Are Buzzwords Costing You Sales?

Are Buzzwords Costing You Sales - Paul OFlaherty

What message is your site sending to potential customers?

SEO, SEM, CMS, PHP, Web 2.0? What does it all mean to “Joe Soap” if you’re a design or development company?

Potential lost sales revenue.

I can hear you all screaming “idiot” at me as the potential for creativity and the old “bigger is better” syndrome kicks in. And why not? Bigger is better! Especially if you can get a client to fork out more cash for the work, right?

I looked at the Your Web site the other day and realized 3 things:

  1. It badly needs a swift kick in hind quarters and given a new lease of life. I’ve neglected it of late while working on other projects. Neglecting it does not make good business sense, but I believe points 3 is the worst.
  2. I no longer like the design (or the CMS it’s built on)
  3. “Joe Soap” has no hope of understanding what we as a company can do for him.

My company site is chock full of buzzwords, jargon and tech terms. That’s fine if I’m pitching a developer or a large firm, but it holds true that a lot of my customers are small business owners or even private individuals.

These potential clients just want a website to show that their company exists. They just want to put pictures of their dog on the web in a place they can call their own. They don’t care about PageRank or PHP.

To them SEO, SEM and CMS could be STD’s!

When developing the website for my company I fell into the trap of filling it full of content that I could understand and thought would appeal to large firms with the big money. I’m not alone in this failing. A quick search for other companies in a similar field reveals the same mistake on the majority of sites.

We all forgot about “Joe Soap” and his dog!

We forget, that as small businesses, more often than not it’s the contracts with other small business and private individuals that pay our wages. After all, we can’t all get the contracts with the big firms.

I’ve found that the average (read as “not a geek”) person that goes looking to have a website developed wants little more than a few pages of html that looks nice and they can show off to their friends etc..

Many small business also want the same. Putting aside the benefits of having a CMS in place, the added exposure of RSS and all the other bells and whistles, most small business owners don’t have the time to invest in their site to make having a CMS worthwhile.

Also, because they’re a small business they’re likely not to have the revenue to employ somebody to look after it even on a part-time basis. Even I’m guilty of not having the time to work on the Your Web site because of my obligations to clients.

Considering that these are the people who put the meals on our tables (figuratively speaking) why do we confuse them with all the jargon. They just want a site that works and won’t cost them a fortune in time or money.

When they see the terms SEO, SEM, PageRank,etc. their eyes glaze over. You know what I mean, every techie has seen it a hundred times as they try to explain something “geeky” to a non geek.

They don’t understand the jargon and most of them don’t have (or simply won’t) invest the time it takes to find out what they are. They see all that and think:

“Yeah, but can you build me a homepage for my dog?”

I spent a long time thinking about this over the past few days as I’ve begun a complete rebuild (from scratch) of the Your Web site. The new site should go live at the beginning of next week.

My design criteria for the new site are simple:

  1. Bold colors
  2. Fast loading
  3. Simple to use
  4. One Message only

Criteria number 4 is perhaps the most important. That is, to get one message effectively across to the potential customer without confusing them. That message:

“I can do exactly what you want, and do it well!”

What message is your site sending to potential customers?