Business owners who think they can survive with a suboptimal website (or without one at all) got a hard reality check this week. According to ABC News, Cyber Monday this year was the biggest day for online shopping in American history. Consumers spent a record $6.6 billion in one day.
Whether you fought for every last dollar from frantic bargain hunters or your business sells services rather than goods, a winning website is key for attracting consumers and closing the deal. If you aren’t seeing the online business you want to see, here are a few signs that your site is not up to snuff.
Your Website Isn’t Mobile-Friendly
Of the nearly $7 billion customers spent online for Cyber Monday, $2 billion (roughly 30%) came from users on mobile devices. Our agency sees this with website traffic for clients in the legal, medical and dental verticals, and mobile dominance is clearly on the rise for online shopping.
Whether you’ve just launched your website or you regularly make changes, check what your site looks like on the devices users use to find you online. If the majority of your mobile users are on iPhone and your site takes three times longer to load on an iPhone than your competitor’s website, that is a usability issue that loses you business.
There are many other mobile usability challenges; you just need to understand what challenges your users face. By fixing these issues, your website will be functional and fast on mobile. Good mobile user experience sets your business apart from the competition.
Your Website Design Is Dated and Dysfunctional
As the old adage goes, “the first bite is with the eye.” When users access your website, do they see stock photo models sporting outdated hairstyles and clothes? Or do they see relatable people enjoying your product or using your service?
Some businesses are more photogenic than others. However, custom photography is always a sound investment, especially when photos of you, your employees, your office or storefront and even your customers can give the users who find you online a reason to stay on your website.
Other design elements like the color scheme, professional presentation of the logo and the navigation are also important for earning business. Whether the personality of your business is professional or irreverent, your website should not look like yesterday’s newspapers or last century’s wallpaper. Opt for a look that tells customers who you are and directs them to take action, and your design will effectively combine form and function.
You Don’t Show Up in Search Results
Consumers have many different ways to find goods and services these days, from social media to directory platforms for every industry imaginable. But, for many users, Google and other search engines are still the first avenue for finding what they need.
A website that has good search engine optimization (SEO) effectively targets and shows up in search results for terms and queries that are likely to result in a user spending money. If your business doesn’t show up in search results, that could mean your website is poorly optimized or the terms you’re targeting are so competitive that your site gets muscled out — or both.
With greater personalization in technology comes significant variation in search habits, which could result in another SEO possibility: Your website optimization is too broad. Targeting only the high-level, ultra-competitive queries that every business in your industry is pursuing is a missed opportunity.
Users who are ready to buy might enter idiosyncratic (read: less popular) phrases into the search engine, but they still exhibit an intent to make a purchase. If your business website is the only one targeting that less common search phrase and you get a smaller population of intent-driven users to access your site, you are able to make sales that your competitors miss entirely with old-school, volume-driven SEO campaigns.
You Don’t Tell Customers Who You Are
Digital marketing options are more robust than ever, giving you almost limitless opportunities not only to reach target customers but capture their attention and earn their business. Brands are taking creativity in advertising to the next-level to get more customers, but “banner blindness” will continue to be a challenge.
No matter where you invest your marketing money, authenticity sets top businesses apart from the competition. If your competitors integrate original photos into their campaigns or let customers see and hear them speak through custom videos, a generic messaging campaign is going to leave you with a small piece of the pie (if not crumbs).
While consumers have become more sophisticated, the technology for businesses to reach consumers with creative, high-quality original content (photos, videos and more) has become more accessible and less expensive.
Your Website Is a Digital Shingle, Nothing More
Anyone with the right qualifications can set up shop and start doing business as a doctor, a lawyer, a plumber, a candlestick maker and many other merchants and service providers in between. Anybody can say that they provide a service, but your website is one of the first opportunities to show a worldwide audience why you are different and why a prospective customer should choose your business.
Make every component of your business website useful. This often involves trial and error upfront, followed by an ongoing process of updates and revisions. Looking at your website as a work in progress can help you set realistic goals for digital marketing and see meaningful results for your business.
What’s more, a website that evolves reflects the evolution of your business. By winning consumers and keeping them engaged online, your business continues to grow, too.