Your business website is your virtual shop window – for many of your prospects, it’s the first thing they see and the place at which they form their crucial first impression of you.

When prospects first land on your website, many may click away without engaging – unless you have something there that will encourage them to click and go further. What happens during that first encounter – what they see when they click, is just as important as what is on the front page. It’s just the same as a physical shop – a beautifully dressed window is attractive, but the store also needs to deliver when you walk through the door

Unfortunately, companies don’t always get it right. Digital marketing and web design isn’t their area of expertise. As a result, they wind up losing prospects who would have otherwise bought from them.  In this post, we take a look at some of the things that could be letting your website down and losing you prospects. Take a look at your own website and see if you can improve in these areas.

Jamming Everything in “Above The Fold”

Brands naturally want to position their most important messages “above the fold.” Therefore, they ram their websites with as much information as possible at the top, under the assumption that users won’t scroll down to read more. In some cases, this can lead to the first page looking cluttered and maybe a bit overwhelming and off-putting

However, study after study shows that this isn’t actually how people behave online. Scrolling is one of the most natural actions in the world – and something that the majority of users will do if you pique their interest with your headline

The message is this: place your most important items at the top of the fold, and then elaborate further down your pages. Consider viewing areas across multiple devices, particularly smartphones. 

Internal Linking

While many new businesses understand the importance of third-party backlinks, they don’t always appreciate the role of internal linking. Linking between pages on your website still offers vital SEO value. 

The reason for this has to do with how search engines, such as Google and Bing, decide which pages from your domain to display. Often, they want to see a hierarchical structure, with your homepage front and centre, and then smaller category pages linking to it. 

Internal linking helps with this process. Crawling bots scour pages and then count the number of links to particular pages. The more links it has, the more important they assume it to be. 

Email Sign Up Forms

Many businesses believe that the purpose of their website is to make direct sales. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, in most markets, there can be a long delay between discovering the product, finding out more about it and then buying it. 

The primary goal of most service-oriented businesses should be to encourage people to sign up for marketing emails. Email marketing helps to keep would-be prospects in the loop, giving them time to make up their minds as to whether they can benefit from your services or not. In some cases, this process can take months. 

If you can, try to arrange your website around the goal of getting people to sign up to your email or newsletter. This way, you can start creating low-cost marketing strategies to get them interested in your brand.

Thank You Pages

Thank you pages are sometimes a bit of an afterthought for many small businesses. They can’t quite see the point of them. They just seem like extra, unnecessary hassle which adds to the cost of running the business. 

But they are critical for two reasons.

  1. They give visitors peace of mind, confirming the action that they took (instead of just returning them to the home page or blank screen). 
  2. They are an opportunity to continue selling

The second point is particularly important. When somebody completes an action that results in a thank you page, they are much more likely to take another action that you want them to take. For example, if they just bought a product, they may also be more willing to sign up for your email newsletter or read your latest blog.

Is your Site Mobile Friendly?

It doesn’t matter how good the desktop version of your site is, if it’s not mobile-friendly, it’ll underperform. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the user experience will suffer. People will find it hard to navigate a website designed for desktop on their mobile devices. And the second is that search engines are now actively penalising brands that don’t make their websites mobile-friendly. Hence, your website is far less likely to appear at the top of search results. 

Correcting this problem, though, is usually quite straightforward. If you’re using a website builder, most of them offer mobile compatibility by default. If you’re not using one of these, you can go to a web designer and have them perform a conversion for you. Mostly, this doesn’t involve a great deal of work. It’s simply a matter of reformatting your pages and background scripts to accommodate mobile browsing. 

Focus on your Team Pages

When users encounter you for the first time, they are often curious about who you are and what you can offer them. They want to find out more about the team behind the products, and their credentials, before handing over any money. 

However, if your team pages aren’t complete, you could wind up failing to convert traffic coming to your site. A lack of information might harm trust. 

What’s more, Google is also using team pages to help individuals within companies rank better. So, for instance, a person might search for “Carol James” because they met her at a conference. If they can’t find her on your team pages, they won’t associate her with your company, and you’ll miss out on potential business. 

Remember, a few years ago, Google changed how it ranks. It no longer ranks whole websites. Instead, it ranks pages. Therefore, if you can be the best source of information about your people on the internet, you’re much more likely to rank higher in the results. 

Leverage Social Proof

Social proof is perhaps the most important marketing tool of the digital age. Prospects want to find out how their peers experienced your services. They’re not always willing to take your word for it. 

If you’re failing to leverage social proof, it could harm your conversion rate. It sends a signal to your prospects that you don’t actually have any satisfied leads, making them wonder why they should use you. 

Using social proof on your site is easy. 

First, you can install a review widget. This is a tool that you can use to display current service reviews on your website from a reputable source, such as Google or Trustpilot. 

Next, you can share what people have been saying about your brand in blog posts or via your social media handles. The more verifiable testimonials you can provide, the better. 

You can also get your customers to film themselves using your products and services and talking about how great they are. Uploading these gives potential buyers more confidence than even a review. 

Use the Power Of Chat

Most business websites have a contact form that users can fill out to get in touch. They enter their message and then, if they’re lucky, the business will email them back within a day or so.  Unfortunately, most customers don’t actually like this approach. They’d much prefer to simply chat and get an instant response, like they can on social media. 

For this reason, you might want to look for more information how to add chat to your website. Including a chat box that pops up in the corner of your site when users need help can drive conversions and also reduce customer service rep burden. It’s easy to implement. 

Make your Call to Action clear

CTAs – or calls to action – are vital for website success. You need buttons that users can press to get the things that they want from you (or, put another way, for them to go to the places that you want them to go)

Unfortunately, many brands aren’t implementing CTAs effectively – CTA buttons should stand out and be noticeable if you want people to click them. One way of doing this is to choose a complementary CTA colour using a colour wheel. It’s easy to do: once you’ve chosen the main colour for your brand or website, just pick the one directly opposite it for your CTA. For instance, if orange is your main colour, then your CTAs should be navy. Or if purple is your main colour, your CTAs should be yellow. 

Conclusion

Many of these tweaks seem small and inconsequential, but you never know which one might be the key to retaining more of the people that visit your website, so that you can communicate with them, warm them up and hopefully convert them into buyers and fans. Which of these will you implement this year?

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