If a salesperson dressed sloppy, didn't care what they looked like, gave out inaccurate information and had lazy traits, would you keep them employed? Surely not. Well, your website is a salesperson. And by keeping that lazy salesperson on the payroll, you're hurting your company. And if your salesperson insisted on writing letters with quill pens and refused to learn how to use modern technology, would you keep them around long enough to see a paycheck? Odds are, that is a big "no".
As I have written before in my blog posts, the brand of a company is not about the vehicle; it's about the ride. It's about the employees. Every company has vehicles and employees. How you treat the vehicles is what is important. The ground transportation industry relies on the maintenance and performance of its vehicles and employees. The same care needs to be applied to your website. Way too often in the ground transportation industry, companies get lazy about their website maintenance. And that can cost you.
During the course of our daily activities here at Limo Digest, we have to fact-check our sources. One of the ways we do this is by verifying the websites that are included in press releases. There is something really depressing about seeing a website that is left to collect dust and looks neglected. There are many symptoms of a website on life support. The most frustrating part of having to witness so many dying websites is that there are some really easy cures to getting them healthy again. Here are three ways to get your website up and running again:
1. Get Your Info Up-To-Date. I can't tell you how many times I go to a company's website and see that they have devoted an area of their website to company news and the last post is over three years old. That says one of two things: 1) your company hasn't done anything newsworthy in recent years or 2) the enthusiasm of updating your website has waned. Either way, it's not good. If you have a Winter Special at the top of your home page and it's July, then you've clearly missed the mark. If your website says you are celebrating your "20-year anniversary" and it's clear that it was four years ago, then the party has gone on too long.
There is an economic principle called "the Broken Window Theory" that I think clearly articulates the problem of not fixing a problem in a normal amount of time. It is based on the idea that the longer a broken window in a building takes to get fixed, the more likely another broken window will occur. In other words, if something is left uncorrected, the more likely it is people will think that an area is not supervised by anyone and attract vandalism. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the less likely litter will accumulate. The same theory applies to marketing. The more mistakes and disinformation that occurs in a company's marketing, the less likely a potential customer will trust that the company is being supervised. If a website is a vacant lot full of broken windows (and, perhaps, broken links), the less likely the potential customer will trust the company as someone who is dependable.
Here are some action items to fix immediately:
- Get your fleet info and photos up-to-date
- Populate your "News" section with up-to-date information about your company
- Update your contact info and staff members. Make sure that all the links work properly and are current. Also, update your employees and the contact emails. Remember Johnson who used to be in charge of Affiliate work? Well, he's been gone six months and yet his mug is on the "Meet the Team" page and his email is still the contact for inquiries. Not good.
Make your house look occupied and people will trust your company a whole lot more.
2. Keep Your Branding Consistent. Why are so many websites designed without any thought of the overall branding consistency? If your logo and marketing collateral are blue and gold, why did you choose a black and silver-based website? It may look cool, but it could make people think they have the wrong landing page. If someone recognizes you by your colors (and in the ground transportation industry, they do), don't switch it up on them by going with a different color scheme. Also, make sure your message is clear. If your company is about being "on time", then make that the focal point of your website.
If you promote your company's Facebook and Twitter accounts on your printed material, don't forget to include them on your website as well.
- Keep brand colors and slogans consistent
- Include social media links on home page
3. The Aesthetics of Your Website. Let's face it, websites are a great marketing tool for your company but they can be a pain in the rear end to design. And I'm not just talking HTML, either. Designing the site and how the viewer can navigate can get complicated and tedious. The "site map" is a process... but well worth it. If your site gets too "crowded", clean it up. Make it a pleasurable experience for the reader to get directly to what they need to see. Create five main tabs and prioritize the information with secondary tabs underneath, if need be. Avoid the temptation of wanting to overload your home page.
If your company's website includes a "blog" tab and your last post was in 2005, then you either have to start writing again to make it relevant or eliminate that tab altogether. It looks bad to the viewer that you went on a two-week writing binge ten years ago and then nothing. That's a decision only you can make. But you have to commit to a decision either way.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your site is so simple that it looks antiquated, get it back in shape. It's nice to have photos, obviously. However, photos that look dated are no good. Don't be afraid of some white space. There is a tendency in the ground transportation industry to go overboard on verbiage. Competition is fierce, so if you present the reader with too much to read, they will hit the "back button" way before they get to the meat of the site. Having clear, engaging copy on your home page and subsequent pages will keep the viewer longer and result in more business.
- Create a concise, easy-to-follow menu—including tab sequence.
- Rethink the copy on your site and ask: does it really matter to the reader?
- Clean up any grammatical errors, including misspellings.
Written by John Crawford