I started to hit on this idea in my last blog about how much to pay for a website and it seems to resonate with some people so I wanted to pull the idea out and expand on it here.
In our experience most companies have starter websites- basically a brochure on the web. It's a destination. Maybe you find it via a search for the company name but not much else. All the visitors know something about the company or they wouldn't be there. A "preaching to the choir" website. A website that exists only because you "have" to have a website.
The problem is that this kind web presence is almost worthless and will do nothing to grow your company. In fact it may be hurting it.
The few that find their way there wonder how legitimate your company is if you don't have a "real" website.
So what is a "real" website?
A real website is a broadcast platform. Here's some of the characteristics of broadcasting website:
Social Media- when you add a blog it automagically updates your company's Twitter account, and other services, with a link to that blog.
RSS- your site's RSS feed is being pulled in by other blogs and services like Google Reader.
Google loves you- a search engine friendly site will rank for many competitive keyword searches.
You site is easy to update- so you look forward to adding new pages and content which only brings more traffic. (don't get me started on the importance of a good Content Management System!)
Your site listens- lets users leave feedback, comments and generally interact in a playful way.
The function of a website is changing. If "content is king" then a website's job is to broadcast that content across the web's many platforms.
The companies that invest in content broadcasting sites will win search, traffic and eventually the customer.