Is your website bringing you business and getting the word out about your amazing thing? If not, read on to find out some things people often miss when creating their first business website.
Beware the Bright & Shiny Syndrome
Getting your website up and running is such a great feeling. It can be a real milestone for a new entrepreneur – a bright and shiny declaration to the world that you are open for business! It legitimizes you.
So of course, you’re excited.
You dream of all the people who will make their way to your site to take advantage of the unique thing you offer. You spend your precious time and money to get it just right, and finally…tada!! You launch.
And then you wait. And wait. And wait some more.
At some point, you wonder why no one is coming to your site and that original feeling of legitimacy and excitement quickly morphs into doubt, insecurity, and discouragement.
So…why isn’t your website working?
The ‘bright-and-shiny syndrome’ can be dangerous if it blinds you to the real main reason you need a website. A business needs to make sales. Period. More than likely, you – or whoever created your site – didn’t focus enough on making your site a marketing machine. Long gone are the days where brochure-type websites are effective.
Your site doesn’t have to be fancy, but it has to be created thoughtfully to maximize how it brings in customers.
Avoid these common problems that keep sites from being marketing machines.
The Cart Is in Front of the Horse
It’s so easy to get the cart before the horse by assembling a website and thinking your job is done. But it is vital to take the time to lay a good foundation and a thriving audience, which leads to customers. Before you even think about creating a website, you want to gain clarity about why you even exist, what you are offering, who your audience is and your marketing and business goals. The answers will inform how your site should look, feel and function. Without this clarity, you are just guessing.
Action: Take the time to go back and get clear. Why are you in business? What is your core meessage and how will it connect with your audience? Need help? Check out 101 Questions to Gain Clarity
More Beauty than Function
We’ve all cringed at a really ugly website. You know, the one that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2002? But, many of us swing in the opposite direction and pay too much attention to making it pretty.
While visual appeal is important, the primary thing is that your site does its job and functions well.
Many people selling websites are skilled in visual design but may not know anything about sales funnels, copywriting or marketing strategy.
Action: List the top 2-3 things your visitor might want to accomplish when visiting your site and see if there is a clear roadmap for doing each.
Website text is not something to be overlooked or slapped together. Your words are more important than all of the imaging and special effects in the world. Why? Because a website is fundamentally about communication, and meaningful words still win the day.
Your copy needs to be clear, concise and directive. Can visitors tell within a few seconds WHAT you do and HOW it benefits them?
Action: Ask 2-3 people to look around your site for no more than 3 minutes and answer, “What problem am I trying to solve?”
It’s All About YOU
The most important thing to remember in your marketing efforts is that your potential customer is always asking “What’s in it for me?” Your website is actually not about you, but about how you will solve problems for your customers. It’s all about serving THEM and not yourself.
Shifting your focus to concentrate on your customer/audience will change how you write, how you interact and how you are perceived online.
The best mantra is to help,help,help,help….SELL! There is a ton of helping that comes before someone might actually want to buy what you are selling. So make it your mission to help at every turn.
Action: Look honestly at your front page. Does it feel more like a brochure that lists a bunch of product features or is it clear what’s in it for them? Have at least one piece of content on each page that can actually helps; maybe a video that solves a problem or a blog that gives away helpful tidbits.
Ultimately, the reason your website exists is to gain more customers, so your site must be created with that in mind. Do you have a solid understanding of the path a visitor will take to get from stranger to being a customer? This is known as the buyer’s journey and it all starts with that initial relationship.
When people ‘walk through your doors’ they have shown an interest in you. Don;t waste this opportunity to begin a relationship.We all have short attention spans these days! Oftentimes, people might like your site and plan to return but will forget about you quickly. Make sure you offer opportunities for people to opt-in to your mailing list from your site so you can begin that relationship and keep your business in their mind.
Make sure you offer opportunities for people to opt-in to your mailing list from your site so you can begin that relationship and keep your business in their mind.
Action: What can you give away that is so valuable, your visitor will ‘pay’ with their email address? This might be advice, tricks of the trade, secret, etc. Translate that into an article a video, an infographic or a downloadable to use as a lead magnet.
Your Site is Invisible or Forgotten
“Build it and they will come” does not apply to web design! Creating your website is just the first step to making a splash online. Once you have tackled the above problems and your site is ready, then you have to do the work so that people can find you.
There are many ways to drive traffic to your site such as distributing content on social channels, using solid SEO tactics and building relationships with others who will link back to your site. These things must be done regularly and relentlessly. There is no magic bullet here, just good old-fashioned consistency and patience. Over time you will notice that your traffic is increasing and you will begin to gain an audience.
If you don’t do these things, your website will remain a ghost town.
Sometimes our sites are just forgotten because we assume it’s on auto-pilot doing its job, while we go about our other business. Wrong. Your website is a living, breathing thing needs to be tended to, updated and monitored.
Action: Set up Google analytics and look at it once a week to see where your traffic is coming from, what content is popular and what needs to change.
Yay…you are now armed with some action items that will get your website in better shape!
As you grow, it is easy to develop gaps in your marketing. Join me for a friendly chat to explore your business needs, analyze your online presence and brainstorm your next steps. You will come away with 3-5 things you can do right away to create a vibrant online presence that gets you results!