Part One: Your Website Design is Showing its Age
Most business owners can appreciate the importance of having an appealing website design. After all, your website acts as a virtual business place for potential customers seeking to learn more about what you have to offer. Your website also serves as the foundational piece of all other marketing activities, a place to drive advertising-generated traffic to (instead of relying on customers to remember your phone number), and a powerful lead capturing tool when properly optimized. That said, some of the worst and most common online marketing mistakes businesses still make is resting their laurels on a poorly designed and aging website.
Here’s part one of our two part series on the 12 most common signs and symptoms that your website requires a little or a lot of surgery in order to attract, convert and retain more customers:
Sign and Symptom #1 | Your Website Design Screams DIY:
Your friend’s neighbour’s dog-breeder’s son built it for you. To be fair, perhaps your website was designed when you were bootstrapping your business start-up. Or maybe you accepted your buddy’s offer to have his son work on customizing a WordPress template for you. If you are trying to grow your business and build brand awareness with a website design that evenly remotely looks DIY (pixelated images, poorly sized or scaled logo and imagery, unpolished copy, cluttered or poorly managed layout, confusing navigation etc.) you are seriously stalling your efforts in establishing your business as an industry expert or authority.
Even if your website looks alright, how hard is it for you to get help maintaining it as needed? Many business owners who take the informal route end up losing contact with the person who designed their website when updates and repairs are needed.
And there is a difference between throwing a website up online, versus website design and development with a focus on client conversion. One serves as a static digital billboard, while the other serves as a potentially powerful lead conversion machine.
Sign and Symptom #2 | Poor or Confusing Navigation:
Have you ever experienced the teeth-grinding anger of finding your way in a new town with a co-pilot that couldn’t read a map to save their life? Finding your way through a website with poor or confusing navigation brings about the same sort of feelings sporadic cussing.
Keep your website navigation concise and easy to understand. Start by understanding your online buyer’s journey. And resist the urge to get overtly creative by using unconventional terminology for your webpages. A frustrated customer trying to reach you for product support is only going to be confused and unenthused about finally finding your contact information on your “Hey There” Page.
Sign and Symptom #3 | Website Imagery That Reflects Your Fondness for Everything 80s:
Some company websites (a few all-inclusive travel sites, for example) are still featuring imagery from a pre-millennium professional photo shoot they had done. In doing so, they’re hoping no one will notice the feathered hairstyles, the 80’s high cut bathing suits, the wedding party’s cummerbunds, the waiter’s brown poly uniform and the men’s terry shorts, while others rely on obvious stock imagery.
The risks you run by relying on imagery that is either too obviously stock, or that you don’t have exclusive rights to are:
- Giving customers the impression that your business is cold, covert, generic or ingenuine. When people visit your website, they want to see actual imagery of your products, people, and storefront.
- The imagery people begin to associate with your brand is simultaneously being used by a competitor or other, unflattering industry: The beautiful model you’ve been featuring in all your brand awareness ads just so happens to now be the face of a fast-acting laxative brand. “Oh crap!”
Commercial photography services may seem daunting, but consider that the imagery you feature on your website conveys a lot about who you are—your brand’s perceived value—and what customers should expect from your products and services. A well-directed photo shoot is likely more do-able and affordable than you realize. A good website design and development team will help you acquire the best imagery for your website.
Sign and Symptom #4 | Your Website Design is Not Mobile Friendly:
This reminds me of my first rollerblading experience. Seriously! (Trees are very effective at stopping moving things). Anyhow…
Notice how everyone’s face seems to be buried in their smartphones? If it isn’t already, you’d be wise to make your website design responsive and mobile friendly. You want to create an easy and comfortable experience for your customers whether they visit your storefront, or visit your website from their smartphones, tablets and laptops. Visitors don’t want to have to zoom in and out to view your webpages. Mobile friendly navigation and content is pertinent if you wish to establish a positive online presence and convert more customers.
Sign and Symptom #5 | Your Website Isn’t Optimized:
Perhaps your website is up, your sitemap has been submitted to the 3 major search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) and you think everything’s fine because you are getting some traffic.
Optimizing your website can be as simple as compressing imagery, replacing missing Alt attributes and H1 and H2 tags. Or it can be as complex as optimizing content and implementing lead capture tools and conversion funnels.
Your website’s optimization needs are going to depend on what kind of website you have—its intended purpose—and how your target customers interact with it. SEO is best left to the professionals and is one of the top reasons why business owners decide to hire the help of an online marketing team for webpage optimization.
Sign and Symptom #6 | Important Content Falls Below the Fold:
Imagine your website as a person wearing a belt. The first thing most people see when they meet a person is their face, and everything above the waistline. People don’t usually pay much attention to what’s below the belt unless they are, u-hem, taking the relationship a whole lot further. Keep this analogy in mind when determining the layout of your imagery, offers and key messaging on each page of your website. The most pertinent and appealing content should always be above the fold. Customers will scroll down only after they decide they want more.
Choosing the Right “Website Design Surgeon”:
Excellent website design is more than just a pretty face. It’s a potentially powerful lead conversion tool that serves as the foundation of all your other brand awareness and marketing activities. And it doesn’t end with aesthetics—the next step it to examine your website content to ensure its effective at converting more leads into qualified customers: Visit part two of this series for the remaining #6 most common symptoms that your website content is seriously lacking.
Or reach out to our team of online marketing and web development specialists at McAllister Marketing. From design and strategy, to SEO and inbound marketing, we help our customers attract, convert and retain more customers.