Location, Location, Location, everybody knows the channel 4 show. Did you know the first episode aired in May 2000, almost 15 years ago. Which is why we’re all aware of the show as well as its two protagonists Kirsty and Phil. Stay with me, there’s a link back to websites somewhere in this post!
One of my roles at Primate is to handle leads and invitations-to-tender for new web projects, and the first quarter is always busy. Everybody spent December thinking and planning and come January they are all about the doing; finally committing to their project and starting the hunt for the right agency.
Reading through the various ‘request for proposal’ documents we’ve had in the past few months they suddenly reminded me of Location, Location, Location. Just incase you’re unfamiliar (surely impossible), each week Kirsty and Phil hook up with people hunting for property, from the UK to Australia. They collectively form a list of requirements and then head off in hot pursuit of “the one”. The essence of the show is that each person helped has failed, somehow somewhere, to secure “the one”. The property. Invariably the list of requirements looks something akin to this:
- 5 bed
- 4 bath
- large garden
- parking for 3 cars
- granny annex
- in town, preferably on a bus route
- < £200k budget
The problem with this list isn’t that the budget is too low, nor that large gardens are difficult to come by in town. It’s that the list is meaningless. Enter Kirsty and Phil.
The success of the show is based on their ability to help homebuyers realise why they are looking for a home. One of Kirsty’s regular questions to couples on the hunt surrounds children. Do you want them and, if so, where do they feature on the horizon.
Why? Because she doesn’t want her couple to buy the super-luxe one bed party pad if there’s a slight chance of babies in the next three years. Why? Because they’ll outgrow it and have to find the £000s it costs to move again in a relatively short space of time. So what? It makes the investment risky and prone to failure, or worse the property will be completely unfit for purpose long before that fixed rate mortgage deal is over. It’s no good for the people involved.
The same goes for websites and the long lists of requirements that frequently appear in ‘request for proposal’ docs. Here’s an example:
- modern look and feel
- integration with database
- good usability
- SEO optimisation
- Linked to social media
- Fully content managed with developer level access
- Live April 2015
- Competitively priced
So allow me to channel my inner Kirsty Allsop. This list, does not a website make; what is it your business really wants? What is this website really for? The answer is not a list of requirements if you’d like a site that’s even remotely future proof, fit for purpose or a worthwhile investment. Your need for a website boils down to only one thing; your audience.
Bin the list. Instead, tell agencies who actually visits your website and what they need from you. Unsure? That’s okay, just tell us what it is you sell and who normally buys it. Product, service, consultancy, new start, charity, whatever your new website shall be marketing it’s trying to snag somebody, and you wouldn’t be in business if that somebody didn’t exist.
Whilst I’m still in Kirsty mode, a quick run-down of who your website is not for:
- The HIPPO (the highest paid person, or the board)
- The marketing team
- The sales team
- The event manager
- The intern employed to run social media (who shouldn’t be, by the way)
Websites are for very specific people: your audience. Really good websites inspire those people into action, which in turn equals business growth and a blossoming brand. Wherever you are along the procurement process, step away from the list and give your agency something meaningful.
Image Credit: Christian Bertrand