As you might imagine, I look at many web sites. A few are really amazing, some are mediocre, and many are plain awful. The sad fact is that there are still company owners and community leaders who just don’t get it.
At Brand Acceleration, we work in the professional industries of economic development, architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC). These are industries in which a web site can mean the difference between advancing toward a project win and being taken off the consideration list. We’ve made of point of studying how target visitors such as higher education administrators and site selection consultants interface with a web site, and the results will really open your eyes.
Visitors to AEC web sites
When an education or healthcare administrator visits the web site for an architecture firm, for example, he or she is essentially looking for the firm’s portfolio and the resumes of the studio directors. Just as with a resume, the firm’s web site must convince a visitor that the studio team has the talent and experience to create a beautiful and functional space.
A web site which is poorly structured, unprofessionally written, lacks functionality, and is ugly is likely to knock the firm off the consideration list. Sadly, the company may have a very talented team of architects who could do a great job.
Visitors to Economic Development web sites
In this arena, audiences such as site selection consultants and c-suite executives are looking for a well-thought-out package of information. If they can’t find it, they may just leave and take the community off the list.
Assuming the community survives the critical first-round look and makes it to short-list status; it may now have to withstand review by company managers and a trailing spouse. I’ve heard more than one story about a spouse who looked at a community web site just to say, “I’m not moving to that ugly place.” When you consider the many thousands or even millions of dollars communities spend each year, it’s a shame to lose a deal because its web site stinks.
Similar to a storefront window, a web site may be a prospects first exposure to your community of company. If the display in your window, your web site, is not captivating, beautiful, and informative, the prospect may walk right by and shop somewhere else.