What the $#@! do they have in common?
A lot more than you think…
The web is a race… for any business owner who wants to stay alive these days. Gone are the days when you could simply have a website.
With Search Engine Optimization, Social Engagement, Author Rank, and many other advances in the web, you cannot just have a website. You have to build one that can compete.
What does that mean? How do you know if your site is ready to compete?
Let’s look at race cars
If you’re a race car driver, no matter what level, you need a car built to race. You don’t take your family car to the track and compete. Camry vs. Nascar = no contest.
Race cars have specialized everything; the frame, engine, tires, seats, even the steering wheel is special. All working together giving you the advantage over your competitors.
If you lose a race… you determine why, make adjustments, and try again. Making adjustments is a multi step process. You have to figure out what went wrong, what’s broken.. then figure out how to make it better.
Sometimes you identify a symptom, and not the cause. For example (a ridiculous one for impact)… You lost the race.. the pit crew says you were just too slow. Your first thought is, “I need a bigger engine”. The crew forgot to mention that you had a flat tire.
The point… a bigger engine might help, but the tire is the real issue.
Your business website is very much the same. It has to be built to compete in your market or it is worthless. Pouring money into marketing a crappy website is the same as buying a bigger engine without fixing the flat. It helps but does not fix the problem.
The web race
You have an SEO’d website. You hire a web marketer. They craft a beautiful PPC campaign for you and drive a lot of traffic to your home page. You see the traffic in the reporting, plenty each day… but no calls, no form submissions. Something is wrong. Your first thought is, “I need even more traffic, maybe another website, maybe I need to expand my marketing efforts.”
Let’s look at the big picture. You’ve got traffic.. that means your marketing campaign is doing it’s job. That traffic has to be converted. It could be a marketing issue. More likely… it’s your website.
Identify the real problem
Look at your site design. How old is it? If more than 4 years old.. it’s probably time for a refacing. Customers are smarter on the web these days. They can tell if your site design is old and outdated. This is a major credibility factor. If your site does not look up to date, neither does your business. Your website IS your business on the web. Does it represent you in the best possible way?
Outdated design = Outdated business.
These are specific design elements. Could be the typography, or how the form looks. An arrow pointing to action statements like, “Call Now!”.
Landing pages are page layouts designed to convert traffic. Your home page is a landing page. Is yours designed to convert, or just inform? Does it look old. Is it hard to read? Are there action elements? What compels your potential clients to pick up the phone or fill out the form?
The overall look and feel of your website is a critical conversion factor. Design and conversion elements are the first place you look IF… you have traffic and it’s not converting.
Here’s two self storage competitors. If these were your options, which would you pick?
What are you saying?
The words you use on your site are also critical. Here’s a quick example.
Blue widgets for sale at Jim’s Hardware
Need top quality Blue Widgets? Jim’s Hardware offers the best selection of Blue Widgets in the United States!
Which one is more interesting?
Every word on your site affects the attitude of the potential customer. If what you have to say is boring, they will be bored. If it is compelling, exciting, and encourages action, they will engage and take action.
Action = LEADS
To be clear, the things mentioned above are not as much SEO factors as they are conversion factors. Things that you look at when you know your on-page SEO is solid.
If you don’t have traffic… you have bigger issues than design and conversion. You have to have traffic first and that is another post or two.
Bottomline: Your website is a complex machine. It has to be fine tuned and running smooth if you want to get the most out of your marketing efforts. Ignoring the design (flat tire) and buying a bigger engine (more marketing spend) is a waste of time and money if you already have plenty of traffic. Figure out where the sale breaks down and fix the conversion issue (cause) before you do anything else.
Image credit: Munrohouse