Would you go into a store with busted windows and a doorknob that needed to be jiggled to open?
When your website offers no clear path for visitors, THAT’S THE EXACT IMPRESSION YOU GIVE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS!
And with nearly every business transaction in the U.S. today starting out as an online search and visit to a website, how much business are you possibly missing out on because of your website’s fiddly doorknob? And by “nearly every transaction,” that’s because 89% of B2B transactions begin online.
Take a look at your website. Pretend you’re a potential customer.
- Is it riddled with typos?
- Do you clearly explain your services?
- Is it easy to read?
- Do the pages load FAST?
- Is there an easy way to contact you?
- Do you have to scroll, and scroll, and scroll to find a contact form?
Is your website about you or is it about helping your customers? Do you say how you help your customer or do you just tell visitors what you sell?
If it’s designed for you, you’re doing it wrong.
Go ahead and take a look at your site with those questions in mind and ask yourself – Would I buy from these people?
Would you buy from you?
Don’t Make Me Think
I encourage anyone considering a website to take a few hours to read “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug (download a PDF of the book here or buy a copy here on Amazon) If you make your website visitors think about what you want them to do, you’ve lost them. After all, we’ve got a shorter attention span than a goldfish.
I used to be a “throw it all up” kinda website guy. After reading “Don’t Make Me Think” years ago, I realized that:
- I was wrong
- You can have everything on your website, but you can manage that flow better than cramming everything onto a single page
- Don’t write so damn much on (most) Web pages
Just remember: If your website doesn’t meet the needs of your customers and potential customers; it’s a failure.
Web Infrastructure Is Important Too
Web infrastructure is beyond the scope of both this short post and my knowledge (I gave up on my need to “know everything” years ago as impossible, now I strive to know just enough to be dangerous about some topics). There are three points of Web infrastructure I want to point out:
- Ease of use (for you)
Is your site responsive? That’s the technical jargon for does your site magically (that’s what it looks like to me) reconfigure its layout for different screen sizes – tablets, PCs, laptops, and, of course, the smartphone where over half of searches now take place (though your mileage may vary, your audience may be PC-heavy).
Look at your Google Analytics stats (you have looked at time on site, bounce rate, etc., right?). I’m sure you’ll see 10% to 20% of your traffic is from mobile devices. If your site isn’t responsive, you’re losing those potential customers.
Is the Web content management product (WCM) easy to update? Can you edit/add content, sidebars, calls to actions, and other similar changes without having to call your IT department – or your website partner (and having them deliver you a bill for changes). If it’s not simple to use, keep looking for one that is. You’ll thank me. There are a HUGE number of options for this, including WordPress and HubSpot to start with.
Speed. Websites need to load quickly – after 5 seconds people will start abandoning your site. And they won’t be back.
What’s This Got to Do With Content Marketing?
Content marketing (and inbound marketing) needs a well-organized and modern website to be successful – blogs need to be able to be found easily, landing pages need to be created easily, A/B testing needs to be simple to do, is the basic SEO information entered correctly, and, well, this is an entirely separate post I’m about to start writing.
An inbound strategy can work with an average (or worse) website, but you won’t be getting full value from your investment in that strategy.
Are your website’s windows broken?
Fix them. It’s not as hard as you think. I can help write your Web pages and work with a designer to change your website from a neglected building to a tidy cottage (or colonial or California modern or high rise or, . . . I’ll stop beating the bad analogy horse now).
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, reply below, or give me a call (or text, text is better, what with all the phone spam) at 301-275-7496.