People don’t care about your company’s new website

A good portion of my business comes from helping companies develop websites, so you won’t be surprised to learn that I believe creating a new site or redoing an existing one is a worthwhile investment. But I’m less enthusiastic about companies that see rolling out a new website as an exciting event for their customers.

I’m often asked to develop ads, newsletter stories, and other materials to urge customers and other stakeholders to visit the exciting new site, and I always wonder why that’s a good idea.

Hey, I know a new website is an accomplishment that involves a tremendous amount of work. They usually take a lot more time and effort than everyone expected, so companies are very happy once everything is finally wrapped up.

However, to customers, prospects, and the media, a new website is essentially a non-story. Nice, but no big deal. They’ll visit your site if they need to use it. They’re not going to visit your site to ooh and ahh over the pretty new graphics and well-crafted About Us page.

So why do companies make it such a big deal? I think it’s a throwback to the retailers who use remodeling as an excuse to prompt customer visits. “We have new carpeting, and we want you to smell it!” “Our receptionist has a new desk chair, and we want you to look at it and buy stuff!” “You haven’t bought from us in a while, but now our walls are blue!”

So would those things make you rush into their businesses? Given that, why do you think that your new website will make everyone jump up and down? Promote it by all means, but do it realistically. Talk about the benefits to your audience … perhaps new capabilities or resources … rather than the cool new design. Most of all, don’t expect a huge spike in business.