People frequently ask me why their website isn’t working. The first step is to figuring out why your website isn’t performing is look at it with a critical eye. Here are 11 questions to help answer the question “Why isn’t my website working?”
1. Does the domain match your company name?
As the internet ages, it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain .com addresses. When I work with startups, I recommend choosing a business name based on what url addresses are available—preferably .com addresses. You can do a search for domain availability at GoDaddy.com, NetworkSolutions.com and many other sites. Try to get a domain name that’s short and easy to remember. A long domain name is hard to fit on a business card!
One reason people may not be finding your site is that your domain name doesn’t match your business name or has an unfamiliar suffix. Check for most popularly used internet suffixes.
2. Are you proud to share your website?
The design of your website should convey your business personality and appeal to your target markets. Most web developers will give you a frank evaluation as part of a proposal to design a new site. Or, consult with a colleague or client who has recent experience with a new website. Visuals should be crisp and eye-catching. Video content appeals to many—make sure it’s well produced and topical.
3. When was the last time you redesigned your website?
Web technology changes fast. If your website hasn’t been redesigned in the past three years, chances are it doesn’t adapt the display to the type of device being used. Responsive design allows content to be configured for optimal viewing on smart phones, tablets or desktop computers.
Nowadays, there are many ways for you to have a website that you can manage inhouse versus hiring a programmer. WordPress is a very popular solution used by millions of websites. Square is a platform that works well for small ecommerce sites.
4. Is there a clear Call-to-Action?
In order to make a lasting connection with site visitors, make sure you have a clear call-to-action. What do you want them to do? Call you? Browse your latest projects? Buy a new product? Subscribe to your email to get cool content? Make it obvious.
5. Is the site easy to navigate?
How many times have you abandoned a website because you couldn’t find what you were looking for? Turn that critical shopper’s eye to your own website. Make sure frequently sought information is easy to get to from any page on your website. Keep navigation in a consistent location for all site pages. Consider using mega menus if you have multiple subpages.
6. Do you have engaging visuals?
People are more likely to pause and look at a page if there are visuals. Images, well-executed graphs or charts, or infographics are essential to keeping site visitor attention and worth every penny invested.
7. Is content well-written and and concise?
People don’t read. If they see a text heavy page, chances are they will click the back button and go to someone else’s website. Hiring a good writer is worth the investment. They will tailor the style and tone that is most likely to appeal to your target markets. If you can’t afford a writer, please use spell check. Typos show a lack of professionalism that people assume will translates to how you conduct business.
8. Do you post new content regularly?
Right now, content is king. Every time you post new relevant content, search engines will reread all of the content on your site. The more new content you post, the better chances you have of improving your site rank. Alternately, if you don’t post new content the better chances you have of lowering your site rank.
9. Does your site show up in organic searches?
Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing consider their formulas for ranking sites proprietary. It is difficult to determine how much meta data can improve site rankings and Google has gone so far as to say they no longer consider meta data in their formula at all. It has been our experience, however, that when matched with page content, basic meta data can improve site ranking. So, take the time to develop focused, concise page titles, descriptions and key words for all static and dynamic site pages.
10. Are you actively sending people to your website?
Send people to your website at every opportunity. Giving a presentation? Let participants know they can get more scintillating information by subscribing to your enewsletter. Analyze your target markets and where they frequent on social media. Statistics show that people who visit a website from social media stay longer and visit more pages. A memorable business card with a web address is essential.
11. Does your website fit into your corporate brand?
All of your marketing materials should work together like a family. Each component should have a distinct look, but when viewed together have a strong resemblance. See samples of successful corporate brands.
Finally, your website is your organization’s most essential marketing tool. It is where potential clients will verify your credibility and colleagues will direct referrals. An investment in a well designed, organized and written website is your best opportunity to meet potential clients that you don’t already know.