Creating Value Through A Website
Last Updated on 24 March 2018
In my experience as a web designer, I have come to realise that usually the potential that lies in having a website is not well comprehended and the reason for having one in the first place is also often misunderstood.
Far from acting like an electronic brochure or an embodiment of a company’s profile in electronic form by presenting information to a potentially large audience at all manner of time and place, a website is a resource that represents so much more. As a result of failing to realise the potential inherent in owning a website, many website owners do not maximise the return on their investment. To avoid this trap, whether you are a website owner or considering getting one, you have to re-evaluate your perceptions and start looking at a website from the perspective of creating value.
The Importance of Creating Value
Value is the determining factor in all the choices we make; from the education we choose for ourselves or our kids, to the type of phone we use or even the type of entertainment we prefer. Wherever we make these decisions, it is on the basis of value and we accordingly are willing to part with our hard-earned incomes in proportion to the level of value we perceive in the commodity or service we are paying for. Since value is a universally desirable attribute, it only makes sense that we also seek in in implementing our outreach endeavours such as in how we execute the defining concepts of our websites.
As much as we would like people to visit our website in order to learn more about our organization or personal brand, it is worthwhile that we build value into the process. The thinking here is to be able to provide something extra that site visitors acquire from our website aside from knowing about the organization or personal brand that the website represents. Building value into a website encourages people to visit regularly to acquire more of the value that their encounter with the website provides. This is a desirable outcome because after all, increasing interaction is one of the primary objectives of building a website in the first place.
How To Create Value
Considering the wide range of activities that website owners are engaged in and the correspondingly wider range of interest for potential visitors, value can be created in numerous ways. Despite this wide variety, there are general principles that you can keep in mind when thinking about creating value for your existing or planned website. It is important to bear in mind that creating value for a website involves creating content for your intended audience to consume. Content refers to material such as articles, images and multimedia in the form of video or audio resources.
One of the key considerations when creating value is your niche interests. Everyone has an area that they are well knowledgeable in or hold particular expertise that others would benefit if a website shared such information. Naturally for most people this translates into a body of knowledge in line with their profession. By sharing your expertise with people, some of whom are your potential clients, you build relationships and trust and provide value for your audience in the process.
Perhaps, you might not have a niche area of expertise on which to focus on when creating content for your audience but you might consider simply being an entertainer. A lot of people are on the lookout for material to make their day by briefly taking it to a lighter disposition. You see this on so many Youtube channels where millions of users come for some light-hearted and brief and sometimes lengthy entertainment, like in the case of Maru the cat for example. Who would have guessed that people are prepared to spend hours watching a cat jump into a box- but they do. Providing entertainment to your audience offers something they value in your website and encourages them to visit more often.
Another approach to creating content which is closely related to the niche area of expertise approach is offering guidance on how-to pieces. How-to articles are written instructions or recordings instructing people on the intricacies of performing a certain task. If done well, how-tos are a great source of creating value for your audience and increasing visitor engagement.
The methods for creating value so far discussed involve the creation of content. This does not necessarily mean that it is essential that you create content in order to create value. Value can also be created simply by making it possible or easy for others to find the content they are looking for through your website. This activity is known as curating content. Curating content also goes in line with community building. You can build communities online by bringing people together around an activity or theme that they share and build a thriving online community in the process.
Vehicles For Creating Value
Crating value often necessitates consistency with the delivery of your content and there are several vehicles that can be used to achieve this end, one of which is a blog. A blog is a series of publications made out on a regular basis with the newest publications appearing at the top and visitors can access previous publications in reverse chronological order. A blog allows you a high level of consistency as people can expect to find fresh content on a regular basis. Depending on your subject matter and style, you may blog on a daily or weekly basis as well as with higher or lower frequencies than these.
Video publications are also a great vehicle for creating value as they allow for more engagement with your audience through visual cues. Video publication is however more complicated to execute than a blog and takes a lot of planning and some technical mastery to achieve. An added advantage of video publications is that you have more ways of exposing them to a wider audience through free video sharing services such as Youtube in which case the videos would have double exposure- on your site and on the video sharing service.
If you have a lot to talk about, you may choose to start a podcast and build a large following. A podcast is a voice recording that you create and post on your website for people to listen to. Think of it as a radio show that people can choose to listen in at any time but not as a live broadcast. There are others ways of creating value for your website that I have not mentioned but for all of them- even those not mentioned- the concept is essentially the same.
Depending on the resources at your disposal, you may choose one or several of the ideas mentioned so far. Whatever approach you choose, the most important thing is to get started. You need to bear in mind that creating value through your website is a process that will only revel incremental results over time. Like with all things in life, the first step is the hardest and once you really get into it, you will find that you will start to enjoy what you are doing and build meaningful relationships with your audience- thanks to the value your site is creating. In my experience, often, one thing leads to another.