Sunday, December 28, 2008

Web Design Notes

KPEnterprises (Sacramento's Premier Microsoft Small Business Specialist) officially launched our new web site over the weekend.

I don't like it as much as the old one, but everyone else does, AND it serves a purpose.


What are the goals of your web site?

Every site should have a purpose, just as all marketing should have a purpose.

When I ask technical people about the goals for their web site, I frequently hear a mumbled response about someplace to go or a brochure on the Internet. Marketing is in there somewhere.

Marketing is, at its most essential level, the process of moving people into your sales funnel. Marketing that doesn't do that is . . . not marketing!

The truth is, you have a marketing funnel with multiple points of entry and they all lead people to become interested in you, your products, your services, and your sales funnel.

More on this in a minute.

First, let me be very clear on this: Our old web site isn't eligible for any design awards. Marketing people hate it. Our employees make fun of it. Other consultants are smug about it because they think it gives then an advantage.

It is not uncommon, during an interview, that a prospective employee will mention how much he can do to improve our web site.

But let me tell you something: it works.

Just so we have a point of reference, here's the old site: Old KPEnterprises Web Site.

Our New fancy web site is here: New KPEnterprises Web Site.

Please note that the Content is essentially identical. So this is a glossy make-over.

Please note that the most important rule of the Internet -- and all information-based marketing -- is that Content is King.

Our web site has three basic goals.

1) Market our company. By that I mean: Get our name out there and be one of the companies people consider when they start looking. Ideally, they'll print something out and keep it in a file for the great "some day."

If you have something that pops up and has a link that says "Skip Intro," remove it from your site. I know you paid good money for that. Imagine chrome spinnners on a '62 Rambler. Just don't.

2) Provide information so clients and prospects will spend time on the site and see it as a resource. The goals here are to educate folks on the various services we provide and to be seen as a general resource when questions arise.

We want to provide a large amount of information so that when people "check us out" they are impressed with the things we do and how we do it.

3) Get people to fill out a form requesting contact. We promise free reports, webinars, network heath checks, newsletters.

And here's what we're not doing:

1) Blinking, flashing, buzzing, twirling, noisy -- annoying.

This is not Fox TV. We don't need to play "made you look" and call it marketing.

2) Open every link in a separate window. Some sites leave you with 20 pages of leftovers to clean up. Who would have a positive reaction after they clean up all that?

3) Five page web site. If you have five fluffy, meaningless web pages, then you have zero stickiness and no hope of establishing a unique selling proposition. In five pages, all you can say is "We're just like every other technical consultant."

4) Moving, cascaded, multi-level menus from hell. These are nearly impossible for people to navigate if they are not experienced techies. Sit a client down and watch them navigate your site. If it takes more than one try to get to something, change that navigation.

5) Eye Gloss. When someone looks at your site, do their eyes gloss over? Do they begin just clicking on all the links without actually reading anything they find? When you look at lots of sites, you'll find yourself doing this on some sites. When that happens, think about why you're doing that and avoid it yourself.

Again with the Content. Our site has lots of pages, about 140 pages worth of old newsletters.

That means a prospect who wanders in from the Internet can sit for hours and pour through the site. They can read about that, that, and the other thing.

- - - - -

Why I don't like the site

The old site worked. It got people to fill out forms and request appointments. Some people literally just called up and wanted to make an appointment.

Preliminary testing shows that the new site will be less effective with that -- at least with people who are like our current clients.

Overwhelmingly, businesses like to do business with businesses they perceive as similar to their own. Similarly sized. Similarly constructed. When small businesses do business, they don't want to do business with big, faceless entities. A certain percentage will just "click through" for online services, but there is no relationship and no commitment there.

We want relationships. We want to deal with human beings.

So, the new site is designed to look "professional" as defined by marketing types and techno goobers.

We will rely more on direct marketing to drive people to the web or to special offers. The web itself will be just a place to click once a decision is made.

So why the change?

Well, our goals have expanded. Our web site goals now include:

4) Look modern enough to not alienate larger clients. Whether I like it or not, there's a certain look and feel to web sites that certain people just expect. It probably doesn't sell anything, but it's required as a minimum point of entry.

5) Investors and banks expect it. Again, there's nothing here that actually relates to marketing or even the content of the web site. This is literally a checkbox: Does the web site look like every other web site we look at? Old answer was No; new answer is Yes.

As my friend George Sierchio teaches in his seminars, you need to run your business as if you were selling it.

I'm not selling the business. But we're running it as if it were for sale. That means there are certain things you do, including having a web site that looks the way people think it should look -- even if it's less effective.



  1. Karl, simple websites that capture opportunities is what every business needs. Now, I like the new site and the link was down for the old site so I couldn't compare.

    What many firms do and yours does it as well, way to many "partner logos", clients don't care about it. They want to know what they will get from doing business with you. They want to know that you will take care of them and that you will be around through the economic tough times.

    Every, let me repeat every website must be a marketing site that captures leads to fill your sales pipe. I have been blogging about it for a while now at

    Video is going to be king, my buddy David West at taught me this, clients talking about your services are golden.

    Your prospects want to hear others like them talking about your services, not you shooting verbal nonsense about how great you are.

    Karl, I am not meaning you as in KP when I say you, I mean all of us in the SMB IT space.

    To me, sometimes a Wordpress blog will do the trick over expense websites.

    Just my 2 cents for what it is worth.

    Best of luck in 09...

    Stuart Crawford
    Calgary, AB

  2. Karl,
    I like your new website. It looks very modern and swish..

    Good luck in 09

    Chris Timm

  3. Hi Karl,

    Just checking out the new site but I might have found an issue. If you click on the Client Service Portal button on the top left it takes you to
    If you go to the following page:

    and click the Client Service Portal in the Client Resource Area, it takes you to Connectwise.

    Are you testing the waters with AutoTask? Using both???

    Jeff Auerbach
    EMR Group

  4. Anonymous11:29 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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