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Classic Website Mistakes Many Small Businesses Are Making

The web has been around for over 20 years now but amazingly there are several classic mistakes many small businesses are still making with their websites.

When you consider that the web is the default resource we all use when looking for just about any piece of information, you realise just how just how vital it is to get it right.

Let’s go through some of the most common and most damaging mistakes small businesses are commonly making. Get these right and at least you’re giving your website a fighting chance of being successful.

Website content

No Clear Objective

Too many businesses put up a website without too much thought of what they expect from it.  The point is that you must be absolutely clear what your objectives for the website are.

  • Are you looking to make sales off the page?
  • Do you want visitors to contact you?
  • Are you looking to collect email addresses?
  • Or are you happy for your site to be a brochure site which reinforces your other sales activity?

Whatever it is you want your website to achieve, you must be clear in advance so that you write and design it with that role in mind.

Unclear Action

The purpose of your website is to make visitors take some kind of action.

You need to be very clear exactly what action you want visitors to take and tell them very precisely what to do.

So whether that is to phone you, to email you, to make a purchase or to leave their contact details, make sure you give them that instruction and that instruction only.

Contact us

Not Having Contact Details on Every Page

If a visitor can’t find your contact details immediately they may not be bothered to search for them so you should make it as easy as possible for people to contact you.

This means having contact details, including your email address on every page of your site.

Now while they may want to speak to you, they may not be ready for a conversation. Email doesn’t seem such a big step as picking up the phone.

So make sure you’re making it as easy and comfortable as possible for visitors to contact you by putting your contact details on every page.

Not Built For Mobile Devices

Since Google’s update in April 2015 being mobile friendly and mobile responsive are both absolutely vital.

Significantly over 50% of all searches are carried out on mobile devices and if your site isn’t mobile friendly, Google will penalise your site very severely which means that the chance of being found are about zero.

Responsive Web Design

All new websites built today are mobile friendly and responsive but if your site is old and hasn’t been updated then it may not be, which will severely limit the effectiveness of the site.

The solution is to get your web designer to update the site.

If your site is that old, I would suggest that it’s time you updated the content as well. Your business is bound to have changed over the last 3 or 4 years and your site will probably look tired and dated.

Lack of Social Proof

Social proof in the form of testimonials and case histories is vital for establishing your credentials.

A quality testimonial, stating how the customer has benefited from your services, along with a convincing name, company name(if appropriate) and a photograph will give visitors confidence in the quality of your products and services.

While you’ll probably have a dedicated page for testimonials, having a couple on your home page is important as many visitors may not get past the home page.

Lack of Keywords

You can have the best website in the world but if no one can find it, it’s unlikely it will deliver your objectives.

You must ensure that your primary keywords are built appropriately into your copy. Your text must be written for the reader or Google will penalise you if you repeat keywords too often or your text is obviously written for the search engines.

Web Search

But the fact is that if the search engines can’t relate your text to the search terms people are using, you won’t show up in the search results.

Of course these points only cover the very basics.

So how does your website measure up?

Free Website Review

If your website isn’t delivering the number of enquiries you would like, it may need reviewing.

Give me your website URL and I’ll undertake a review of it and give you a full report of my findings.

For your free review give me a call on 01483 200387 or email me on mikejennings@bda.me.uk

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5 Common Website Mistakes

Today your website is the cornerstone of your marketing collateral – selling your business 24 hours a day.

When I come across a business that doesn’t have a website or who has a really basic website, I’m amazed.

Having a good website, in my opinion, is no longer an option but an absolute necessity.

When I start working with a new client, virtually the first thing I do is to review the website and almost invariably they’re not doing the job they should.

There are often lots to things wrong with them but the following are probably the five most common website mistakes and they’re guaranteed to ruin your website’s success.

angry-woman-browses-websites-12951338

Too Salesy

Now of course the purpose of your website is to sell. But with most of us, if we’re going to buy something we need enough information so that we can make sensible decisions.

Your website must educate and inform your visitors and provide powerful reasons why prospects should choose you, instead of screaming “buy me, buy me” continuously.

The other point you need to consider is how realistic is it to expect visitors to buy from you the first time that they come into contact with your business.

Statistics say that 99% of website visitors leave a website without taking any action.

This is an appalling wasted opportunity.

These people have sought out your business so at the very least you need to get their contact details. This will allow you to communicate with them over time and build a relationship so that they can buy when they’re ready.

You need therefore to have a data collection facility where you offer a free report or video in exchange for their contact details.

Lack of social proof

If you want visitors to engage with you in any meaningful way, you’re going to have to build trust. The best way to build trust is by including social proof and by that I mean testimonials from happy customers.

Prospects are far more likely to be persuaded by your customers singing your praises than by you doing it yourself. The more specific they are – saying exactly what benefit you’ve delivered, the more effective they will be.

As well as having a dedicated testimonials page, you should consider putting some on the home page as this is the number 1 landing page.

Too much design

The most successful websites are the ones where visitors are very clear exactly what they’re being offered, what they have to do and how to navigate to the pages they need to get to. The other point which is almost a bit counter intuitive is that the most successful websites are seldom the prettiest.

Make sure that your key information is clearly displayed and that the visitor pathway is equally apparent. Only when this is clear should you start worrying about the aesthetics.

What would you prefer – a pretty website or an effective one.

Rubbish content

A very common fault of a lot of small business websites is the quality of the content.  The words on your website have got to persuade visitors to do business with you. Poorly written content will not persuade anyone.

Remember your website is a reflection of your business. If your website text is badly  written with spelling or grammatical mistakes, this will send a message that your business is equally slipshod.

Investing in well written, persuasive copy is a wise investment.

Lack of traffic

Even if you’ve managed to get all the points above right and have a top quality site, if you don’t have any traffic going to the site or traffic that’s not interested in what you’re selling, you’re still not going to generate any business.

To drive traffic to your site, you need to have an effective traffic strategy. This can focus on either SEO(search engine optimisation) or Google Adwords or preferably both.

SEO will ensure that your website ranks well on the organic listings within Google and Adwords is Google’s online advertising platform.

To make both of these work and to ensure that your traffic is well targeted and looking for what you sell, you must ensure that you select the right keywords. These are the words searchers type into Google in the process of your search so you must ensure that these are contained in your website text and your Adwords ads.

These are five common website mistakes but there are lots more. If your website isn’t delivering the leads and enquiries that you need, get in touch with me today.

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How To Increase Your Website Conversions

No one is going to do business with you until they have checked you out online so it is vital that you maximise your website conversions.

Websites have to work really hard.

Looking pretty is no good to anyone. Website conversion is all about turning browsers into responders and ultimately customers.

So what are the key issues that you’ve got to get right?

Don’t waste your most valuable space

We’ve probably all heard the stat that you’ve only got 8 seconds to grab your visitors’ attention before they go elsewhere. Allied to that is the fact that 50% of visitors never actually scroll down the page.

This just emphasises the mistake I see all the time where people fill the top section of their home page with a scrolling selection of pretty pictures, which are somehow related to the business.

This is a waste of the most valuable real estate on the site.

This is the area where you should be hitting your visitors with a headline that communicates the biggest benefit you deliver or the greatest problem your visitors suffer from plus where you should be using a lead magnet to get your visitors’ contact details.

Have a look at my website and you’ll see what I mean www.bda.me.uk

The importance of video

Video is an absolute must these days on your website.

Google has always loved video and rewards you in its rankings.

But video can do some much more.

Video gives you the chance to introduce your personality into your website so in effect visitors are no longer interacting just with a website but also with you, the video presenter.

In a business such as mine communicating my personality and expertise are key objectives for me. Additionally you can use your video to tell people exactly what you want them to do and give them an immediate call to action.

The other thing is don’t hide your video away. Put it in prime position on the home page so encouraging people to play it and interact with you and the site.

If you’re not keen on actually featuring in the video you can always get someone else to be the spokesman for the business or you can do a Powerpoint presentation with a voice over.

Authority

If visitors are going to take action, they are going to need to be convinced by your site. To do this your site needs to be authoritative.

Authority can be created by showing your qualifications, any awards you’ve won, by including glowing customer testimonials and case histories which demonstrate the effectiveness of your solution.

Only when I have confidence in you will I take action and get in touch.

Mobile

Mobile has now officially overtaken desk tops for searching the web. As a result earlier this year Google amended their search algorithms and now heavily penalises sites which aren’t both mobile responsive and mobile friendly

So you absolutely must make sure your site works on all devices otherwise not only will you miss out on over 50% of potential traffic but Google will give you a major ranking slapping.

Free website review worth £300

Having given you all this great advice, I’ll now back it up by offering you a free review of your current website to see how it is performing. I normally charge £300 for a review so not only will you learn how you can increase your website conversions but I’ll even do it for free.

So for your free review or for help with any other aspect of your marketing, contact me on mikejennings@bda.me.uk or call on 01483 200387.

 

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How To Avoid These Classic Website Mistakes

Do you want to avoid these classic website mistakes?

The web has been around for about 20 years now.

But amazingly many small businesses are still making glaring errors with their websites.

When you consider that the web has become the default resource we all use when looking for just about any information, you realise just how much SMEs are limiting their own success.

Let’s go through some of these classic website mistakes that small businesses are commonly making. Get these right and at least you’re giving your website a fighting chance of being successful.

No Clear Objective

Too many businesses put up a website without too much thought of what they expect from it.  The point is that you must be absolutely clear what your objectives for the website are.

Are you looking to make sales off the page?

Do you want visitors to contact you?

Are you looking to collect email addresses?

Or are you happy for your site to be a brochure site which re-enforces  your other sales activity?

Whatever it is you want your website to achieve, you must be clear in advance so that you write and design it with that role in mind.

What action do you want your visitors to take?

The purpose of your website is to make visitors take some kind of action.

You need to be very clear exactly what action you want visitors to take and tell them very precisely what to do.

So whether that is to phone you, to email you, to make a purchase or to leave their contact details, make sure you give them that instruction and that instruction only.

Not built for mobile devices

This is becoming increasing important every year.

If you’re in an industry where people are searching for your services when they’re out and about such as cab companies or restaurants or your target audience is predominantly young people then having a smart phone and tablet compatible website is vital.

In April Google are doing another of their regular algorithm updates. This latest update is focusing on websites being mobile friendly.

Up til now the concern has been that websites should be mobile responsive ie they resize themselves to fit the screen they’re being viewed on.

This new emphasis on being mobile friendly will be looking at the user experience so things like the size of text will become increasingly important.

No email address on the home page

Different people like to use different communication methods.

Email doesn’t seem such a big step as picking up the phone.

Not having an email address on your home page could lead to you missing out on contact from visitors who aren’t ready to have a conversation.

So make sure you’re making it as easy and comfortable as possible for visitors to contact you by putting your email address on your home page.

Lack of social proof

Social proof in the form of testimonials and case histories is vital for establishing your credentials.

A quality testimonial, stating how the customer has benefited from your services, along with a convincing name, company name(if appropriate) and a photograph will give visitors confidence in the quality of your products and services.

While you’ll probably have a dedicated page for testimonials, having a couple on your home page is important as many visitors may not get past the home page.

Lack of keywords

You can have the best website in the world but if no one can find it, it’s unlikely it will deliver your objectives.

You must ensure that your primary keywords are built appropriately into your copy. Your text must be written for the reader or Google will penalise you if you repeat keywords too often or your text is obviously written for the search engines.

But the fact is that if the search engines can’t relate your text to the search terms people are using, you won’t show up in the search results.

Of course these points only cover the very basics.

So how does your website measure up?

 

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Why The Content Of Your Website Is So Important

Recently I was checking out the website of an SEO guy I’d met at a networking event. As websites are at the very heart of this guy’s business, I was expecting the website to be technically perfect, maybe not very inspiring but put together with the ultimate care and attention to detail.

Well was I ever disappointed.

It was a mess.

It was littered with typos and grammatical errors. Now you could argue that this isn’t important and the only important thing is whether he can get my website to a prominent position on the first page of Google. My impression wasn’t helped by the fact that his website wasn’t ranking highly for what I thought were his most obvious keywords.

Moving away from the example of this one company, the question is whatever business you’re in, how important is the spelling, grammar and over all presentation of your website?

Coming back to my SEO scenario, I immediately started to form an opinion about him and his business standards and that led to my conclusion of shoddy website content = shoddy workmanship. I could be completely wrong, of course but if I’d come across that site purely via a Google search I would immediately move on to other sites that look more professional and show that they care about how they present themselves to the world.

I believe that words really do count when it comes to websites. After all, for the most part, it’s the written word that is doing the hard work on any website small businesses have to rely on their website content to get across their key messages and find a compelling way to engage with customers in order to keep visitors on their site for more than the 8 seconds that you have to persuade them to stay. Your website content is your business voice, so if you want to build trust and credibility, the words, grammar, punctuation and layout on each page of your website are vital.

The Internet has presented us with so much choice that we have to find ways of making decisions, applying various filters to get down to the final two or three businesses that we might purchase from. If the spelling and presentation let the site down, you’ve found a reason to discard that prospect.

We’re all concerned about our search engine rankings and now Google is focusing on the visitor experience and penalising sites that are written for search engines, we all should concentrate on the quality of the content and making sure that the site makes the best possible impression.

A little attention to detail, ensuring your site has no spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or layout glitches, could make a huge difference to your visitor response.

 

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Is Your Website A Dynamic Lead Generator Or A Tick In The Box?

For many businesses, their website is the most fundamental piece of their marketing collateral. When setting up the business, most business owners, rightly, want to have their website up and running before they even launch. It’s that important.

So if it’s so important, why is it that so few people actually think through what they want their website to achieve for them or what action they want visitors to take when they’re on the site.

Not only do they miss out on these vital pieces of strategic thinking but they also want to create their site as cheaply as possible and they see it as a one off piece of activity, which once it has been created allows them to tick it off on their to do list.

This are huge mistakes.

A website that is approached in this way will undoubtedly fail to deliver leads or sales for your business.

How much should you spend?

This is of course an impossible question to answer. The amount you spend will be determined by:

  • The objectives for the site
  • The functionality of the site
  • The size of the site
  • The budget available

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating spending more money than can be afforded. What I’m saying is that the mindset should be to spend enough to achieve the objectives of the site as opposed to the objective to be to spend as little as possible.

Your website should be dynamic

You should look to keep the content of your website as up to date and current as possible. There’s nothing worse than finding out of date information on a website. Special offers that closed months ago, out of date news items and information that is no longer current.

Google is always looking for new content and will reward a site accordingly. If the content of your site never changes, then the likelihood is that your search engine ranking will be commensurately poor.

For your website to deliver what you want it to deliver you have to be prepared to invest in it, both in terms of financial investment and time investment.

It’ll be worthwhile I assure you.

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Does Your Website Contain Calls To Action?

As all salesmen know, at the end of your sales pitch you have to ask for the order.

If you don’t ask, your prospect may well not offer and the opportunity will go begging.

What holds good in face to face selling, also applies to sales letters and websites.

Website Mistake no 1

For some reason most web pages on most websites, make exactly this mistake. They conclude with… nothing at all.

By not asking for the order many websites and web pages fail to generate the enquiries and leads that they should.

In most cases, this can be quickly and easily resolved by adding a simple call to action to each page.

After all, if you can persuade someone to read your page, you owe it to them to suggest the next step which could be to pick up the phone, to sign up for a newsletter or special report or whatever else you want them to do.

Almost every page on your website should end with a call for action something like this:

“To get started or to find out more -please call us now on 01483 200387, email us on info@bda.me.uk or contact us through the website www.bda.me.uk

You are doing this aren’t you?

If you’re not I suggest you do something about it right now.

A couple of years ago I had a client who was a carpet cleaner. His website was fine but he wasn’t getting as many enquiries as he hoped for.

After adding powerful calls to action on all the relevant pages and giving his visitors a variety of different ways to respond, the total number of enquiries went up from an average of 3 per week to nearly 7 per week.

You may or may not think that’s a lot of enquiries but it is an increase of over 100%

Website Mistake  no 2

You may look at your website and say…

“But we have our phone number at the top of the page in the banner, we have a Contact Us page  and we even have some graphic banners down the side of each page offering our newsletter and special reports – surely we’ve already got strong calls to action”.

And you’d be right – it does and you’d be absolutely correct having all these things.  Hopefully your visitors are responding to them.

But…

Many website visitors suffer from “banner blindness”.

They come to your site looking for specific information.

They find the information they’re looking for and start scanning at that point.

If (and only if) the copy is relevant and compelling, they will then read on but many of them will blank out the surrounding graphics and banners, as they focus on the information they came to find.

These people are reading the text. You therefore need to include your website calls to action in the text itself otherwise you run the very real risk of them missing the call to action and doing nothing.

The great thing is that you can test this and measure the effect.

Add calls to action to the relevant pages and then by using your Google Analytics  you will be able to track changes in visitor behaviour and of course you will immediately see the difference in visitor response.

Make the changes if you need to and let me know how your response changes.