5 Reasons Why Your Website Isn’t Working

Do you have a website that isn’t cutting the mustard? In the years I’ve been building sites and helping people formulate Internet marketing strategies I’ve consistently seen these 5 common themes among websites that don’t producing a return on investment. Without further ado, here they are:

Reason #1: No one can find it.

Non-paid search engine traffic will be the least expensive traffic you can get. But if your website suffers from really poor SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you won’t have any luck getting that cheap source of visitors. If you have a website that you paid someone to develop for you, you might have asked your developer about SEO. That conversation may have went something like this:

You: “Is search engine optimization part of what you do when you build my website? Will someone be able to find me on Google?”

Them: “Sure, SEO is included as part of all our websites!”

You: “Great! Sign me up!”

What they didn’t tell you is:

  • They know very little about SEO.
  • Or…they have 3 projects right behind yours and actually will pay very little attention to SEO on your project because, truthfully speaking, they realized you wouldn’t know SEO if it were to come down from the heavens and smite you!
  • Or…They do know SEO, they did take the time to do on-site optimization on your website, but because there are other competing companies out there with much more aggressive SEO campaigns, your website never gained any traction in Google or any other search engine.

The more competition out there on the web, the more aggressive you will have to be with your business’s search engine optimization. SEO is, after all, a marketing activity. You never stop marketing your business, do you? Well, you should never stop doing SEO.

Reason #2: No one can figure out what your website, or your business, is about.

When you go about deciding what to put on your website, every page needs to be very clear as to its purpose. If you are a for-profit company, don’t put anything on your website that doesn’t help someone move along the buying process. For instance:

  • Your home page should state clearly what your business does. It should also seek to quickly differentiate your organization from your competitors.
  • Your about page, if you have one, should make visitors comfortable about the idea of doing business with you and your company.
  • Your website should clearly explain what your business can do for your potential customer. If you are a B2B, then don’t just list your services, explain how you can make your customers more money, or tell them how you can cut their costs. If you are B2C, you need to tell visitors how you can make them cooler, stronger, more popular, and have better sex-lives.

Always remember you are selling benefits, not features. People don’t give a damn about features – they aren’t buying them – they are buying benefits. As another example, when you join a country club you don’t join just to eat decent food and play golf and tennis (features). There are other, much cheaper alternatives. You are paying for the benefit of hanging out with other influential, well-to-do members of the community and to hopefully be seen as one.

All the headlines on a page, especially your home page, need to have a common theme. I just reviewed a website for a friend of mine who wanted to get some ideas about her upcoming redesign. The site’s home page had made its primary headline about Terra-cotta Warriors, another secondary headline was about how I should make a strategic hiring decision, and finally another about establishing thought leadership. I had to read the home page and the about page before I realized that the company served as a hiring consultant for companies in the Atlanta area. Most people aren’t going to spend over 2 minutes on a website to figure out what you do and how you can help them. They are too aware that they can go to Google and get to another website in less than 4 seconds.

Reason #3: There is no compelling call to action.

Don’t just tell what you do, give them a reason to contact you. Also, make it very clear what they have to do next if they are to do business with you. It could be as simple as “Buy Now” or it could be something a little more complicated like, “Schedule a free demo.”

Reason #4: It is difficult for people to contact you.

If you have  a horizontal menu, make sure the contact page is the right-most item on your menu because that is where people normally expect to find it. Better yet, have a contact form on every page if possible. Don’t have just an email address where people can contact you, create a contact form that is short and easy to fill out. If people are likely to call you, make sure your phone number is prominent and on every page.

Reason #5: Your site is ugly, or worse, extremely out of date.

People are going to make a snap decision about your company soon after your home page loads. Don’t let them think you aren’t an established company or possibly out of business because you haven’t updated your website since 1999. If you are creating a new site, or revamping an old one, make sure what you are getting is sleek, modern, and most importantly easy to use and navigate.

If your site isn’t helping to bring in new customers, take a long look at this list. I’d bet your site may suffer from one or more of the above-mentioned problems.

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