Nigel is a fictional character I invented two minutes ago when I came up with the idea behind this post. Nigel works for your business, and is a pretty awesome guy. He stands by the curb outside your business’ front door, and when someone walks past, he smiles at them, and they stop to chat.
He politely explains your business, what you do, and points out the ways in which that person would be better off as a customer of yours. The people who stop to talk with Nigel are always glad that they did, they appreciate the effort he’s put into greeting them and they walk into your business as a promising new customer.
Just inside your business’ front door is a little plastic fern that sits there doing nothing. You bought it when your business started because you didn’t already have one, and thought it’s the kind of thing you ought to have. It’s exactly the same as the day you got it, you don’t think about it much, and it doesn’t need anything from you.
The downside to Nigel is that he takes a bit of looking after. He doesn’t need a salary, but you have to check in with him every now and then to make sure he’s up to date with the business, and is still doing a great job.
If you haven’t realised this yet, Nigel and the pot plant are clever metaphors for a great website and a terrible website respectively. In order for your site to be an effective sales tool, you can’t just set it and forget it. Your site needs to be a living, changing entity. You need to treat it like Nigel and nurture it, so it can continue to send new customers through your door.
Updating your website in both design and content doesn’t just show your clients that you are relevant, but it shows search engines too. Google knows your crappy pot plant website has been the same since 2009, so it sends Nigel, from your competitor, to the top of the list.
Make your website more like Nigel, and less like a pot plant.