The internet is a competitive landscape, and is becoming ever more hostile as the number of websites launched grows. At minimum, your website is a virtual brochure representing your business online. At best, it’s a money making hub. Odds are you have a lot of competition online.
The history of professional mixed martial arts and website design have a lot in common. Once the wild west, pioneered by scrappy early adopters in a no-holds-barred environment, they’ve both evolved into a professional, lucrative, and mainstream industry.
An MMA fighter is the modern gladiator and has one job: win every fight and become the champion.
So, what attributes does an MMA fighter have that you should consider before building a new website that will give you a competitive edge and your competitors a virtual beat-down?
In a fight, timing is important. Many a fighter has been quickly dispatched by a perfectly timed haymaker or flying knee. Your website needs to be nimble enough to not only react defensively to changes in your industry, but to anticipate your opponents' next move. The best defense is a great offense, so make sure your website is built in a way that gives you real time access to add and edit content or functionality giving you the freedom to attack and take advantage of opportunities.
Inside the Octagon and on the inter webs, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. If your aim is to be top-dog in your territory, you better claim it aggressively and come out swinging. As I wrote in a former post. don’t take a knife to a gunfight. Your website is the nucleus of your online presence, and going to battle with an outdated, outmoded, outmatched website is tantamount to squaring off against Chris Weidman with an old school “Irish Stand Down” stance. Once you’ve realized your mistake, it’s too late.
In the journey to the top, an MMA fighter will face a myriad of opponents with varying skill sets and tactics. That’s why cross-training in various martial arts is crucial. Wrestling, boxing, Muy Thai, Ju-Jitsu and Judo are just the basics. Producing a powerful website also requires the right mix of attributes that creates an end result greater than the sum of its parts: Branding, graphics, copywriting, photography, and video are just the beginning. Is your website equipped with the proper arsenal of tools to meet your company objectives and the expectations of your visitors or is a simple electronic brochure?
A great fighter adapts to the situation, exploits weaknesses in their opponents and takes advantage of opportunities, whether standing up, on the mat, or against the ropes. Is your website fully responsive, changing thoughtfully to be the best presentation on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops? Does the experience dynamically change based on the anticipated needs of the visitor or is it a one-size-fits-all user-experience that has a one-move repertoire?
Mike Tyson inadvertently gave some of the best website design advice I’ve ever heard when he said “Everybody has a plan until they get hit.” What “Iron” Mike means is that you, just like a fighter, need to be prepared to learn from mistakes experienced in the heat of battle. Your website must be created in a way that changes, thoughtfully, over time, without a great deal of trauma. Adding new and relevant content, changing out images, and updating features as they become available keeps things fresh and at peak performance.
Fighters are walking, talking, swinging brands. They understand their audience and fan base and play to them. Hero or villain, they carve out their niche and perfect their pitch. Anderson “The Spider” Silva, Jon “Bones” Jones, B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn, Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine. Is your website a perfect representation of your company culture and brand promise? If your brand had a nickname or moniker, what might it be? Let’s hope it’s not My “Mediocre” Company or “Insert Cliche Here”.
Professional fighters don’t leave much to chance. They commit long and arduous hours to their craft. They study their opponents' tactics, get into their mindset and prepare a strategy that pushes the outcome in their favor. Do you do the same for your website visitors? Do you study your website analytics and glean important information and utilize it to improve your digital strategy? Do you anticipate their needs with an intuitive, dynamic experience to improve conversions?
Your first fight has a high probability of resulting in a one-sided ass-kicking. Yours. But future champions don’t give up easily and always pick themselves off the mat and go back for more. Those that dedicate the proper time, energy and resources will improve and eventually dominate their competition. Your website is no different. You’ve probably had at least one website failure. Take what you've learned and utilize it. Build something that knocks out your opponents and leaves your audience thrilled.
Neither couch potatoes nor wimps tend to do well in the ring. Lean, strong and in shape is the aspiration. Your current website is likely either bloated, gaseous and grossly inefficient or undernourished, weak and frail. Neither represents your brand nor will get the world class results that you desire. You need a website that is a lean, mean fighting machine that kicks ass and takes names: the names of all the clients who want to do business with you.
An unranked fighter gets no respect and very little monetary compensation. Your unranked website is no different. To get ranked in the Top Ten in your weight class or on the first page for your search results on Google, takes time, effort, thoughtfulness and dedication. Everything you do, or don’t do to your website, should be deliberate and with ranking in mind. The result is respect, public awareness, and higher payouts.
The competitive online landscape ain’t for the squeamish so you’d best bring your A game. Whether your business is booming or on the ropes, your online presence is one of your most powerful weapons in your arsenal. All fighters need a good trainer, so be careful which web design company you have in your corner. When it’s time to deliver the knockout punch, will it be you or your competitor whose hand is raised?
Well, the gloves are off. Call me if you want to develop an online battle plan.
If not, well, you coulda been a contender.