Does my website suck?
Confirming what you already know.
Has it been 3 years since you’ve thought about your business’ web presence? Then there’s a very good chance that it sucks. For better or for worse, internet trends and technologies are evolving at a blistering rate and your clients’ expectations are growing with them.
Facing the facts
If your website’s outdated you can probably feel it. Maybe it takes forever to load a page, or doesn’t work just right on your iPad, or looks like it was designed in the mid ‘90s. It’s one thing to say that your website is old; the difficult part can be understanding where and why your current website is under performing.
Below are some common issues that we encounter with small business websites every single day. Take a good hard look at your own site and see how it holds up.
Does it get results?
When all is said and done, results are what matter. Your business’ online strategy needs to have clear, focused, measurable goals that help you define success. It doesn’t matter how many site visits your website gets, or the hoard of Twitter followers you’ve gathered. If those things don’t translate into a measurable return for your business, you need to reevaluate your online strategy.
Many small businesses that we work with are looking for a simple fiscal return on investment: “I want my website to make more money than I spend maintaining it.” But there are many other interesting ways a website can compliment your business. For instance, it can help recruit talented employees, gather intel about your customers, build a community around your product or service, or showcase your business’ culture.
Spending the time to plot out your business goals and define success for your web presence is the first step in insuring it doesn’t suck.
Does it thrive on phones and tablets?
Your customers have gone mobile, and that’s good for business! That is… as long as your website is ready. You may have heard buzzwords like “Responsive Design” or “Mobile First,” but there’s more to consider here than just technology.
Engaging with customers on the move provides new opportunities for you to be there for them when and where they need you. Consider the information that mobile users will be looking for: Directions? Store hours? Phone number? The content featured on your mobile site should anticipate the needs of mobile visitors and provide them with the appropriate action to take.
As if you needed another reason to take your business website mobile, in April 2015 Google updated their search algorithm to rank websites that are mobile-friendly above those that aren’t. Which brings me to our next question...
Can your customers find it?
Try this quick experiment: Open up a new tab in your web browser and do a Google search using keywords from your industry the way a potential customer might try and find your product or service on their own.
How’d it go? Did you come up first in the results? It’s not easy; search engine optimization (SEO) is a difficult but critical aspect of maintaining a business website. There are many things that your website could be doing, from a technology and web standards standpoint, to help Google get you in front of potential customers.
Additionally, regular content updates, blog posts, and even social media engagement can help boost your search rankings. Staying relevant online will require time and effort; unfortunately, the set-it-and-forget-it method doesn't fair too well online. At the end of the day, if your customers cannot find your website, it sucks.
Are you proud of it?
Your website is a reflection of your business and your business is a reflection of you… see where I’m going here? The modern customer is doing her homework before opening her wallet. Having a website design that's simple, clean, professional and matches your brand will have a tremendous impact on your visitors’ decision making.
If you’re embarrassed to link people to your current website because of how it looks, there’s a good chance that it’s not living up to it’s max potential. While I’ve heard that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, in the 2-second attention span world that we live in, a shiny new cover certainly doesn’t hurt.
Alright, alright, my website sucks... what are the options?
Google provides some incredibly powerful free resources to help improve the effectiveness of your website. Let's start there:
Google Analytics is an astoundingly powerful service for gathering metrics about the visitors on your site. Find out where they’re coming from, how long they stay, what they see and click, and more.
Google Webmasters will help you identify specific problem areas and missed opportunities within your current website. Additionally, you can find out what keywords and phrases people are searching for that lead them to your site.
Google Trends should be used in conjunction with Google Webmasters to track search patterns. Use it to insure that you're providing the right content at the right time.
If you're still wondering if your small business website sucks, feel free to reach out for a free consultation and I'll be more than happy to let you know. Trust me.