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New soap?

This article was posted by Theater Website Services on: 14 10 08 - 00:40

Dyson Hand DryerOK, I have decided to write a little something this time, rather than the usual list of links. I'm drawn to write this because it's happened a few times now, and it's not that I'm upset, worried or even angry, it's just something that some people don't quite understand and I'm going to try and explain a few things, even if it helps out other people that should really pay for the advise..... you know who you are.

Not too long ago, and this happens frequently, a company contacted me because they wanted to "revamp" their website. It's getting old and they think it needs to look newer. Firstly, a good design should last the test of time, and shouldn't be the main reason to change things around.

The reason to update a website is to IMPROVE the website - not just make it look nicer. Now, this company requested a quote for me to "revamp" their website and I of course supplied my usual, highly detailed, PDF document that went into great depth on what was wrong with the current website, how to improve it's structure and user interface to reduce options and increase clicks and get results. I also went into detail on how this should and could be done and finally the price - trust me it wasn't expensive - I have seen, heard and witnessed other companies offerings and their charges and have been blown away that they got the gig - but I digress....

I got a very neatly written email thanking me for my time and efforts and they (the bigwigs) would study my proposal and contact me within just a few days. A week later after I follow up to see if I was successful in my bidding, I get a return email letting me know that at the moment everything is shelved, but of course they thought my ideas and in-depth report were fantastic and will be in touch just as soon as. Benefit of the doubt is offered and I reply with a thank you and a good luck and you know where I am etc.

Roll forward several months and I receive their weekly newsletter, as I sign-up for as many as I can to see what other people are offering. In the email it tells me that their site is undergoing major reconstruction, and some stuff doesn't work yet.... ok hold the press, DON'T advertise to your potential customers that your stuff doesn't work correctly. In fact, don't make it public if it doesn't work. Next I hit the link to their all new website to find that they took almost everything I said and TRIED to make it fit around their current system to display information, needless to say it doesn't look great at all. They did try and clean some things up, but then tried their best to half-do-jobs by frilling up some pages with new graphics, backgrounds and what-ya-ma-call-it's. The result is something that doesn't work, probably spent a good deal of money getting someone to do it and completely failing in all respects in what they SHOULD of been spending their money on.

This is bad news for the company in question, and for anyone else out there that is either thinking of this approach, or indeed have been through it. You see if you spend in the wrong places, you don't get the results and therefore zero return on investment. Imagine if you will that your premises, of which the public pay to get into, has a nasty looking restroom (yup - sorry had to go there), paint falling of walls, tiles missing, broken toilets, hot water not working, cracked old mirror, and you hire someone to "revamp" it and they come in and put nicer soap in the despenser and one of those blow-ya-hands-away air drying machines.... but that's it. You really think your patrons are going to enjoy these added new widgets? Or do they understand that under the frill, the walls still need painting, the toilet still needs fixing and where is that hot water?

Your website is the same, if you are going to spend some money on getting things done because you think it looks old, spend it correctly, hire some professionals, and take their advise. Forget the friend of a cousin that "does websites", when a professional web developer or development company let you know what is wrong, you can bet your last dollar that your website visitors already know what's wrong with it. Take the advise, spend the money and then advertise it everywhere your name goes - tickets, newspaper ad, radio, front of the building - everywhere - then when your patrons visit your website and they find all that movie info, get those free downloads and sign-up for that new useful weekly newsletter, they'll tell their friends, spread the word and help to increase business.

A website for a theater is not meant to be a way of really increasing ticket sales, sure if done correctly it can and will, but it's real use is for your prospective visitors to gain information, get a feel for your business, enjoy the site, have an EXPERIENCE on your website and maybe even buy a ticket for convenience - if your really lucky then they will use your email-a-friend feature to setup a night out with some friends who all buy popcorn and a soda. You must also have a site that offers all the information they want in whatever format they want it - print ready - RSS feed or even a mobile friendly page with showtimes. Not just new soap......

If you are interested in understanding what your site needs, and getting it done, we at TWS are here to fix those tiles and get the potty working again!


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