Is Your Business Website Useless?
Your website is just sitting there. It’s been sitting there for a while now. Every so often you go look at it. It’s pretty. There are nice colors. Maybe even a few images rotate in a carousel gallery.
But what is your website doing for your business? Does your site transact new business? Does it engage new prospects and regularly capture new leads?
Or is your site just sitting there looking pretty?
Your website needs to serve a purpose other than declaring that you exist. People, when they visit your site, expect to have an experience. If they have found their way to your site it isn’t by chance. They are looking for something. Your site needs to be that something.
But faster than you can say “bounce,” your visitors will leave, or better written, your new potential business will go elsewhere if your site doesn’t have all of these essential elements.
Not Giving Visitors What They Need To See in Three Seconds
Without scrolling or clicking, a website visitor should be able to see three things:
- Who you are
- What you do
- And find something to do
Busy homepages have been shown to confuse and irritate visitors. A clean, simple design will convert more visitors than complex cluttered ones. Further, if your visitors cannot discern what is going on quickly they will leave.
The first text one reads is a biblical scripture. There are pictures of dogs. But because there is no declaration, “This is a puppy farm,” one is forced to scroll and encounters more scripture. Our first impression was that perhaps this site is about religious or holy dogs.
Contrast that site with Simple Ties homepage. It uses a simple headline, calls to action (each tie has a link), and provides clear paths for what a visitor should do next.
Not Knowing the Purpose of the Web Site
Too many businesses treat their websites as a replacement for a Yellow Page ad. Broadcasting a message that essentially says, “I am here!” does not get repeat traffic nor business. A good business website has a objective and a method for realizing that purpose.
Not Knowing How to Convert Site Visitors
If you site visitors leave without providing information about themselves that visit is likely of very little value. There are a multitude of ways to engage your visitors and entice them to trade something of value to your business (their email address) for something they want (see below for examples).
Each site visitor needs to be treated as a valuable potential client. How are you going to capture their information so that they can be directly marketed to?
Pop-ups – Blah. Everyone hates them, you hate them, we hate them, but they convert. Hugely, actually. When comparing a lightbox pop-up to a sidebar opt-in form the numbers show there is no comparison. In-page pop-ups convert 1375% better that sidebar forms.
But having just one point, one form, one pop-up on your site isn’t nearly sufficient.
Each page needs to have at least one opportunity to convert, or to “do something.”
The Exchange of Value
Visitors are very hesitant to trade their information unless they believe they are something of value in return. No one tool works on all web site visitors. This is why an effective business site should have several different options that get seen in different places of the site.
- Workshop Invitation
- An Offer
- Free Tools or Set of Instructions
- Entry In A Contest
What works best will only become evident through trail and error. The number of leads each type of exchange will be different based upon the particular industry, and type of prospective client.
Not Giving Visitors Something to Do
Site visitors expect to interact with your web site. Static text or broadcast messages lead to quick exits. When designing a web site create a handful of activities for your visitors. All roads need to lead to the exchange of value for information.
There are natural exit points to every web site; the bottom of a page, the end of a blog post, the finish of an instructional video. Ensure that at every exit there is an activity to do.
Examples of Effective Activities
- Newsletter sign-ups
- Article that might be of interest
- Get an instant coupon before you leave
- Share this article socially
Not Displaying Customer Reviews
Online reviews have become the currency of online business. We read them before choosing a restaurant, before hiring a plumber, and even before buying the simplest of products.
Surveys taken show that nearly 90% of all people trust reviews more than any other source of information before making a purchase.
We know customers rely on and trust reviews, and this is especially true for local businesses. While reviews that are hosted on your site do not improve your site’s searchability like reviews on Yelp! Google+ or Foursquare, they can transfer beliefs of credibility and trustworthiness.
Reviews should be the last thing you look for from a successful transaction with ALL of your clients.
Know What’s Happening on Your Web Site
You never see you visitors. You cannot see their demographics, understand their motivations, nor can you make an emotional sales pitch tailors to them. How do you know what is working and what is not?
Having an analytics program is the most important part of a website. A robust program tells you what is working and what is not, what color schemes are more effective, even what fonts attract your visitors.