Is your small business website doing what you want it to—like generating leads, moving those leads through the buyer's journey and driving sales? Odds are most small business owners would say, "yes," but some got a bit of a jolt when they read the recent article (with a very intriguing title), "17 Things People Absolutely Hate About Your Website."
No, Not My Website!
Hate my website? Really? Before you push back, take a look at some of the issues that may send site visitors running for the exit. Do any of the following apply to your site?
- It takes too long to load
- It doesn't work on mobile devices
- The navigation is confusing or cumbersome
- The photography is second-rate and off-putting
- It doesn't have complete contact information
- The "about us" page is rambling, confusing or misleading and doesn't clearly state what your business does
How Well Your Site Works Is a Function of What It's Supposed to Do
Your website should be more than simply photos of your business, or something to boast about, or something you do because someone says you should. It's a critical component of a comprehensive marketing plan, one specifically targeted to the achievement of your principal marketing goals. Said differently, you won't know whether your site is working if you've never asked yourself what it is you want it to do.
Those goals will differ from one business to another, but typically involve things like:
- generating high-quality leads (often through content offers linked to targeted landing pages and online forms);
- building trust with content that answers customer questions and helps them solve problems; and
- delivering a user experience than transforms window shoppers into loyal customers
To know if your website is doing its job, those goals need to be specific and measurable, like generating 1,000 leads a month, pushing 500 downloads of a given article, or increasing conversions by 5%. If you have such goals, and if you're regularly not meeting them, it's time to think about redesigning your website, or building a new one. Before you make that decision, ask yourself the following 4 questions:
1. Are Users Satisfied with the Experience?
More than 90% of site visitors won't return if their experience is less than satisfying (InVision). That could mean several things, from a site that takes too long to load to one with broken links, or one with confusing headlines and fuzzy navigation.
There are 2 principal ways to test how good user experience is on your site, and you should probably use both of them. First, there are many free tools you can use to test your website, like W3C Link Checker, W3C mobileOK Checker and Web Page Analyzer (which test for issues with links, mobile-friendliness and speed, respectively). Second, go to the source: ask users what they think of your site by asking them.
2. Does Your Site Work on Mobile Devices?
According to Search Engine Land, about 60% of all internet searches now originate on mobile devices, like smartphones and laptops. If your site doesn't work on these devices, you could be frustrating 3 of every 5 visitors to it—and that means you're not going to achieve your marketing goals, and that you're going to lose a lot of business.
Remember: those people who can't do what they want to on your site will probably abandon it, and they'll probably never come back. If your site isn't optimized for mobile, you need to think about redesigning it, or building a new site.
3. Has Your Site Changed Along with Your Business?
Chances are your small business has changed in the past 5 years—maybe you've eliminated some products and added others. Maybe you now have 1 or more new locations, or perhaps you're offering new sales, promotions and discounts that weren't even on the horizon back then, or your key marketing objectives have changed.
If your business has changed but your website hasn't, you're giving customers whose trust you want inaccurate information, telling them to purchase products you no longer offer, or even sending them to a store location that's now a parking lot. If your website hasn't changed along with your business, it's time for a change.
4. Are You Using Outdated Versions of Third-Party Tools?
The third-party tools you use to achieve key marketing goals aren't static—the companies that offer them are continually releasing updates that improve their functionality. For example, an ecommerce tool might have a new version which improves the functioning of the shopping cart or makes it easier to search for products.
If you're using those tools, there's a good chance some of your competitors are as well. If they're using an enhanced version that improves user experience and you're not, you've given them a potentially game-changing marketing advantage over you. If several of these tools are outdated, it might be time to think about a site redesign.
To be successful, your small business needs to ensure that every interaction you have with customers and prospective customers is of the highest quality possible, that the sum of those interactions forms the basis of a long-term relationship grounded in trust and reliability. We can provide the tools to help your small business build those relationships. To learn more about the ways our marketing services will you give your small or medium-size business the tools you need to connect with your customers, drive sales and grow your business, try Act! free today.