Do you remember the last time you bought a new car? The thrill of driving came back, you actually wanted to drive in traffic just to be seen and you were constantly wiping every little speck of dust off of it. And oh, that new car smell!
Then it got older, depreciated. The thrill went away and your new car just became your car — the thing that gets you from point A to point B.
The same thing has happened to websites all across the Internet, and your website may be one of them.
When your website launched, you were excited too. After all, it was fresh, clean and new. It held value for you. Partially because you probably spent a good amount of money on it, but also because you had thoughts and/or plans on how it would work for your business.
Maybe those plans fell through due to bad providers or lack of marketing budget. Maybe you were going to wait until you built other aspects of your business. Meanwhile, your website kept aging. This is a common situation in small business.
Time does indeed fly. Suddenly, your website is two years old and yet you’ve still done nothing to maintain the value you initially placed in it. Consider how much money you spent having it designed and developed — don’t you want to feel that was money well spent?
You can get that feeling back by simply getting your site back to the condition it was when it was new, maybe even better than new! You don’t have to invest in a huge marketing or SEO plan. A small maintenance investment can go a long way to having your website be a true representation of your business, not to mention give you that pride of ownership!
Granted, maybe you think that your website is fine as is, since you don’t really get much business from it. But, consider this: maybe you don’t get that much business from your website because it’s not fine as it is?
Here’s a challenge for you. Below are 5.1 issues that your website may be experiencing. Review your site carefully, if one or more of the below are present on your website, you’re risking alienation of your site visitors, causing them to leave and go somewhere else — which means lost revenue for you.
1. Outdated content. Announcements or promotions are finite; showing a winter special in July hardly constitutes a current event. And how do you explain denial of the offer if someone were to respond? Another example is still having someone on the site who no longer works for you, which can cause confusion and sometimes disappointment for the user. A blog post about current events from a year ago in which circumstances have changed is another no-no.
2. Small or low-quality images. The best way to gain someone’s attention is with a strong visual cue. Today’s websites use multiple images in large sizes to catch the reader’s eye and compel them to read your content. Many small businesses also like to use their own photos taken on their phone, often with inconsistent orientation and blurry subjects. This practice throws the professional look you’re trying to achieve out the window.
3. Confusing navigation. A website’s menu is intended to help the user find what they’re looking for faster, or guide them to the content you want to promote. Many menus don’t meet that objective, often having some main menu items and sub-menu items together that aren’t related at all. And if the site has many pages, a badly organized menu is like one wrong turn in a city you’re not familiar with, causing confusion and frustration. Eventually, the user leaves.
4. Bad functionality. The most common malfunction is a bad link, where the destination page changed location or its name or no longer exists at all. This also reflects on you, as the user will often conclude that if you can’t keep the link correct, how will you take care of them? Another common issue is a contact form that goes to an email that no longer exists, or the CAPTCHA on the form is outdated and malfunctions, preventing the user from submitting their request.
5. Slow loading. Enter or click on the link to your site and time how long it takes to fully show up. If it takes more than 3 seconds, your load time is too slow. In actuality, current statistics show that 40% of visitors won’t wait if a site takes more than 3 seconds to load. In fact, it’s still fairly common for a site to freeze or not load at all. In addition to optimizing your website, check with your hosting provider and see about moving up a service level or two.
5.1 Inadequate security. This may be the most important issue of all, as security is paramount to online users and their personal information, so you need to make sure your website is HTTPS enabled. As of July 1, the Google Chrome browser started labeling any non-HTTPS website as “Not Secure”. Chrome is used by more than 60% of Internet users, which means a large majority of web users will be seeing this label when looking at your website — causing confusion, alarm and a strong possibility they will choose to go somewhere else. Firefox is also using similar messaging. Users want to feel that their information is safe on your site, HTTPS is the best way to provide some assurance.
If none of the above apply to your website, then good for you! You’re taking care of one of the most important tools for marketing yourself and your business. But if any of the above do apply, you need to strongly consider what you’re going to do to make your website what you always wanted it to be — a highly functioning and accurate representation of your business, and one of the most important weapons in your marketing arsenal.
Get that new car smell back today, contact us for a free website assessment!