5 signs that you are doing it wrong
People are looking at your website – well, surely someone has – at some point – and what are they looking at? Have you seen the movie Gladiator? Well, your potential customer’s mind is the Colosseum, and you’ve just been thrown in with your competitors to fight to the death. It’s entirely possible that no one survives, but you still have to defeat your competition dressed as evil beasts wielding morning stars – that’s a spiked club. Imagine that the strength of your armor and the coolness factor of your weapons are determined by how the potential customer perceives your website versus the competition’s. How are you stacking up against that beast? Armed with only your tighty–whities and a ping-pong paddle? Go get ’em tiger.
Here are a few things that you may be getting whooped at: lead-generation, clear paths, mobile optimization, seo and identity.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas and some common signs that this area isn’t your current website’s strong point. See, that was a polite way of saying “sucks.”
No lead generation
Web design has changed, and so has how we (as consumers) use the web. As a research tool, it’s grown wildly – so wildly in fact that business can’t afford to ignore such a massive portion of the buying process, and this is where lead-generation enters the picture. Lead-generation is the “what’s next” step between researching and purchasing. It may be setting up a demo or phone call with them. It could also be sending an email with research supporting the value of your product. One thing lead-generation offers for certain – control. It can provide more control over what happens when users interact with information on your site. If you’re not doing this, you’re missing out on an opportunity to build a relationship with your prospect earlier in the buying process!
No clear goal
When prospects visit your website, is there a clear path for them to follow? What is your goal? Are you trying to gain subscribers? Leads? Social interaction? Awareness? You really do have to create a “path of least resistance” to minimize prospects falling off during the web experience. We (people) are easily distracted by shiny objects, and we’re easily confused by too many choices, so make it easy! Your website should have specific flows for each specific kind of customer. If you’re not doing this, how many people aren’t finding what you want them to find?
No mobile optimization
Holy cow folks. Can I just say that the year is 2016. Let’s also be perfectly clear, your website shrinking the entire page down into an itty-bitty unreadable space – is NOT being mobile-optimized.
1. 72% of consumers want mobile-friendly sites (Source: Google Research)
2. Globally, mobile traffic is about 30 percent of all internet activity. (based on data from StatsCounter Global Stats)
3. 67% of consumers are more willing to buy a product or use a service on a mobile-friendly site (Source: Google Research)
4. 70% of mobile searches result in action being taken within an hour as opposed to a week for desktop searches (Source: Mediative Labs 2012)
5. (If you’re not doing this, do we really need to list a #5?)
Whether you like it or not, search engines rule the world of web, and when search engine optimization is neglected, so is the biggest potential pool of traffic. SEO is the most overlooked component of web design, because it’s not easy to do right. Search engines are making it easier, moving toward a model where good quality content is rewarded (and keyword stuffing is frowned upon), but there’s still a lot of geek-factor to SEO, and there probably will be for quite a while. Perfoming SEO, both initially and ongoing, is a separate task from designing the site, but it works best when it’s done WHILE designing the site. Do you see your site rising in search engine rankings, or are you sinking? When you ignore SEO, search engines ignore you.
Lack of identity
Your website fonts, colors, graphics, imagery and tone should match your brand, and that means first establishing a Brand Guide (if you don’t already have one). You build your brand for a reason, and that reason is (should be) a big part of the customer experience. That experience is happening on your website too! If your website doesn’t match your brand, you’re potentially showing guests that both your website and the people who use aren’t that important.
Your website is your digital storefront, and with a growing portion of the buying process taking place online, you can’t afford to ignore those visitors any more than one that walks into your business.
Customers do the same thing online AND in-store when they’re being ignored. They leave, and they don’t come back.