TL/DR: a lot, but it’s still an important tool for your business.
The truth is, there are things your website cannot do. As much as we’d love to be able to say “Your website is flawless, now your business will prosper”– we can’t promise the success of your business just because you’ve freshened up your website. No matter how much you’ve paid to have your website built or optimized, fully loaded with professional photos, custom graphics and creative & helpful content– there are limitations to what your website can do for your business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local barber or selling custom t-shirts all over the country– one thing is certain in business: there are parts of it that only a human can do well.
Your website is a tool for your business, a space for you and your information to live online. A place where users and search engines can get information from you, a place where users can buy something from you or sign up for something with you. It is, however, one of the many important tools necessary for a successful business.
Here is a brief list of things your website cannot do for you and your business:
- Run the entire business. This might seem obvious, but, we just want to reiterate that having a website doesn’t replace the core functions of the business. It can’t handle all of the aspects like production, logistics or customer service. It’s a tool to help grow your online presence, not an automated business machine.
- Replace human interaction. Although having a space online is a great way to connect with folks you may have never otherwise connected with, a website itself can’t replace good customer service, a real person helping in real time, or the nuanced human interactions that take place on a daily basis in business. Furthermore, some folks like to have a face or name to pair with the company they buy goods or services from.
- Make up for poor products or services. It doesn’t matter how amazingly fast, beautiful or optimized your website is, if you’re selling products or services that people don’t want, you’re probably not going to find much success. Your website itself cannot predict whether or not what your business is selling is going to be well received by the world. You must do your own product and market research, ensure you’re selling quality goods and services, and make sure your website, branding, messaging, etc. is aligned with the customers you’re trying to reach.
- Override a poor sales process. Part of your sales process needs to include the planning and layout of your sales process from start to finish. Including accounting for exchanges, returns, human error, etc. We can help build a website that makes your sales process feel smooth and work the way you’ve asked it to, but if there are flaws in your sales process, your website is not going to be able to override it. Your website will do what you tell it to do and nothing more.
- Out-work bad employees. If you’ve got employees who are ill equipped, lazy, or unmotivated, it’s not a problem your website will be able to solve. Of course with the right developers building your site, your website can have a smooth interface for selling things, collecting emails, scheduling and more– BUT, if you have employees who aren’t willing to learn or pull their weight, there’s no web app for that deficiency.
- Control external factors. Your website cannot control changes in the market, economic conditions or your competitors. With the right website, optimization and webmaster, you’ll have a better chance of success online, but even so, your website will not be able to automatically shift to meet the market and competition. Like running a business, your website will constantly need to be evaluated to make sure it’s holding up in comparison.
- Guarantee security. While it’s totally possible for websites to implement security measures, your website cannot guarantee complete protection against cyber threats. In order to safeguard your data as well as the data of your customers, you’ll have to invest in cybersecurity practices that go beyond the security of your locally built website.
- Replace marketing efforts. Although having a well built website is a great marketing tool, your website cannot completely replace other marketing strategies or efforts. In order to market your business you’ll have to invest time and money into multiple sources of outreach to stay in contact with current customers, and to reach new ones: cold outreach, email marketing, social media marketing, PPC adds, etc. Your website is a great place to help you get started, but this takes much more human involvement than just a website. If there is not a clear marketing strategy, it’s unlikely that folks will randomly stumble upon your website anyway.
- Be a substitute for a clear business strategy. Building and running a business takes a lot of time and effort. You need to have done your research and proceed with a very clear idea as to how you’re defining your business, how you’re measuring success and what your goals are. Your website can be part of your business strategy, but even the best website cannot make up for the lack of planning, organization and strategizing.
- Automatically optimize for search engines. When we build websites, we always do it with optimization in mind and best practices, but SEO needs to be evaluated and recalibrated often. Your website, no matter how advanced, can’t optimize itself. (This is really important in terms of a local business, as local SEO efforts can sometimes make or break a small local business).
- Erase or cover up a bad business reputation. If you’ve been in business for a while but it’s been going rather terribly, and you’re known for being a subpar business, building a brand new website is not going to outshine a tarnished reputation. A business reputation takes a while to build (in either direction), so having a new website might be a great place to start freshening up, but don’t expect your website to outperform any underperforming your business has done in the past.
- Guarantee immediate results. As much as we wish this were the case (as it would be a really great selling point for web developers and web masters), a shiny, fast new website cannot guarantee immediate results. Positive results in your business will come with consistent effort, attention and adjustment to all aspects of your business, not just your website.
At SuCoWeb, our motto is “A new website can help your business grow” – and we stand by that. But the operative word here is “help”. our motto is not “a new website will do the work for you” or “a new website is guaranteed to bring your business success”. Having a well built and optimized website is an important piece of the puzzle of running a successful business, but it is not the only piece. Let’s work together to see where we can help your website do better, as well as talk about potential solutions for growth in other areas of your business.