Most small businesses have a website that behaves like their old paper-based brochures, but just sitting online. It is rarely updated, is not given significant visibility by the search engines, has low traffic levels, does not encourage return visits, does not enable/track conversions, etc. (HubSpot)
Is Your Website Working for You — or Gathering Web Dust?
There are 4 glaring website marketing and promotion errors being made by the small business web site owners whose web sites I reviewed last week:
1. The web site is “ugly”, or really tired looking with an out dated look and feel.
Your visitors can tell if you’ve put up a web site that was designed in the early 90′s or earlier. Web site visitors react negatively in an instant and click away if your web site is ugly, untidy or unreadable. Please make sure your web site conforms to general design principles without spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, too much variety in color, font size, and too liberal use of formatting like centering, bold, and underline.
2. The web site is out of date, with information that is obviously old and dusty.
It’s a giveaway when your web site copyright reads ©2002 and not ©2002-2011 (or the present year if you are reading after 2011). Is your address and phone number current? What? You don’t have your address on your web pages AND an easy way for people to contact you from your web site? That needs to be fixed. Do you have a news section that carries only old news? 4 out of 5 of the web sites I reviewed did not have information that was regularly updated, added to and educational for web site visitors.
3. The web site is not visited by the target market identified by the business owner, or they don’t have any data to figure out traffic levels.
After all the money and time spent on web sites, many business web site owners don’t know if their web site is attracting people who are in the target market the web site was intended to reach. Or, they never identified their audience, who they were trying to connect with and convert from prospects to customers. None of the web site owners knew how to remedy this situation and they felt overwhelmed by the notion of testing, tracking and tweaking their web site to increase traffic and conversions.
4. The web site has been abandoned in favor of a Facebook page or other social media activities as “new marketing” strategies.
When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web….Now even my cat has its own page. (Bill Clinton)
Social media is the internet marketing strategy “du jour” and although it can be powerful, it is not a “stand alone” marketing strategy for a successful business. Most small business web site promoters know very little about how to make their web site the “marketing hub” for their online marketing with social media integrated with their web site–and their offline marketing, too.
Social media, blogging, search engine optimization, and email marketing are powerful ways of developing online leads for most business. However, it’s your company’s website where your prospect makes a buying decision and the sale actually takes place. Each webpage needs to provide prospects with a compelling reason to do business with you, including calls to action that gently direct them down the sales funnel, getting them to “buy now” or contact you. While an unprofessional website will derail the best web marketing campaign, a well-designed site is a powerful conversion tool that will continually deliver high-quality leads. (Rich Brooks, president of flyte new media, www.flyte.biz)
Dust It Off–and KickStart Your Web Site Today
There are some very basic and not too difficult changes you can make to a dusty web site–or get your webmaster, local consultant, or web savvy friend or relative to help!
1. Transfer your web pages into a WordPress web site with a designer theme from Studio Press, iThemes or Woo Themes. These days, web sites are so much more than just web pages. You need the best possible “bones” for your web site and a modern yet simple design. It’s attractive!
2. Start blogging and post to your web site with up to date content at least once a week. With your WordPress web site and a great SEO plugin like All In One SEO, optimizing your web site pages is easy. Don’t know what a plugin is or why SEO is important? Don’t stress because you’re just one blogging class away from a WordPress and blogging “driver’s license.”
3. Learn how to–or have someone help you–use Google Analytics to “read” your web site’s traffic. Use the data to guide your tweaks to your web site so that more people visit, stay awhile and become customers.
4. By all means, swim in the social stream. Grow your networks at Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and use social networking to send traffic to your marketing hub, your web site.
If you need someone to take a look at your web site and give it a kick start, we’re here to help. Take a look at KickStart My WebSite here at Social Biz Local Biz.
5 Essential SEO Strategies for 3 Types of Small Businesses (The Next Web)
Why a Great Web Site is a Key to Social Media Success (Mark Evans Tech)