In today’s day and age, your web page is more than just an address. It is the face of your company. Neilson/Norman Group found that “bad” websites are abandoned in the first 10 seconds, while “good” websites tend to be explored for 2 minutes or more. Many consumers will decide within seconds of visiting your site if they will hire or make a purchase from you or not. There are a ton of advertisements for companies like Wix and Square Space, among others, that promise a low cost, easy to manage, website. Usually the purpose of a business site is to move your customer through the sales process, and if you don’t have the knowledge of how to layout a fresh looking page or how to use keywords that your customers are searching for, your site is no different than your competitors and might not get found. Let me tell you why your website isn’t working for you like it should be.
- It’s hard to find the information that I am seeking
Just because you have a business doesn’t make the point of your website clear. Your potential customers are going to your site to research your business or products. You need to have your information easily accessible on your pages. It must be easy to navigate and minimize the number of clicks that a user will need to make to get the information they are looking for to make a decision if they want what you offer. There are so many ways to make your other pages accessible from all the rest by using sticky menus, sidebars, footers, a sitemap, and anchor text on each page. You need to think like your user and try to imagine how they would want to navigate your website and what information they are going to want to know first.
- It doesn’t look like you spent a lot of time on it
Just having a web address has proved to not be enough since 94% of people cited web design as the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website. Customers see your web page design as a clue to how much care you put into even the littlest detail. As mentioned above, the layout needs to display the information they seek in a clean and easy to digest method. There are a number of statistics floating around outlining the psychology of web page layouts that support a decision to hire a professional designer over trying to build your own site. For instance, most internet users look at pages in an “F” pattern not a “Z” pattern, are more likely to read lists with bullet points than a paragraph, and darker color schemes are likely to produce a higher growth rate over lighter ones. If you still insist on building your own site due to budget reasons, at minimum, I highly suggest you consult a designer about your site before you hinder the ability for your site to serve your business successfully right out of the gates.
- It is difficult to view on my mobile phone
Google says that online searches on mobile devices has now surpassed those performed on a desktop. Of those, 77% of mobile searches are done at work or home when there may be a desktop available. We have entered a whole new world of smart phones and tablets with a variety of screen sizes. Google has recently changed their mobile search algorithm to provide their users with a better experience that knocks your site if it is not mobile friendly (test your site HERE). Your site shouldn’t just shrink its content to fit the screen so that it is impossible to read on smaller devices. A responsive website will reorganize the content to fit on any screen size so that it is readable and still easy to navigate. Website content management platforms like WordPress and Magento have thousands of themes that are by default responsive to browser or screen sizes, but that default can sometimes hurt you instead of help you if it is harder to navigate and access the information your customer is looking for. Always build a website for mobile first and then desktop.
- It takes forever to load on my device
Studies show that 40% of users will leave a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. We are a society that expects to have things the minute we want them and this couldn’t be more the case when it comes to information. If it takes a long time (and by long time, I’m talking about 3-8 seconds) to load each page, your customer is most likely not going to surf your website. Faster load times equate to a lower bounce rate from your website to your competition’s. There are many things that can help speed up load times like good server hosting, cache plugins, and low file sizes for images, just to name a few. Good web developers know the importance of quick load times and always build websites with this in mind.
- I don’t know what your page is from Google’s search engine results page
Google, and the other search engines for that matter, have a snippet underneath each website title that lets you know what the page is about so that you know what you are getting before you even click on the link. Since 78% of internet users conduct product research online, it is important that you have a good description of your page for the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Meta titles and meta descriptions should be loaded with long tail keywords so that when your customer is searching for what you offer, your business ranks higher up the SERP than your competition. In all searches conducted, 70% of users click on organic results, 53% of the organic search clicks go to the first link, and most importantly, 75% of users never click past the first page. On top of that, 89% of searchers will modify their search and try again if at first they do not succeed. That means 9 out of 10 people trust that the information that they seek is available of them via the internet. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is not only important in getting your URL to pop up on the first page of the SERP but to hook your potential customer into clicking on your link.
So before you fall for signing up with one of those companies that claim to give you a website for cheap, remember that you will get what you pay for. Do your research before buying into this notion that you can get the same product for pennies on the dollar that you will when paying a professional developer. Of course, you have to do what you can within your budget, especially if you are a startup company, but most good online marketing companies will give you a free evaluation or consultation of your online presence and at least help guide you in the right direction until you can afford their services. I recommend heeding my warning is even more so if you are in a niche market like Crossfit gyms or Golf courses. I recently met with business owners from both of these markets that thought they HAD to use companies like Boxally or Golfnow Solutions for their websites so they could integrate certain features that they claim you can only get with their company. We were able to provide a better product & service, a better return on investment, for less money per month, and a more personal relationship with their business. So go take inventory of your webpage and make sure that you are not hindering your user’s experience and your ability to get more customers!