Updated April 23, 2019
It seems like social media gets all the attention in digital marketing these days. We take for granted that having a sound website is a foundation for all your digital marketing efforts.
In reality, many organizations do not have that foundation which is necessary to make the most of digital marketing efforts. A great advertising or social media campaign that fails to convert because of a poor website is a waste of time and money.
Here is a quick checklist of seven website issues that can hinder your digital marketing efforts. How does your site rank? Make sure you’ve covered these basics!
Does Not Work Well On Mobile
You want your content to be available to the largest possible audience. The number of mobile users of the web has surpassed desktop users for a while now, but believe it or not there are still a lot of sites that are not mobile optimized! Google has found that mobile users do not stay on sites that require pinching and zooming or otherwise have a poor user experience on mobile. As a result, lack of a mobile-friendly site is now a negative search ranking factor. Have you tried to use your site on mobile?
Takes Too Long to Load
Sites that are slow to load also give a poor customer experience, especially on mobile devices. Most people abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Although not yet an official search ranking factor, there are signals that slow-loading sites will be penalized as the shift to mobile continues.
Is Not Secure
Notice that little lock icon in your browser search bar? Your website visitors do too! That means the website is using the HTTPS protocol which encrypts the traffic between website visitors and the web server. Since July of 2018, Google has marked sites that do not use HTTPS as “not secure,” and it’s made more of an impact than you might think.
A recent survey found that nearly half of users were put off by a “not secure” warning and 64% of that group said they would leave the website instantly. Your website security gives your website visitors reassurance when they visit your website that their personal information is protected.
Has Outdated Content
When is the last time you reviewed your site for outdated information? When I visit a site that has an event from four years ago as the most recent update, I wonder if the organization still exists. The search engines do too! You don’t have to update your site every day or week, but you should have some sort of plan to review and update your content. Here are a few ideas to get you started on a review and update of your content:
- Are there new products or services?
- Are you serving a new market?
- Have your hours changed?
- Can you add new examples of your work?
- Do you have new customer testimonials?
- Can you share news about staff or your organization – promotions, anniversaries, certifications, awards?
- Are you highlighting your work in the community?
- Are your customers’ most frequently asked questions answered on your site?
Reading online is more difficult than paper, especially on mobile devices. Making sure that the text and formatting on your website are clean and easy to read. Use bullets, headings, white space and a single call to action. Don’t have too much competing information on a page – when it is cluttered your visitors won’t know where to focus.
It’s Difficult to Contact You
You can’t assume that the first page people will visit on your site is your home page. Is your most important contact information available on all pages of your site? Location, hours, email, and phone number are often what we want to know, especially on mobile devices. On a mobile device, can someone click on your phone number and call you?
Is Missing a Call to Action
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not letting your website work for you. Include a call to action so that people know what the next steps are. Even if a customer’s next step is to just follow you on social media or get your email newsletter, tell them exactly what their next step should be. Some examples of calls to action are:
- Get a quote
- Join a mailing list
- Redeem a coupon
- Download a guide
- Start a trial
- Buy now
Make sure you have defined a path for your visitors.
Doesn’t Tell Your Story
Are you speaking to your ideal client? For small businesses and nonprofits especially, customers want to build a relationship with you. Make sure your website tells your story. Why should someone do business with you? What makes you different? Can the right potential customers relate to you?
Also make sure your site speaks your customers’ language. Don’t use your insider industry language or they won’t even find your site. The stories you tell your customers in your personal interactions – about your products, services, expectations, and values – tell these on your website.
Streamline your navigation and organize it according to how your customers are looking for items. When you have to click through half a dozen menu items to figure out where to find what you are looking for, most visitors will abandon your site before they find it. I often find that businesses organize their information according to their processes, but that isn’t necessarily how your customer thinks about what they are trying to accomplish. Understand your customers’ journey and organize your site around that.
Does your website measure up? If you’ve got this covered, you have a great foundation for search marketing, social media, email marketing and giving your customers a great experience.
If not, use this checklist to develop a plan. Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing success. Make the web work for you!