Successful websites do more than just provide an online brochure. They are dynamic, interactive places that form the backbone for all internet marketing efforts. As such, they need to provide a handful of basic functions and do them well. Most business websites do a few of these tasks well yet fail in other areas. For example, the site may drive from the search engines but fails to convert leads.
Unfortunately, if your website doesn’t succeed in all steps of the online marketing process, it can quickly turn into nothing more than an online brochure.
Here are five reasons your website may not be working and what you can do to fix it:
It Doesn’t Serve Your Visitors
As you plan a new website, it’s easy to get caught up in fancy design and flashy (or flash) gimmicks. In the process it’s easy to forget why you are building the website in the first place. As that glossy finish begins to fade, you can find yourself with a very expensive billboard that doesn’t serve your needs.
Visitors to your website are seeking some sort of information. This could range from basic research about your company to complex solutions to their problems. One of the most important things you can do is help them find it. This means that your site must be easy to navigate and guide the visitor both to the information they seek and the information you want them to see.
Step back and look at your website from the perspective of your perfect client. What do you see? Are the sidebars cluttered with links and images or is the text too small to read? Read the text on the page. Were you compelled to read through the entire page or did you find yourself quickly losing interest? Is it cluttered with images that don’t fit the flow of the website?
Remember, you only have a few precious moments to capture your visitor’s attention. Fail to do so and they will move on to the next site. First impressions count.
If your home page is busy and hard to follow, simplify. Select 4-5 menu items that can be used to help the visitor find what they are seeking. Provide too many options and your visitor will become overwhelmed and “bounce” away from your site.
You can always group items under those four or five categories but a clean, easy to follow website will always do better than a website which is cluttered and hard to navigate.
Website Doesn’t Capture Lead Information
You may be driving great traffic to your website but if you don’t have a way to capture lead information, those visitors are nothing more than just that–traffic.
One of the most effective ways to capture lead information is to offer your visitor something in exchange for their contact info. This could be an ebook, video presentation, webinar or other information that helps solve a problem. A high quality ebook or white paper not only provides an opportunity to capture contact info, it can provide an insight into problems and interests. It can also be used to persuade the reader to the benefits of a given solution and lead potential clients to the next step in the sales funnel.
You’re Not Blogging or Not Doing it Well
Blogs are one of the most powerful ways to bring a visitor to a website. They give your reader a reason to visit and come back again. Good blog content can generate valuable incoming links and as you add high quality pages to your website, you provide more opportunities for Google to index your site and move you up the search engine rankings. (For more on this concept, download the ebook Blog to the Top)
The key to a good blog is to provide the information your visitor seeks and do it again. If all you do is post your latest press release or announce company sales leaders then your blog isn’t going to work. Although you may be excited about your latest big client or new widget, unless it directly helps your visitor they really don’t care.
Yes, you can blog about company developments and should now and then. However, if that’s all you do you at the expense of providing value to your visitors, your blog will quickly fail.
Site Is Hard to Manage or Update
This seems fairly basic but if you have to turn to the IT department every time you need to update your website then the site isn’t working. Making changes to your website or adding new pages and posts should be no more difficult than using a word processor. If you can’t easily add blog posts, videos, slide presentations, infographics or other content to your website than it isn’t working.
Modern websites such as those built with WordPress make website management easy. If technical challenges are preventing you from creating a dynamic, up to date place for your visitors to engage and interact then it is failing you and costing you business.
It Isn’t Optimized for the Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t rocket science or some sort of technological voodoo. It is nothing more than the process of letting the search engines know what is on the page and providing the tools to make sharing and promotion easy. SEO starts with a well built website and continues through the daily publishing of blog posts and web pages. Once the tools are in place, it should be a simple part of the publication process.
Making Your Website Work
None of the problems outlined above are hard to fix but they can take time and effort. Some will require a rethinking of your website and possibly a new web design. If you find yourself facing a number of these issues, use the points above when setting goals and screening possible web designers or internet marketing consultants.
Remember, your online marketing efforts revolve around your website. If it doesn’t work for you chances are it’s not working for your visitors and if it doesn’t work for your visitors than you are losing business.
If your website isn’t working for you, contact us today for a free inbound marketing review and website analysis. We will help you create a plan for internet marketing success.