How to avoid a stale website by fixing these 8 mistakes

Monday, April 25, 2016

Designers need to consistently update sites with new content, architecture and innovation such as responsive design. Successful sites also need copy that addresses the customer's problems and offers clearly defined calls-to-action.

We know that a website is the hub of all our marketing efforts. So it’s critical to maintain a website that is up-to-date and filled with valuable, quality content to attract, convince and convert visitors into leads and eventually into sales. But if you’re website is making any of these mistakes, you’re missing out on a tremendous amount of opportunity to generate leads and drive revenue.

Outdated Design/Architecture

When is the last time you looked at your website? Like, really looked. If you don’t know the answer of the top of your head – you’re already making one of the biggest cardinal sins of having a website. Unlike the past when simply having a website was enough to outshine you from the outside competition, today websites have a self-life of about 2-3 years.

If you can’t remember the last time you considered the state of your website, the next question you need to ask yourself is when was the last time you spoke with your website vendor? If it’s been longer than you can remember, it’s time to do a quick check-in, or possible start the search for a new vendor.

Poor Messaging

Many websites lack when it comes to their messaging. They are usually generic and stale, rather than appealing and convincing. Your messaging should be more about how you can solve a user’s problem, and less about how amazing you are. When your message is filled with self-proclaimed accolades, it gives visitors the impression that you only care about yourself. That doesn’t solve the problem that they are coming to you for and doesn’t show how you can help.

“Sell a happier life. Not a product.” – Kaleigh Moore 

Successful website messaging should immediately resonate with your visitor and complement the design of your site. This requires using words that show empathy and evoke emotion.

No Contact Information or About Me

When a first time user lands on your website, they are in search of two things: credibility & trust. Unfortunately, too many websites lack the thorough contact information visitors are in need of. This can make or break your next sale, especially if it was a hot lead that you were convinced you were going to close. If they can’t reach out to you with any questions, they are more than likely going to head over to a competitor who will answer those questions.

Even more, a website that lacks a descriptive and informative About Me page immediately decreases the credibility of your business – especially if your messaging is boosting all your accomplishments. Show your team members and allow them to show a more personal, human-like side in their bios and head shots.

No New Content

Like the previous three I’ve already mentioned, the fact that websites still aren’t keeping their content up-to-date seriously makes me cringe. There is absolutely no way that any company can find an industry update, an internal company update, or simply spruce up or refresh a previously page of cornerstone content. Incorporating a blog or news center is a great way to add consistent new content that will educate visitors and position you as a thought leader.

Slow Page Load Times

With our users at the forefront of everything we do in our digital marketing tactics, their demands for a fast loading website are one we cannot ignore. Users don’t want to spend time waiting for your large images to load when they can head back to the search engine and find a site that loads quickly and provides all the information they need. That means you’ve just lost an interested prospect … the clock is ticking, is your site up to speed?

Not Mobile Friendly or Responsive

As of April 2015, responsive design is no longer a luxury for corporate websites. Google has now required it, as it is now a factor that determines whether or not your site will be visible in search engines. Beyond Google, 52 percent of users said they would be less likely to engage with a company if the mobile experience on their site was bad. Using a flexible CMS – such as WordPress – your web developer can ensure every piece of content published can be accessed and easily digested by readers regardless of the viewing device they prefer.

No Clear Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

Once a user lands on your site and feels you can provide value to them, they need to know what the next steps are going to be in regards to doing business together. Depending on where they are in the buyer’s cycle, these next steps will differ and evolve as they continue to move each step. In the awareness stage, directing them to a relevant, educational piece of content such as your blog, white paper or case study will provide more information about the problem they are having. As they move down the funnel, the actions you want them to take will continue to change as well, which will require different types of content. These types of format may include testimonials, email campaigns, industry reports, etc. Even asking someone to share a piece of content is considered a CTA and also helps expand the visibility and lifespan of your content.

“People mimic, so run a test showing someone doing the thing you want your visitor to do – like signing up for a trial or tweeting your tweet” – Kaleigh Moore

The ultimate goal is to capture the lead through a form and nurture that lead until they are ready to contact a sales rep. None of this is possible with a clear set of CTA’s that your visitor can follow.

Partnering with the wrong vendor or relying on DIY solutions.

Regardless of the avenue you take with your website, it can only be successful as the team supporting it. If you’re in need of a robust, attractive, compelling and cutting-edge website that stands out from your competitors, it is worth every penny as well as every bit of time it takes to complete it. A website can be built in a day, but it certainly shouldn’t be if you’re trying to gain a credible reputation on the web.

As you may be able to tell, many of these mistakes are minor. But when left unattended, these mistakes can leave disastrous problems that will not only decrease your credibility in your industry, but also decrease your quality and amount of leads and sales made at the end of the day.

(Courtesy of B2C)