A Neglected Website = A Failing Website

A Neglected Website = A Failing Website

One question I have recently been asked is… “Can you make my website work?”

For the purposes of this post, we’ll call the individual who asked this question, “Mr T”.

After engaging Mr T in conversation, I quickly established that what his question meant was, he wasn’t getting anywhere near the number of inbounds through his site that he had expected after having it redesigned and redeveloped. What Mr T was saying made me realise that, in some cases, web designers and developers were rather unfairly taking the rap for failing websites.

Sure, we can implement the necessary design and development best practices that go some way to improving SEO e.g. good syntax, a responsive design etc, and can produce an interface that’s intuitive and user friendly, all of which should be expected. But there are several factors that web designers and developers cannot influence which come into play and contribute to your website not “working” for you. These are…

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the long game when it comes to SEO, but bad content is one of the main things that will affect your ranking on a Google search. Ask whether your website’s content includes relevant keywords and key phrases that a user will search for. If so, have you included them in multiple places on your site? You may be missing a trick.

USP Focus

If you’re in a crowded market place, sometimes it’s tough to boost SEO using those common keywords and phrases. If that applies to your industry, you’re better off focussing on your USP’s and utilising less common keywords and phrases. If you offer something unique that nobody else does, shout about it.

Regular Updates

Blogging has become an essential part of any marketing driven website, as this not only generates hits which could potentially lead to inbounds, but regular updates also contribute to your search ranking. This has become such a big factor in SEO that companies now subcontract their blogging out to marketing agencies who specialise in content writing. If you’re serious about making your website effective, invest the time and/or money into regular blogging.

Social Media Marketing

The beauty of social media is it’s free, and this has again become an essential part of a company’s marketing strategy to generate exposure and leads. Posting links to your site on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc taps into a diverse range of potential clients. You never know where the next sale is going to come from, so maximise exposure by using these free tools.

Deaf Ears…

When I explained this to Mr T, he asked why he would pay someone for a website that doesn’t guarantee results, and even suggested I build him a site that he would only pay me for on the basis that, in his words, “it worked”. His argument being, in his industry, he invoices clients for a service that guarantees a return and therefore he expects the same service from a web designer.

Foreseeing a losing battle, I came up with an analogy that you may be able to use with your prospects or clients in the future who maybe also share Mr T’s view…

Websites are like cars.

Despite how well they are designed and built, and how pretty they are to look at, once they are handed over to the client, they need regular care and attention or they will break down and stop “working”.

Look at your blog as the fuel for your website, and keep the engine running through regular content updates. Check your tyres regularly i.e. analyse Google Analytics to make sure you’re maximising the MPG i.e. number of conversions. Top up your oil i.e. utilise social media to generate more hits and help your website run effectively. You get the idea.

When can you blame a web designer?

It goes without saying, in my case, never. However, as with any industry, there are some poor practices out there that may be impacting on the effectiveness of your website. These are…

Ugly Design

Does your website just simply look bad? Believe it or not, some people don’t see any value in having a nice looking website, but nowadays it can be the difference between being judged as credible or not by a potential client. If your website is ugly, the results will be too.

Bad User Experience

Does your website have about 4000 pages with zero thought given to the user’s journey and how they access the relevant information? The Argos catalogue approach to a website shows a distinct lack of care about your users, and confusion will only result in them looking elsewhere. Remember, on average, if a user can’t find what they want within 4-5 seconds, they leave. Check your Google Analytics account to see whether the key information about your business is being found.

Mobile Compatibility

Believe it or not, Google take into account accessibility when determining your search ranking. This means that if your site is not mobile friendly, it counts against you. Any modern day website should not be designed for a fixed width desktop browser, and should be responsive to work on a whole array of different devices of all shapes and sizes.

Bad Syntax

This is something that’s harder for you to look out for, but bad syntax does not bode well for any high search ranking ambitions you may have. Run your website through the W3C Validator to see if your web designer has done their job properly.

Conclusion.

If you’re doing all the right things and your website still isn’t working for you, it may be worth asking a web professional to analyse your statistics with you to see where and why your website is failing. They will be able to recommend what action is needed to improve the results and get your the inbound leads you deserve.

May 15, 2015, Jonny Miller, Founder & Director

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