3 Ways to Tell If Your Website Sucks
If you’re a small business owner, one of the most difficult things to gauge about your marketing efforts (and your business performance as a whole) is how well your website is doing at getting you visibility and – most importantly – new customers. Not only do you have more important things to do, but how do you even go about measuring your site’s performance anyway?
Typically, measuring the effectiveness of a website is a very technical and complex undertaking that involves crunching lots and lots of collected data. What’s more, to measure it in the first place requires understanding what to measure and what the measurements mean. If you want a good idea of where to start (and I do mean just a start), check out this fine intro piece from Moldavite Design.
That said, for most busy and non-technical small business owners, effectively measuring their site is simply “a bridge too far.” As a result, most have next to no idea whether their site is good, bad, or just plain sucks.
That’s not only bad, it’s downright dangerous for business in this predominantly digital age.
Here are some simple and common-sensical questions to ask yourself. The answers will tell you if your site sucks:
Q1: When was the last time someone submitted a “Contact Us” (or any other form) on my site?
Here at Moldavite Design, we are always building new sites for small business customers. One of the initial questions I always ask of businesses that have an existing website is how many times per month they get contacted directly from their sites. In well over 90% of the cases, the owner either says they can’t remember ever getting a form submission from their site or they can remember only ever seeing a handful of them over what is usually a very long period of time – or since they’ve been in business.
If your site isn’t converting visitors to leads by attracting the right viewers, engaging them with interesting content about what you offer, then driving them to convert with something more than just a lonely contact form or “Ask a Question,” then it’s barely worth having at all.
To make your site work for you, you must set up your product and service pages like a mousetrap. Dangle the bait, make it irresistible, and spring the trap. To do that takes really thinking out your content to tell people:
- Who you are
- What exactly you offer
- Who each product and service is for
- How – specifically – it benefits them
- Why yours is better than an alternative
- How they’re missing out (or going to miss out) if they don’t act to get what you sell
It’s all important, but that last part is especially key. If you don’t compel them to sign up, give you their email, register for a coupon or login, it’s a completely inert page. What are some ways you can do this?
- Special Deals
- Free Samples or Free Trials
- Personal Consultation or Service (e.g., i-home visit, a phone call to quote, etc.,.)
- White Papers or Brochures (i.e., more detailed info on your products or services)
- Reports (e.g. product comparisons, etc.,.)
These days, one of the most powerful tools to compel leads to convert is called “FOMO,” or “Fear of Missing Out.” Use it. It’s powerful.
Q2: When was the last time someone told me something on my site was wrong or broken?
Often times when we’re onboarding new clients, we hear what seems like trivial “small talk” as we go through the project details with them.
Things like, “Oh yeah, I’m glad you’re redoing that page, it’s broken” or “Yeah, take a look at those pages…People keep telling us the form is broken and won’t submit.” Believe it or not, we regularly find sites with typos in their contact email addresses, incorrect phone numbers, or contact info that’s entirely missing! Just this week while looking for a local Tuscaloosa photographer, I found three sites with all the issues I just outlined! In one case, the site had absolutely NO WAY of contacting the company. Not in Google, not on the site, nothing.
Yet, each week, small business owners hear reports from people who contact them that things are broken or don’t work or are missing from their sites. The typical response? They say things like, “Oh? Ok! I’ll have our web company look into it.” Then they get caught up in the business of converting a customer and forget about it not knowing how many potential other customers the issue may cost them by not fixing it. It’s just not OK to let site problems linger. You’re literally turning away revenue in the form of potential customers.
If you’re not checking your entire site each month to fix issues that come from outdated info, website technical problems, hosting issues or other unforeseen things (it happens, folks, all the time), you will miss out on opportunities.
Q3: How many phone calls that I get come from people visiting my website or Google-ing my business?
Whenever I call a local business, I always make note of whether the person I speak with asks me how I found them in the first place. Perhaps no single piece of data is easier to collect and record than this one. It’s also perhaps the single most important piece of data a small business owner can have if they’re looking to tell whether their website is working for them or just sitting out there on the internet doing nothing.
If you ask yourself this question and don’t know or are guessing at the answer, you’re wrong. Just wrong. Fire up a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or a Google sheet and record the answers you get every time you ask this question. And be sure to start a habit now of asking this question every. single. time. NO exceptions.
Once you start collecting this data, look back every month and see how many people visited your site. If it’s a low number versus the number of calls you get, well, you have a problem. Potentially a big one. At a minimum, it means your website and hosting company are laying down on the job.
It’s not easy to measure the effectiveness or return on investment for your website. Most small business owners just don’t have the time, training, or inclination to do so. But if you can’t tell if it’s working or not, why have it?
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