Brands have been urged to make sure their website clearly articulates what they do and what they stand for.

According to Graham Buchanan, Managing Director of WSI Internet Consulting, a website is the “shop window to your organisation” and often “the first port of call for anyone checking you out.”

However, he believes that business owners can sometimes be in danger of neglecting their websites, as they are instead focusing on newer digital solutions such as virtual and augmented reality.

Mr Buchanan has therefore stressed that websites are a “core piece of marketing collateral” and should must be given due care and maintenance.

“How often have you visited a website only to see out of date information, a dormant blog or (worst of all) typos?” he said.

“It happens all the time, even with household name brands.”

Mr Buchanan noted that websites serve a range of purposes, but are mostly in place to act as a communication tool.

This, he said, means they must clearly state what a brand does and convey its ethos and culture.

Nevertheless, he stated that organisations often “hide their light under a bushel when it comes to their digital platforms.”

“They are represented online by boring or dated websites, whilst a host of engaged, enthusiastic people sit in the office,” Mr Buchanan observed.

“The contrast is often stark.”

Business owners were encouraged take a look at their website and compare it to their competitors’ online presence.

Mr Buchanan said this would help them work out if their site is “really the best it can be” whether or not its functionality meets the latest standards and if it does enough to showcase their brand.

He stated that if any shortcomings are found in these areas, it is time to “take it back to basics and make sure your marketing plans don’t neglect the fundamentals.”

Mr Buchanan went on to acknowledge that business owners might not feel they have the time or money to overhaul their website.

Furthermore, he said some may feel a website redesign and upgrade does not sound like a good investment because there are “more exciting things to be rolling out or experimenting with.”

However, Mr Buchanan stated that while many firms might be “tripping over themselves to invest in jazzy digital concepts” they could ultimately be weakening their overall brand by “neglecting the building blocks that make up a great marketing strategy.”

Why a website is still your most important piece of marketing collateral Hastings Observer