, these are the questions I inherently have. Do you know which of these eight questions I often have the hardest time answering? Number 1. You’d be surprised how many home pages are hamstrung by florid prose. If I can’t for the life of me figure out what you do, based on your home page, you have a big problem.

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  • Linda Sandmann

    Good idea!

  • Katherine Tattersfield

    That’s definitely a challenge, but it’s worthwhile in the long run. I will try this out, and possibly post a follow up blog.

  • Tex Visions

    It is a catch 22. The better your competitors websites the worse yours looks in comparison. However, it is inevitable that websites will continue to evolve. I work as an SEO and we are in the middle of a total revamp of the user experience for Tex Visions. We are asking the questions you mentioned because it is much easier to start with best practices than try to implement them later.

  • David Garner

    I recently read an article on the University of Alabama’s championship coach Nick Saban. He has developed what he calls "The Process", as his coaching method. He constantly assesses his program to make sure it measures up to his expectations, which are very high. He lives as if the past championships don’t matter,
    Many people build or purchase a website as an afterthought. It is not at the core of their business model, they know they need a site but are not willing to invest the time and effort it takes to have a great site. Great sites don’t just happen, nor can they be purchased, they must be built one decision at a time.
    We must have high expectations of our site and then strive to meet them someway, somehow. That said, sometimes i get stuck in "analysis paralysis"
    trying to decide what works, instead of letting what we do shine through our site. Thanks, for the good advice on finding out how other perceive our website and acting on it.