A lot of business owners publish a website with a “Field of Dreams” mentality.
If you build it, they will come.
Unfortunately, your business website is a late entry into a crowded field.
Just take a look at what happens online every 60 seconds.
If you want your website to provide real business value, you’re going to have to commit to promoting and marketing it. Then, when potential customers click on it, it’s going to have to make a great first impression. It only takes 1/20 of a second for a customer to form an impression of your business website. Here are five reasons your business website is letting you down — and a few ways you can turn things around.
Here are five reasons your business website is letting you down — and a few ways you can turn things around.
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Your Website Looks Like It’s From the 1990s
Not everyone can afford a custom Web design, but you can’t choose a template that looks like it was made during President Bill Clinton’s administration. An unattractive, dated design screams “cheap and out of touch” in those first moments when customers see your website.
Using an online website builder is a terrific way for people without coding and design experience to create and launch a website in minutes. Choose a professional design that makes an incredible first impression on your customers:
- High-quality images. Choose vibrant, high-resolution images with a modern feel. Your online template may include access to stock photos, or you can find great no-cost stock photo options on other sites.
- Simple color schemes. Keep the design clean by choosing templates with no more than two — maybe three if it’s gorgeous — main colors on each page.
- Clutter-free presentation. As you design your site, resist the urge to fill every spare corner with text, widgets, and photos. Less is more when it comes to beautiful and appealing Web design.
No One Can Find It
Potential customers find your website in four primary ways:
- Organic search. Customers search for a business like yours on Google, Bing, Yahoo, or another search site.
- Referral. You publish an ad and the customer clicks it, or customers find a link to your site on another website and click the link. On a mobile device, someone might click through to your website through a link in your app.
- Direct. Someone types your URL into his or her Web browser.
- Social. You share a post on a social network, and followers click back to your site.
How can you make sure that all of these channels lead customers back to your site? Here are some simple ideas for getting started:
With a mix of these activities and a tincture of time, people will start finding your website in their search results more often:
- Optimized on-page copy. Include well-written, thorough, and informative copy on every page of your website. Also, include important keyword phrases that explain your business to both customers and search engines.
- Inbound links. Find ways to entice other sites to link back to your business. Claim your listing on review sites. List your company with Google My Business, Yahoo Local, or Bing Places. Join Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. Publish some articles or guest blog posts.
- Fresh content. Launch a business blog to give search engines a regular dose of new content to crawl. Create an event calendar and refresh it daily or monthly.
Run some social media ads, launch a pay-per-click campaign, or drive traffic through email marketing. Build website traffic through inbound links by publishing content online, or try to get mentioned in local media.
Choose a domain name that immediately makes people think of your company and what you do. Feature your URL on your business cards, in print ads, and in your email marketing.
Choose one or two social networks for your business, and spend time interacting with your community and sharing content. Keep customers in the loop about new products, new blog posts, and new events, always including a link to your site.
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It’s Hard to Navigate
A website with confusing menus and an unclear structure makes customers instantly click away. Use these options to make your website incredibly easy to use and understand:
- Infinite scroll. Visitors are more likely to scroll down a long page than they are to click between multiple pages. Instead of requiring visitors to click between blog pages, infinite scroll makes the next blog post appear right after the first.
- Breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs offers a progressive navigation across the top of each page, usually in a progressive set of buttons or as a series of words separated by a > symbol: follow, you have a lot of flexibility in menu design.
- Easy-to-follow menus. Your menus can be placed in different spots on your page, and they can consist of text, icons, or both. As long as they’re easy for customers to understand and
- Mobile considerations. Good mobile sites don’t require every element of the desktop site squished onto the small screen. Make it simple to navigate by making links and buttons easy to see and tap. Responsive design is the best choice for most business owners when it comes to creating a good mobile experience.
It Takes Forever to Load
When it comes to page load speed, the two-second rule applies. If your page isn’t loaded within two seconds of a click, your customers become more likely to navigate away.
Use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to test your page load speed on both desktop and mobile browsers. If Google identifies serious issues with your loading speed, talk to a developer about making the recommended changes. You can also improve page load speed by minimizing ads, removing Flash content, and adding a caching plug-in. If you’re using WordPress to build your site, for example, use the Jetpack Photon plug-in to improve cache functionality on your site.
Related Article: If You Build It, They Won't Come: 11 Truths About Online Traffic
Put Your Website to Work
Your website should work just as hard as you do to generate revenue for your business. Increase traffic and make a great first impression by improving your online marketing and Web design.