Is Your Website Hurting Your Business?
Here's What You Must Do Before Your Summer Vacation.
So let’s imagine you’ve been invited by your best friend to go visit his summer house on the water this summer. He tells you about the place, the water front view, the cool, clear mountain air and it all sounds just great. Then on the day you arrive, the weather is cold, grey and dank with a thick fog that obscures anything beyond the end of his dock.
Not a great first impression is it? You’ve traveled some distance to get there. You had more pleasant images in mind prior to arriving at his address, and as far as the view is concerned, at best you have a vague idea that beyond the mist, there is something else to be seen if you’re willing to wait for the fog to clear. This is how people get put off and while it may prevent unwanted guests from dropping by your lake house next summer, it doesn’t leave you or your place in a very good place as a source for pleasant destination information.
Your website is subject to the same natural laws, and if you haven’t been doing much to manage it, it too will be overlooked when customers are out researching products or services that are in your field.
Small businesses are more susceptible to this since many of them lack the staff, the expertise, the budget and the time to provide enough attention to their websites.Those are no minor barriers and I hear them brought up time and time again among business owners, especially those who are on the phones selling and servicing machines for customers in the field. These folks find many an article like this a bit difficult to confront, particularly if they have lived by the squeaky wheel and the oil method of prioritization.
It is far easier to accept the existence of a mediocre website that simply languishes online for a nominal monthly hosting fee than it is to have a frantic customer who’s calling your cell phone with a system malfunction. I get that. On the other hand, what could it be costing you in lost revenue every time a prospect lands on your site and leaves just as quickly because they didn’t perceive any reason to look any deeper or submit an inquiry at the very least? It costs a great deal, because you don’t know how many times that visit/exit has occurred and you have no way of presenting the case for your operation over your competitors.
In today’s game, new buyers are in the catbird seat. They can conjure up an entire reality on just who or what you are with just a few glances at a laptop screen, phone or tablet. And if your site fails to impress them, they’re going to leave the home page right away before taking time to learn more. From their point of view, your site flunked because you didn’t have the right message in plain sight in graphics or words. Maybe you didn’t have anything compelling written in the About Us section. Perhaps your copyright date stamp reads 2009, or your navigation had too many dead ends. The list of common problem areas can run far and wide among many companies despite their years in the business.
So what do you do to keep customers engaged on your site long enough to make a good impression? How do you avoid making expensive mistakes with your website that adversely affect your reputation and your revenue stream?
Here are just 4 tips to think with.
Drop the idea that money is the barrier. Many small business owners have the idea that they cannot afford to have an old website updated and then managed by anyone who doesn’t charge less than $10,000 plus hosting fees.
While there are resources out there including graphic design boutiques, agencies and freelancers that play only at that level, there are many other more economical ways to have a fresh, innovative design and new content for a third of that cost using web builder services that do not require any practical knowledge of html coding whatsoever.
This also makes it easier to grant more control to you or someone on your staff. Typical hosting fees range anywhere between $150 to $600 a year depending on which one you use and what package may be necessary.
Don’t Put All the Pressure on Your IT Guy. Trouble shooting a network connection and crafting your story in words and graphics are completely unrelated skill sets. Don’t try to combine the two or use your IT person as the default post on this simply because he or she has figured out how to manipulate html coding in order to poach a free image off of Google and have it appear alongside some text on a landing page.
While it is better than having no website, it still falls way short of a designer’s knowledge of white space utilization, font readability and color application as they all pertain to desktop and mobile sites.
Step Out of Your Own Way. You have a business to run and you’re already wearing more hats than you ever thought you would at this point in the history of the company. Redesigning or updating your website should not be one of them. It is far more efficient to have someone else handle it for you; someone who can stitch the necessary pieces together in order within a short period of time and have an eye on what will work best based on current standards and conditions. The rules of engagement today for websites are not the same as they were a few years ago and many typical B2B websites fly below these standards and thus lose prospects to their competitors a few clicks away.
Get an Objective Assessment.
If your lawn at home isn’t greening up as well it used to, and your neighbors are shaking their heads in disapproval, you wouldn’t hesitate to get some advice from a lawn care specialist. Why? Because you know you don’t know anything about soil chemistry and how pH can affect the overall health of your grass.
All you know is that you want it to look great and have maximum curb appeal before you go away on vacation. Your website is vital to building your curb appeal among your customers – new and current both. So ask for an assessment on your site. You’re not asking for anyone to submit comps or mock-ups. You’re asking for someone who will tell you the truth about your site from an objective point of view, and if they are truly experienced enough, this will only take about 30-minutes over the phone.
Now if you are completely satisfied with your website as it exists today, you are in a good place, because you’ve spent the time and money to get rid of any old clip art and there’s nothing missing on any of the rollovers. That’s terrific because that means there is no fog anywhere on your site. On the other hand, if are you looking at a site that was last updated two years ago, there’s a good chance it already is outdated and behind the trends. Don’t let time, money or any other considerations stop you from making your website the destination it needs to be for your customers, your prospects and anyone else who may be helping you grow your business.
If you want to get a free, objective site assessment, reach out today b email or call 631.382.7762.
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