Something that I hear all of the time from small business owners is that they have never had any success with their websites. This can be for all sorts of different reasons. So let’s dig into some of the potential pitfalls that your site could be suffering from.
Can a potential customer find your website?
Let’s first think about some ways that your site could be found by someone looking for your product or service.
Firstly by coming across your website address from OFFLINE advertising methods:
- Business cards and other stationary
- Yellow pages
- Newspaper adverts
- Business vehicle livery
- Local printed matter such as parish newsletters
- Local business directories
- Flyers, posters, postcards etc.
- Plus may other offline advertising options
Or secondly the interested party could find your site involving online methods:
- By typing a query into a search engine like Google.
- Finding your listing in online directories e.g. Yell.com or specific business directories
- They’ve seen your ‘pay per click’ advertising e.g. Google Adwords or Facebook Advertising
- Been exposed to your social media campaigns (yes ANY type of business needs to go there these days)
- The list goes on
Are you actively engaged in any marketing methods that bring about the above criteria?
As a clue:
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Social Media Campaigns
- Pay per Click Advertising
If not then people will have no way to find your website and you have the first two reasons (no or little online or offline advertising) why people may not be visiting your business website.
Other reasons why your site isn’t doing so well
The above are just a few examples of how sites can be found by potential customers, there are many other ways. Now in this next section we’ll look at when the site is found but isn’t as we call in the trade ‘converting’.
Perhaps you’re getting visitors on to your webpages but those visitors are not taking any of your desired actions, like buying or contacting you.
Again there can be several reasons for this:
- There is a total disconnect with the information that they find on the website and what they were looking for.
- The pages load slowly so the visitor clicks away before ever seeing what you have to say
- The website is confusing and they lose patience, again clicking off the site
- Poor spelling and grammar
- Missing contact details
For now we’re going to concentrate on the first item in the above list, ‘content disconnect’.
Understanding what the potential customer wants
To have a successful site you have to understand what a potential customer wants to see when they get to your site. It will depend on the business and the page type as to what that actually may be.
The first, and one of the most important points that I want to get across here is that your site is about THEM and NOT you! I see this mistake a lot, let me illustrate.
Vanity on a site is getting it so wrong
I recently had cause to be on a local business site selling components and the whole of the text on the main homepage was about their business background and bragging of outdated awards won. There was nothing about what they offer for their customers. That’s a big mistake and the waste of a valuable area of their website.
If you want to share your business story then there is a place on the website to do that it’s called an ‘About page’, the clue is in its name. IF a visitor wants more background info on the company they can choose to click on the ‘about page’ and take a look.
Don’t make vanity your mistake or you risk failure with your site.
Make it about them…
The information that you DO need to get on the crucial pages of your site should address the needs of the visitor effectively and QUICKLY. Quickly because the attention span online is minuscule! If a visitor doesn’t see what they want in the first few seconds they are gone, likely never to return.
So spend some time getting into the nitty gritty of what your visitors need and have pages on your site that answer their needs.
We’ve covered some of the main problems encountered for ineffective websites and in part two of this analysis we’ll look at what needs to be done to make websites more effective.