Today’s business world is vastly different than what it may have looked like when you created your business. While websites used to function primarily as an online brochure telling people who you are, what you do or sell and your location, today’s websites should be designed – both visually and technically — to attract new business and clients. If your site is not intended for an inbound or content marketing strategy, you are leaving money on the table. Can you afford to do that?
When I talk to many business owners, they think that their website still functions as a mere “digital presence.” They understand that people need to be able to look them up or access data about their services or products from their website. But, beyond that, they often do not see the importance of having a fully functional, responsive site designed to express their brand, differentiate them from the competitors and provide fresh content to help them with SEO efforts. They are stuck in the past.
Not having a responsive mobile site with fresh content hurts your rankings with Google’s algorithms. If your website is like a billboard on a very rural road, who will find you? The simple answer is they won’t. Hence, you are leaving money on the table.
I often hear things like “It’s my product/service/reputation that attracts new business” or “My sales people are the ones getting new business for me.” Both of these objections seem valid, but in today’s digital world, you are losing business if you have a poorly designed site. More and more, folks are researching what they need/want and who provides it before they pick up the phone and decide to buy. If your digital presence doesn’t stack up to your competitors or not found on the first page of results, you just lost a potential customer. How many times does that need to happen before your competition runs you out of business?
But how do you know you are losing business just because your site is outdated? With today’s analytics, we can calculate, based on your ranking results and that of a few competitors, how much business you could be losing. Deeper analytics or market research can also compare revenue results, but we can start with simple data based on average conversion rates and your average sale. We can clearly see how your competitors (ones you may not even know existed) are performing compared to yourself. This market research is invaluable in dictating a new marketing strategy. In fact, designing a new website without it is like building a house without a blueprint.
Here’s a quick list of things to ask or do to help you evaluate your website:
- Is your website responsive? How does it look from your smartphone? You want to make sure your website loads properly on all screen sizes, whether that be phones, tablets, or different computer screens.
- Run Google Analytics to find out how your site compares to others. You can subscribe to tools like SEMrush for keyword and organic search research.
- Survey current clients and ask them what they think about your site. Ask them questions like: Is the user experience well received? Could you easily grasp and understand what we do and who we are as a company?
- Browse competitor sites or those that closely align to what you do. See if you design truly differentiates yourself from the crowd.
- If your site is 5+ years or older, you should consider an update. Just like your house needs periodic updates, your website does too. It is your digital brick and mortar business.
- If your industry has undergone changes, your content should be talking about it. If not, you don’t look like you know what is current and won’t look dependable to a prospect.
- If your business has minimal revenue growth or revenue declines, you should evaluate how your website is positioning you among your competitors. Are they taking your business?
- If your website doesn’t portray your brand and differentiates you from competitors than your recruiting/HR department may not be able to attract new talent in a competitive job market. Can you afford to lose top talent to competitors?
My worst fear is that business owners will not respond quickly to today’s digital marketplace and slowly lose business to competitors. It may not have disastrous results in the near future, but procrastinating never earned any business more revenue. How long will you leave money on the table?