I have assessed a lot of websites for my clients and have found that they are redundant i.e they do not do much to help the company get more leads and sales. They are almost invisible and only people who have dealt with the company know of their existence. This defeats the whole purpose of having the website in the first place. A vibrant website should help you get new customers and thus grow your brand.
Let me explain to you the signs that your website is ineffective and show you how you can turn that around.
(If you do not have a website continue reading so that when you get a website you can set things right from the start)
Most Websites are Practically Dead
I have come to the conclusion that most entrepreneurs get their own websites because it is a ‘logical & modern’ thing to do. They never really think about what they want the website to help them achieve. Ultimately, the website is nothing more than a worthless asset that only appears on the business card.
The website owners can go for days or even months without even visiting it themselves! I have heard of website owners who hear that their website is down from a customer. All these are signs that the website is practically dead. If it were alive and contributing to the brand then the website owners would watch it like a hawk.
Assess your website’s effectiveness through these questions
Sit down with your team and ask yourself these questions to evaluate your website’s contribution to your business.
-Is your website adding value to your brand, can the information on it initiate a sale?
-How many sales does it contribute say per month?
-How many visitors do you get on your website per month?
-Where do these visitors come from and what pages do they visit on your website?
-If your website goes down for a week would your sales be affected?
-Does the information on your website answer the common questions your prospective customers have?
If you are like many of the businesses around then your answers to the above questions will be unsatisfactory. Fortunately, this can be rectified. Let me show you how.
How to Make your Website a Vital, Lively Aspect of your Business
Enough of the depressing stuff, let’s now tackle more exciting stuff and see how that website can become a major player in your marketing team.
The following are characteristics of effective websites and yours should have them too.
Effective Websites have Targetted Copy
Copy refers to the content (words) written on your website. The homepage on your website is the most visited page and as such, it should have the ability to grab and hold your visitors’ attention through great copy.
People have small attention spans on the internet. Some reports claim that you have 15 seconds to get the attention of a visitor before they press the back button. People will exit your website before learning more about your great products if the copy on the homepage is unclear/confusing or simply ineffective.
Your homepage copy should:
-clearly show what your business does
-communicate the value that you offer to the visitor. In other words, it should explain why they should care about what you do/sell.
-Set the tone of the business and help visitors navigate to other pages.
For you to produce such targetted copy you need to know your buyer personas and their pain points. I have written an in-depth article on our other website for content writing services titled ‘ How to Use Customer Pain Points in Content Marketing to Increase Conversions’. The article will help you understand what buyer pain points are.
If you are not sure who you are writing or selling to then you will not be able to have targetted copy on the homepage. Let us use an illustration here. If you visit our website www.contentforgrowth.com you will see the following text first:
“We Help Your Business Grow By Providing Quality Content
We Handle Your Content, So That You Can Focus On Your Core Business”
Most of my clients usually have ineffective copy on their homepage. Some have their mission and vision as the first content that visitors see. Others spend a lot of space narrating their company history and only mention their products in passing. This ultimately turns visitors away as they cant relate their problem to your product/solution.
Effective copy doesn’t just end on the homepage, after getting their attention, you want to further convince them so that they can convert (i.e buy, sign up to a newsletter or some other desired action). This means that your copy on the other pages should also be effective.
For example, on your products/services page, you should have copy that persuades your customer to buy. A major mistake I see web owners make is to spend a lot of time describing features of their products rather than the benefits.
A good rule in copywriting is to sell the benefits first and then the features later.
If your customers stay for a long time on your website Google will see that you have useful content and will send you more customers from search results. In both cases, you benefit immensely.
Effective Websites have Clear Call-To-Actions (CTA’s)
You need to clearly show your visitor what action they must take on your website. Even if you have effective copy your website will not be effective if the visitor is not sure of what to do next. You need to have your CTA’s in plain sight and they should stand out.
Don’t leave your customer hanging.
The following are examples of CTA’s that you can use on your website or even social media pages :
-Buy Now’/“Add to cart”
-“Try it Now”
Having CTA’s that are appealing and well positioned will greatly improve the effectiveness of your website.
Effective Websites are Updated Regularly via Blog Posts
When was the last time you updated your website?
One clear sign of a redundant website is that it may go for a year or more without any updates. This is extremely bad and damaging on many levels.
For starters, Google loves fresh content so the more you update your site with quality content the higher you are likely to rank in search results. Another reason is that updating content regularly gives your customers a reason to come back to your site time and again. When you update your content regularly you also can appear in search results which means you can get even more visitors from Google which can turn into customers.
Your website should have a blog section where you put up articles that are relevant to your industry. You can write articles that answer some of the most common questions your customers have. You can also write articles on trending issues that are pertinent to your niche.
Regular updates on topical issues in your industry have an added benefit. They can help establish you as an expert in the eyes of your audience. You will then become the go-to person and this will mean more business for you. The benefits you accrue from writing content are plenty. You can explore them on our content website in the article titled ‘7 Great Reasons Why Content Marketing is Important For Your Business’.
Without regular content updates, your website can never be effective.
Track your Website stats to glean priceless stats from your website
One advantage of digital marketing today is that you can get information feedback from all your marketing activities. This is priceless! If you know how to play around with that information you can use it to get ahead of your competition.
You can track the following metrics on your website:
-How many people are visiting your website
-the most popular pages on your website
-the keywords that they are using to find your business on Google search
-time spent on site
-conversion rate (how many people are taking a desired action on your site)
-bounce rate (the number of people who come on the site and leave without clicking anything)
With this information, you can then fine-tune your content, strategy etc. For example, if you see that people are finding your page through a particular keyword you can then write more content around that keyword so that you get more visitors.
Not only can you measure this for your own site, but you can also see some stats from your competitors’ website.
For example, you can also see their top pages and keywords and you can use this to create more content that includes that keyword so that you can also compete in search rankings. Admittedly, this is a bit technical and complex but it is a critical component of an effective website.
Link your Website to social media to make it more effective
Unless you are behind technology, your business should have social media pages. They are a critical part of your online presence and you should connect them to your websites. Wherever possible, you should direct your customers from social media to your website because that’s where you can turn them into customers more effectively.
All the updates you publish on your website should be posted to your social media pages automatically.
Link your Website to Google maps to make it easy for customers to find you
If you run a local business like a hardware shop, a boutique etc then you need to list on Google maps. Listing on Google maps has many advantages for your business and I explain them in my article titled ‘How to Massively Boost Your Sales by Listing on Google Maps. ‘How to Massively Boost Your Sales by Listing on Google Maps.
An Effective Website Makes It Easy for Customers to Contact you
This is a very critical aspect. Your customers should not have to grope around to contact you. If they can’t easily find contact information they can exit the page.
An obvious way to fix this is to have a “Contact Us’ page with a clear link in the menu. You should also have the contact details on every page. When I develop websites for my clients I make sure that I put their contact details on a footer that appears on every page.
You should also make it easy for clients to send you a quick email via a form on the website.
Facebook and WhatsApp are great platforms to converse with your clients. It greatly beneficial if you have buttons that take your customers directly to your inbox on these platforms. I have an in-depth article that shows ‘How to Use WhatsApp to Grow Your business‘ with more tips.
Having an effective website will put you ahead of your competition. You will turn your website from being a liability to being a valuable asset that contributes to your bottom line. It does take time and continuous effort but the benefits far outweigh the effort.
You need to look at your website and compare it with the tips I have given above and see where you may be falling short and take the necessary steps.
What are your thoughts on this issue? If you have a website is it effective? If not, where is it falling short?
If you are a customer do you agree that effective business websites also improve your user experience? Are there any other symptoms of ineffective websites that I have left out? Leave your thoughts below.
You can get in touch with me for an assessment of your website and social media pages.
If you do not have a website for your organisation we can develop one for you and set things right from the start.