It’s no secret that most customers will do at least some of their research and shopping online. Successful websites are becoming ever more sophisticated in how they engage with and educate their visitors. Website users are demanding and impatient. How do you ensure that you capture their attention? Could you be driving your visitors away?
There are lots of reasons why a website might be performing poorly and causing a business to lose sales. So if your site isn’t working as well as it should, use this checklist to see where improvements could be made:
Is it well designed?
There are two potential issues here. Firstly, make sure that your website is laid out in a way that makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Secondly, consider whether the design reflects your business in a positive, contemporary way. Websites with dated designs can be a major turn-off and will drive potential customers away. As we highlighted in our blog post: the importance of professional web design, 94% of a website user’s initial impressions are affected by the design. This can be a good point to get some expert advice; if you’re not sure if the design of your website is working.
Is it responsive?
A responsive website is one that adapts itself according to the user’s device (i.e. screen size). This means that it will still function and look good whatever the platform or browser being used. If your site is not optimised for mobile, for example, then you may be losing potential customers who are looking for you on their phone.
Does it load quickly?
Online customers are not famous for their patience and are likely to give up on your site if it doesn’t load quickly. And in fact deciding what they think of the site will take users only 0.05 seconds! There are several possible reasons for slow-loading pages, such as overly complex coding, the use of unoptimized images, too many plugins etc. Slow loading can also be linked to your hosting, so you may want to review this.
Are your landing pages effective?
A landing page is a point at which a visitor enters your website. It’s often the home page, but it could be a particular blog post or product/service, depending on whether your site has been found through organic or paid search. Review all key landing pages and assess whether it will be clear to new visitors a) where they are, and b) what they should do next (and how to do it).
Is your content up to date and well written?
Check that your content is not only accurate but also grammatically correct and typo-free. Badly written text looks terribly unprofessional and is a poor advertisement for your business. You should also check that all content is up to date, e.g are you promoting an event that has already happened? Make sure that you’re regularly adding fresh content for returning visitors; if there’s nothing new to see then why would they bother coming back? We have a separate blog post here on the importance of content marketing
Are you providing a good user experience?
There are lots of potential issues under this heading, but here are a few questions to get you started: is your navigation clear? Are your images relevant? Do you use pop-ups? Are your calls to action obvious? Do you have too many calls to action? Do you use jargon? Do all of your forms and links work properly? If customers come to your website and have a bad experience, they will seek a better experience on a competitors website.
Are you on social media?
These days most customers expect businesses to have a social media presence; it demonstrates that you are trustworthy, accountable and responsive. Engaging with customers through social media enables you to build brand loyalty, for example by offering special promotions, providing customer support, and sharing useful tips. A potential customer visiting your site for the first time and seeing no obvious social media links may be put off exploring further.
What are the key indicators?
There are some key indicators in your website statistical reports that can help identify problems. Low website leads or sales are obvious indicators of course, but there is other statistical data you can draw upon. For example, review your reports in Google Analytics; high bounce rates and short duration times indicate that visitors are leaving your website early. Read more in our blog post: The 7 Key Google Analytics Statistics you should be tracking.
If you’re starting to see an increase in bounce rates and a decrease in average session duration, it’s a good idea to start thinking of a website refresh before you start slipping down the search engine rankings.
Is it time for a website refresh?
Are you still not sure whether it’s time for a website update? Or just need some advice, get in touch – [email protected] or 01225 309690