“Internet marketing is a process of improvement that never ends.”
If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably got a business website and questioning if it’s working for you.
And if I’m right on that assumption, I can’t emphasise how important it is to grasp and accept the ten words above.
Internet marketing never stops. In fact the pace of change over the last 12 months has been breathtaking; it can even be a little overwhelming even for experienced marketers!
But change can be good. And change should be embraced because those who grasp the benefits of change will prevail.
So while you enjoy Christmas with your family and friends and unwind from the day to day challenges that business throws your way now is a great time to think about the future and what you can do help your business grow.
And when it comes to your website I’ll take a flyer and suggest there’s more improvement to come. How can I be so confident? Because we’ve conducted a comprehensive customer study which shows that the majority of small businesses can do with a little help to make their site work better.
So while you enjoy a nice glass of whatever you fancy over the festive season, take a bit of time to think about these six common problems and what positive action you can take to get more value from your website in 2014.
1. It doesn’t have a purpose
Have you ever consciously asked yourself, “what do I want my site visitors to do?”
A website needs a clear purpose. If it doesn’t have one then you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re pouring money into a black hole.
If you want to sell products online, make sure your star products are visible and make the buying process easy (and if you want a definition of easy give Amazon a try). If you want to generate leads then make sure your phone number is prominent and clickable from a mobile, and that you have an easy to fill contact form with a strong reason to complete it.
And if you think your site is more for information then you should be questioning what users are doing when they get there, if (and how) you can track the benefit of the investment you have made.
2. It doesn’t convert
Extending the theme of point 1, start with the end purpose of your website and in most cases it’ll ultimately be to buy your products, sign up for a newsletter, pick up the phone or fill out an online enquiry form.
So if visitors are not doing that, chances are your website isn’t making this objective very clear, doesn’t have an easy customer journey, or the right price or offers.
And you won’t be alone either. Our own research showed that 45% of SME’s have basic usability mistakes that prevent visitors from making a purchase or leaving an enquiry on their website.
The bottom line is you want your website to generate a return on your investment, and if it’s not doing just that from new or existing customers you need to give some serious thought about changing it. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting a completely new one, but at the very least you will need to make some changes.
3. It isn’t responsive
“Responsive design” is a term floated around a lot nowadays. It simply means a website that will adjust to the screen size it is being viewed on, meaning it will give users a good experience whether they are viewing it on desktop, smartphone or tablet.
So if your website isn’t responsive, you’re very likely alienating a good percentage of your visitors.
Google’s own research indicates that if you’re a local shop, restaurant or taxi service, or selling goods online then the chances are more than a third of your traffic will already be coming from smartphones and tablets; and if they can’t navigate your website easily they will simply go elsewhere.
And regardless of the market you operate in, the percentage of visitors using mobile devices is set to grow at a rapid rate in 2014. So if your site isn’t responsive, you have a major usability problem to resolve.
4. It’s slow
Slow websites are no fun to use and they’re a silent killer when it comes to conversion and return on investment.
In fact, research conducted by Glasses Direct shows that for every second your website takes to load, it is estimated that your conversion rate drops by 7%.
So can you imagine what that means if your website takes 10 seconds to load? Total carnage as far as your return on investment is concerned!
A slow website will increase bounce rate, negatively affect conversions and generally wind up impatient users. If your site is slow, it’s possible you have a bad hosting arrangement, but chances are it’s just not optimised for speed.
5. It looks like it was built in the 90’s
There was a time and a place for shell suits, and website designs have a limited shelf life too.
It’s amazing how many small businesses continue to plod along with websites designed years ago, with the result they just don’t work like they should on today’s Internet.
If your design is more than 5 years old then people will probably think you just simply don’t care about your online presence. It’s time to cast off that virtual shell suit and get yourself something contemporary, yet fitting for your brand and visitor demographic.
6. You can’t do anything about it
It’s amazing to say it as we enter the year 2014 but all too often we deal with small businesses that are effectively held to ransom by web developers charging them for the most basic of site changes.
So let’s be clear on this point; if you have to pay someone to edit your website then either a) your website is too old, b) you can train yourself to do it or c) you’re getting ripped off.
Either way it’s time for a change.
Today, more than 1.4 million UK businesses have websites built on the WordPress platform. The beauty of WordPress is that it comes with an easy to use content management system, which means you can edit content and add pages whenever you like.
No hidden costs; just total flexibility for you to say what you want and edit your website for free. It’s your business after all!
I hope this was a useful read and gives you food for thought over the festive period. And remember if you want to speak to us about our web design services just ask us direct when one of our team is next in touch or drop us an email at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to arrange a more detailed chat.
Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2014!