For small businesses, it’s never been easier to have a website. This also means that merely having a website no longer distinguishes you from your competition. So, how can you stand out?
You could spend money to hire a web agency to design the most award-winning site around. But even then, you really can’t get by on looks alone. In today’s world, it takes a lot more to have a website that will earn quality traffic and attract consistent leads and sales.
Odds are, your website is a waste of money.
Kind of harsh? Unfortunately, it’s the truth. But here’s why:
Why Your Website Is a Waste of Money
1. Your Website Isn’t Indexed Properly
Indexed? Like the Dewey Decimal System? (For readers under 25, see Wikipedia) Well, kind of like that.
Why is indexing important?
What is indexing? In order for your website to be indexed to show up in a Google search, Google “bots” need to be able to access your site and determine what information, product, or services it has available.
Aside from being able to show up in search results, having the RIGHT pages show up in search results is equally important. Most websites have internal pages, media documents, and more that you simply would not want showing up in a search result.
2. You didn’t complete any keyword research
For some websites, it might be easier to search for a needle in a haystack than find them online. Why? Poorly done keyword research –– or none at all.
Why is keyword research important?
Search can be a complicated thing. In fact, there are millions of search queries made every day that Google has never seen before. Because of this, there are a variety of tools that digital marketers use to determine what terms will position a client’s website for the correct search queries. Using the correct keywords will not only put your website in front of more people, but it will also be in front of the RIGHT people.
3. Your Website is SLOW
Patience is a virtue…except when you’re online. You’ve probably experienced this before. You’re researching something online and you think you’ve found a website that will have the info you need, but it is taking for-e-ver. You get frustrated and move on to another site that loads faster.
Why is site speed important?
Aside from the obvious annoyance to your visitors, Google itself considers a slow website to be a bad user experience and will penalize you in its search rankings.
4. Your Website Lacks Quality Content
Good looks will only get you so far. A well designed and on-brand website is important, but what makes a website truly valuable lies beneath the surface.
Why is quality content important?
As Google’s search algorithms get more and more advanced, they get better at serving results that match the searcher’s true intent. Does your website content reflect what your ideal visitor is looking for? Google knows!
5. Your Website doesn’t integrate with your other marketing efforts
As we all know, when a customer clicks on a link in an email blast, the goal is to make the user experience as cumbersome and confusing as possible…
Just kidding. Except, with some websites, it certainly feels like that is what they are going for.
Why is Marketing Integration important?
Consistency in your messaging and your overall user experience is key. If a potential customer is drawn to visit your website after receiving an email or seeing a captivating social media post, they need to be able to quickly find what it was that drew them in as easily as possible.
6. You Aren’t Getting the Most out of Google Analytics
Growing up, your mother probably instructed you not to talk to strangers. When it comes to websites, we encourage you to embrace every stranger you can. (Sorry, Mom!)
Theoretically, new people are visiting your website every day. Who are these people? What is their age? What is their gender? Where are they located? On what type of device are they viewing your website? What did they view on your website? Did they fill out a form? Make a purchase?
Why is Google Analytics Important?
Having all of the above information is invaluable when it comes to marketing your business, developing new content, or planning new goals. You may have Google Analytics tracking data for your website, but without the help of a professional, you may not really understand the data you are seeing, or you aren’t taking full advantage of that information.
Is your Google Analytics data accurate?
Google “bot” and unknown spam traffic are not stripped out of Google Analytics data by default, so you could be making big decisions based on bogus data. Setting up the proper Google Analytics filters will make sure fake traffic is not included in your reports.
7. Your Website is not responsive or mobile friendly
Quick – someone call a paramedic! Your website is unresponsive!?
60% of people use their mobile devices for searches, and this number is ever-growing. This means your website’s mobile user experience is becoming more and more important.
Why does your website need to be mobile friendly?
Google will penalize sites for not being responsive or having some sort of mobile version of their website that is easy to use on a mobile device. They even rank websites differently on mobile device searches based on the mobile experience.
8. You don’t regularly publish new content
Old news is bad news.
Would you read the same newspaper day after day, week after week, with the same articles over and over again? I imagine you wouldn’t.
Why should you publish regular content?
Publishing new content regularly helps establish your brand as an authority in your industry. It’s one of the most valuable things you can do to build trust amongst visitors and draw them back to your website. You become a go-to destination for reliable information.
In addition to becoming an authority, you’ll broaden the number of search terms your website ranks for and, in doing so, gain some positive points from Google. You’ll also be generating content you can repurpose for social media posts and email marketing campaigns.
9. You went with a design you liked or thought “looked cool”
Remember when websites used to have music that would autoplay when you visited them? Was it just me, or was that the worst?
At one point in time, someone thought that was a “cool” feature to add to a website. But, just because something seems cool, does not mean customers will agree.
Why is your website design important?
Flashy websites are so ’90s. Good design should clearly communicate information easily and efficiently. Your customer’s time is valuable and when they are online, they are even more easily distracted! You do not need to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at your competitors, find out what is working for them, then find a way to execute those efforts in a way that fits your brand.
10. Your website looks the same as it did on Day 1
Maybe it’s been 6 months, or even a year or two, and yet your website looks exactly as it did on the day it launched. Odds are, you didn’t hit every nail on the head when it came to deciding on features and other design elements. Not a big deal, that’s the case for most companies. What is a big deal though, is not doing anything about it.
Why should your website be ever-evolving?
Hopefully, you’re gathering a lot of data and feedback from your website visitors and your marketing efforts. You can then take that feedback and apply that information to your website. As an example, perhaps a specific blog post gets a lot of traffic and it has different messaging than what is on your homepage. In that scenario, it might be a good idea to update some of the wording and imagery on your homepage to match the tone of that blog post.
11. You have no schema markup
No, it’s not some disease related to eczema. In fact, it’s actually a helpful bit of code that tells Google a little more about what is on your website.
Have you ever searched for a recipe and found that Google used the top search result to show a snippet of directions from a specific website? Or that some search results have a reviews rating? Have you ever wondered how that happens? A majority of the time, it’s due to schema markup.
Why is schema markup important?
Giving Google more information about your website content will increase your search visibility. There are over 20 ways to show up in a search query and using schema markup can help you leverage as many of those features as possible.
12. Your images have no Alt Tags
Alt tags are used on images to describe what they are to search engine crawlers. Even though image recognition technology has advanced quite a bit, adding thoughtful alt tags to your images will let Google know what the images on your website are communicating.
Why are alt tags important?
Not only will Google know more about your web content, your images will also show up in image search results on Google, which helps increase your visibility and drive traffic.
13. Your contact info is not easy to find
You know that awkward moment, when you spot someone you’re interested in from across the bar and have to work up the courage to go ask for their number.
Don’t make your customers do that.
Why should your contact info be easy to find?
This should be pretty self-evident, but if a customer can’t reach you, how are they supposed to do business with you? Customers want to know you’re accessible, so making your contact info easy to find is a good place to start.
14. You have no Calls to Action
What is a call to action? Any time you see a button that asks you to “buy now” or a form to sign up for an email list, that is an example of a call to action. The website is asking you to do something specific.
Why are Calls to Action important?
You’d be surprised how many websites don’t ask their visitors to do anything, or make it nearly impossible to complete a purchase or task. Calls to action should help make the user experience a seamless process. If a visitor just read a whole article and got excited about one of your products, you should probably ask them to buy it while you have their attention.
Speaking of calls to action…