Your 7 Step Checklist to a Company Website That Brings You Customers
This post originally appeared here: Your 7 Step Checklist to a Company Website That Brings You Customers
Most companies understand the value of having an official website for their brand, but how can you make sure that your website is really doing the most it can to help promote and grow your business?
Many corporate websites are completely ineffective. It is not at all uncommon to see websites that are not mobile-responsive, use cliché color schemes, have a cluttered layout and generally do not serve the purpose of promoting that company and encouraging users to buy from them.
A large part of the reason behind this problem is that a great majority of companies had their websites designed several years ago and simply never had them updated. Sure, the site may have looked great and been on the cutting edge of web design best-practices back then, but does it still look and feel relevant to today’s users? Is it designed in a way that presents a clear, engaging view of your brand? Does it convert well and motivate users to do business with you, or does it turn them off and prompt them to do business with your competition?
If you have been questioning whether or not your company website is up to snuff, this 7 step checklist is just for you. Here we’ll cover several critical aspects of great company websites that you can use to determine if your current website is really living up to its full potential, or if there is still some work to be done.
1: How many different items are on your homepage? If your page is cluttered, visitors will likely leave because they feel overwhelmed.
This is probably the most common issue I see as a web design consultant. Many websites, especially outdated ones, implemented designs that were not user-friendly and that did not focus on simplicity when it came to interacting with the site.
When a user lands on your website, they probably have a problem. If you are an IT Consultant, their computer is probably broken. If you are a stock broker, they probably want to invest. Whatever that problem is, they have an urgent need and they have come to your site looking for a solution. The problem arises when your page does not immediately inform the user that you can solve that problem, that urgent need.
If your homepage has a bunch of clutter — whatever it may be — it will create a lot of noise and prevent users from immediately understanding that you can solve their problem, you can satisfy that urgent need. If a user does not immediately understand that you can solve their problem, they will likely go elsewhere. That means that if your website is cluttered and does not present a clear message from the outset, you are losing a large number of leads.
2: Do you primarily talk about yourself, or do you focus on telling users how you solve their problems? Do you emphasize how your product or service benefits them?
If you work at a great company or own a great company, you are probably pretty proud of everything it has accomplished. You love sharing how long you’ve been in business and how great your services are. You consider yourself a thought leader in your industry and love to help customers.
All of that may be true, but there’s one problem: visitors on your website don’t care about that.
Unless you’re a surgeon, customers don’t care how long you’ve been in business or how much experience you have. All they care about at the moment they land on your website is whether or not you can solve their problem. They have a problem that needs fixed, and if they only see you praising yourself for your accomplishments, they will go elsewhere.
Often times these self-promotional statements are the worst offenders in creating clutter on a website. Simply removing the ego-boosting statements on your homepage will probably make a huge difference in the usability and experience your customers have when they visit your website.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with showing that you are proud of your company. It’s perfectly fine to stroke your ego on the homepage, so long as you do so in a way that clearly and concisely demonstrates your ability to solve your customers’ problem. If a statement or paragraph does not directly relate to how you help your customers, it is better off being placed on your company bio page or something similar.
3: How old is your current design? Things have changed in the last few years — Internet users expect a lot more from websites now than they did 5 years ago.
Perhaps you had a website designed some time ago and you were quite proud of it at the time. Suppose it brought in an abundance of new customers and proved to be a worthwhile investment.
Consider how technology has changed in the last 3–5 years. Consider the cultural shifts we have seen. Look at the differences from one generation to the next. Do you think we can afford to market our businesses the same way we did 5 years ago? Do you really think people hold the same opinions and respond to the same things?
People expect far more from a website these days, and web design standards have changed dramatically just over the last one or two years, let alone five or more.
Even if your website performed well in the past, that does not mean that it is effective in today’s market. If your website has not been at least tweaked to keep up with the times in the last 2–3 years, take some time and really consider whether the website is still effective for marketing today.
4: Does your website present clear and concise calls to action that drive engagement?
When a visitor lands on your company website, you would certainly hope that they are motivated to take some kind of action to contact you. Be it a contact form, an email, a phone call or something entirely different, you want the individual to do something that causes them to engage with your business.
Does your website make it brutally obvious what users are supposed to do? Or does it simply present a chunk of information about your company without actually giving them something to do with that information?
If your website does not make it clear to users what action they can take upon visiting your page, they are likely to abandon the page entirely.
5: Is your website mobile-responsive? No one likes zooming in and out on a page to read tiny text from a non-optimized site. Your prospective customers won’t either.
Most people have heard this about 14 bazillion times before, but surprisingly few companies have actually taken any action to make sure their website is mobile-friendly (I notice this quite a bit in my area around Nashville/Clarksville/Hopkinsville even though businesses here are becoming more and more tech savvy as time goes on).
When an individual needs to find a plumber to come unstop a pipe, where do they look?
99% of people today would pull out their phone and run a quick Google search to find plumbers in their area. Chances are that your prospective customers are doing the same.
When people search for people who can solve their problem, they want it to be presented to them quickly and easily. They don’t want to spend time zooming in and out of your webpage looking for the information they need, adjusting the screen so they can read the tiny text, or scrolling left and right when zoomed in so that they can understand what your page says.
Search engines like Google and Bing understand that users don’t like sites that are not mobile-friendly, so they will actually make non-mobile-friendly sites appear lower in search results than websites that are mobile-friendly. If your website is not mobile-friendly, guess what? That means that people who search for your products, your services, probably do not ever see your company in those search results.
Again, that means that you are routinely losing customers.
6: Do you regularly share interesting content that answers users’ questions?
One awesome way to show users that you can solve their problem is by solving simpler problems for free or informing them on topics they may not fully understand.
Blogging for business is a great way to show users that you know what you’re talking about, share great stories of how you solved users’ problems, and inform your users to help educate them about what you do. Blogging on your company website is absolutely essential for just about any business, particularly if you serve customers in your local area since your company blog can help keep locals up to date on your business and help you promote special events in your business.
Blogging also contributes to the search engine optimization of your website on a massive scale. There is no better way to show search engines that you can help search users than by giving out great content that addresses those people’s needs.
Does your current website allow you to blog consistently and easily? Do you currently take advantage of it?
If your website does not currently have a blog or if you are not using it, you are absolutely missing out on a massive opportunity to reach new customers and convert current prospects.
7: Does the website look professional? Would you want your business card to look like your website? Do you honestly love your company’s online image?
This one is the clincher. The answer to this questions ultimately answers the question of whether or not you have a truly effective company website.
If you wouldn’t style your business card, your brochure or your stationery the same way your website is styled, it needs to go. Your official website is often the first contact any individual has with your brand, so it needs to be a great first impression that motivates them to do business with you.
Are you really happy with how your website looks? Can you find fault with it? Can you think of ways to make it better?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, take a good hard look at your business and consider whether or not your website could be doing more for your business.
Having an effective company website is a critical part of having a successful marketing strategy today.
If you go through these 7 questions and you notice that your website does not measure up, I really encourage you to look at ways that you can fix the problems you are seeing in your website. You will certainly see results if you follow the steps outlined in this post.
I would also highly recommend that you register for my free live online training on Wednesday March 30th 2016. We’ll be doing a deep dive on how to make sure that prospects have a great experience on your website, how to optimize your website to convert more people into loyal customers, and of course how to actually get traffic to your site so that you can convert them.
Click below to register, and I’ll see you there!