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Online presence for your business

Perceived reasons why corporate websites suck

You run a successful business. Your service is great and you provide good value, that’s why you have so many repeat customers and referrals.

Then, you heard from your friends and associates how all the businesses are going online across the world. You’re invisible if you’re not up there, you’re told. “OK,” you thought. “Since it’s so important, let’s get a website so our customers can find us online.” And you got a nice website built by a web developer. Problem is, you don’t seem to be getting any traffic through your fancy new site, so you decide to pay for some online marketing. After a few months, you find your website is now more visible when you search for it on Google, but you STILL don’t get any customers from the website. What is wrong? Below are a few of the common mistakes I often see in corporate websites:

1. Not creating simple Contact Forms If you are a business that gets customers by doing face to face consultations to close a sale, lead generation becomes especially important for your website. Yet, some business sites I see seem to do everything in their power to force the visitor NOT to contact them. Problems include making it hard to find your address and email, having several fields to fill in before you can submit the contact form, and calling your contact form a contact form. It’s not a contact form. It’s an invitation for a free consultation or quotation. Which is what you’re after as a business, remember?

2. No coherent focus for your website features All the elements on your website should, in some manner, help push your visitor towards towards making a decision to contact you. If your focus is on getting them to download a white paper or try a service online, the layout and features would be very different from if you are trying to get visitors to contact you for potential sales. A common mistake of many business owners is to think up “cool” ideas and ask the developer to put it in the site without thinking how it meshes with the other features. This can make your website lose focus, look overly cluttered, and lower the overall impact you’re trying to make on your visitor. Don’t try to do too many things on your website. Decide on one or two marketing goals and really focus all your features to support them.

3. Not measuring the performance on your site Most businesses I know don’t bother with measuring site traffic, but if you don’t measure, how will you know what is working and what needs to be changed? A useful site is not just one which provides data when people look you up. It’s also one that prompts visitors to take some sort of action. Only by measuring the performance can you tell if a particular feature is worth the time and money you’re investing in it. If you don’t measure, you will never know how to improve your online marketing. Besides, it’s 100% free. Simply request for your web designer or agency to hook up your website to Google Analytics and you can start tracking your site activities within a few hours (Most developers should be happy to do this for you since it’s not complicated).

4. Not spending time or money on the right type of marketing A good website is like a funnel. It helps you encourage your visitors to take a specific set of actions that is beneficial for your business. If there is no water (visitors), however, the funnel is basically useless. So how do you get the water? If you’re like 99% of the businesses out there, you pay someone like Google for advertising and expect water to gush out from a tap. This is also, to me, one of the most inefficient ways to spend your marketing dollars. In online marketing, channels are important. Typically each industry has a different set of optimal channels that provide most cost-effective response rate, and rarely are they popular solutions like Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Remember, all your other competitors are using them, so competition is fierce and you get low quality leads. The best channels are typically the ones that are not ad-based at all and even free. For instance, if your business does products or services that are heavily based on visuals, e.g. photography, you can set up an account on photo-sharing sites like instagram, Imgur, Flickr, linking back to your site.

5. Design does not fit your business It’s not often the case, but sometimes, design IS the problem. Your website should reflect your brand identity and what customers you prefer. If your site is modern, it’ll likely attract customers who like to try something new. If it is conservative, it’ll attract customers who prefer traditional, well-understood ways of doing things. If it looks cheap and messy, it’ll attract customers who are cheap and don’t know what they want. If it looks expensive, it’ll attract customers who have spending power but very high expectations. For the site to be useful to your business, its design should most closely match what you think your ideal customer will like. This is why it’s so important to communicate that to your web developer when you are planning the site.