At the birth of the internet and the dawn of the information age, Websites became the first of a huge number of new and innovative ways to market businesses. Websites are now joined by the likes of emails, social media, PPC ads and so on.
The internet has revolutionized marketing and changed the way we do business forever. Whilst many of the different methods to market online have constantly evolved and continue to remain innovative, Websites, in particular, have stalled.
In recent years we’ve seen the rise of sales funnels — compact websites that basically follow a page after another. But the main Websites have not really changed.
When you think of a Website and how it should be laid out, there’s usually a number of pages you would always think should be in place. They’re seen as an essential part of any website, and to not have them would be a huge missed opportunity.
I’m here today to turn those thoughts on its head. Many of the “essential” basic web pages are in fact not essential — they’re a combination of wasted time, energy & resource. They’re not needed, nor are they wanted — nobody cares about them!
Why I hear you cry?
Let’s go back to the beginning…
Why would a business have a website? To market itself, so people can come across your business and learn more about what you do, or be directed to your site in the search for certain services. Correct?
So the website is designed to promote and sell the business it’s a part of.
Would you then agree that any content on the websites including entire webpages that do not support this goal are redundant?
I’m sure you do. Before I dive into the exact webpages I’m talking about, let’s look further into the ultimate goal of a website. In order to attract the perfect target audience, generate interest, build a brand and ultimately acquire new and repeat customers/clients, a website should give those people what they want. It’s only logical, right?
So what do potential customers want from your website? What do they want to learn and get out of spending their precious time browsing?
There are two schools of thought. Let’s call the first school, and the wrong school, the 90’s. I’m calling it the 90’s because it’s a school of thought that originated when the internet was born. And back then, this school of thought was correct.
The 90’s school of thought was that prospects, potential clients and so on wanted to learn about YOU — your business, your history, what you offer and how you deliver on it.
And yes, this was indeed true in the 90’s and mid to late 2000’s. But people change, they develop and evolve — and in a world where people are advertised to on average 300 time’s a day across mobile devices, on the TV, on their journey to work — people are bound to change and react to that.
Before we go over how people have changed, let’s look at the 2nd school of thought — the now correct one. Let’s call it — Heroes & Sidekicks.
Strange name right? With a very good reason. This school of thought states that when a business is trying to sell services or products to anybody, it should be positioned in a way that makes the customer a hero — not the business. Instead, the role of a business is to be a sidekick to the hero, to support them on their journey.
With that said then, how have people changed over the last two decades? People don’t want to be advertised to by businesses that just talk about themselves. They don’t care about the history of a business, the team they have. That may sound harsh, but in truth people only want to know about how the business can help THEM.
And too right — a business should be grateful for the opportunity to serve somebody. It’s a huge shift in how any business positions itself in their marketing and advertising.
And whilst some are starting to adjust, websites are just one area that is failing.
Let’s quickly summarise before I move on and reveal which webpages nobody cares about (although they may be fairly obvious now).
So we recognize that due to changes in technology and digital marketing, how people react to advertising has changed. They no longer are interested in the business that is advertising to them, only what that business can do to them. In order for any business to survive, they must adapt to the changes in people and give them what they want.
That all being said then, what webpages are now redundant? Which webpages used to be useful to potential customers but are no longer of any interest to them?
1. About Us
About Us is commonplace among businesses websites, but is the first victim to this change. A typical About US page will be 99% about the business, and 1% of even less about what they can do for customers.
2. Meet the Team
Meet the Team may seem like a great page as it allows a business to be transparent, and is usually on the websites of businesses with smaller teams of 5–50. For larger businesses, meet the team webpages are harder to maintain, so tend to include departments and groups rather than specific team members. Again though, it’s all about the business — and not about the customer.
History used to be key to picking up new customers — being able to show off how long the business has been around, and how it’s changed and grown over many years. But alas, this information is redundant. Prospects care less about your past and more about how you can help them in the future.
News webpages are usually a combination of news on changes in the business, as well as changes in the industry they work in. Again, however, that usually means there is very little offered about how people can be helped — how they can become the heroes in their journey.
All of these pages are just redundant — whether they should be deleted is another matter, but it’s essential businesses acknowledge the changing tide and adapts to meet them
So what should businesses do now? All of their marketing and advertising, all of the messages they use and the ways they send those messages — it all needs re-evaluating.
Some of it may be fine if it already focuses on helping the customer, making them the hero. But I suspect the majority of advertising of most businesses will need changing.
The same goes for the businesses team. It’s one thing to update marketing and re-frame it to focus on the customer. It’s another thing to frame the entire team to ensure they understand this and act upon it.
Because this change in what people want affects the entirety of a business — not just it’s marketing. Everybody needs to understand the need for any and all communication with potential prospects to be cussed on them and their needs alone.
And it doesn’t just stop there — oh no!
The same needs to be applied for all current and past customers — by not communicating to them in this new way risks the customer leaving the business, making complaints and even requesting refunds.
The moral of the story really is that businesses cannot stay idly by and expect the same ways of doing business to always happen. Business is more than simply copying and pasting systems that work, and repeating them.
Life changes, people change — and if businesses don’t keep up, well, you know the rest…