Your Website Performance, Comfy Slippers and Goldfish

Do you know what ‘sup with your Website?

Don’t pretend you didn’t hear the question.

And don’t turn your head in shame when you think about how long it has been since you last updated your website. Website - Comfy Slippers

If you are a typical business owner, chances are your website performance has been ignored for too long.

Hey, it happens.  Initially, you spend a lot of time, energy and resources getting your website developed.  Once it’s up and you are happy with it, it becomes and out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

Or, like me, you’re active and comfortable with your website.  It’s like your favorite pair of old slippers.

It may look a little weathered, but it works.  Why change?

A website upgrade may be required because time marches on. 

Do you really need a website upgrade?  Take a look at the facts.

1.  Online competition for audience attention is fierce.

  • 500 years of YouTube videos were watched on Facebook in 2013  (source: Wired article)
  • 700 videos were shared on Twitter each minute (source: Wired article)
  • 3 billion likes and comments were posted to Facebook – EACH DAY (source: Wired article)
  • As of April 2014 there are around 958,919,789 sites — 39 million more than last month. (source: Netcraft)  website - Goldfish - the marketing bit

2.  According to Digby’s Mobile Industry Statistics, mobile viewership continues to grow so your theme has to be responsive to accommodate these viewers.

3.  Audience attention span is decreasing.  A study reported by Statistic Brain about web usage, reported that the average human attention span had decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to only 8 seconds in 2012.

4.  New trends in fonts, graphics, colors and website layout begin to make your website look old, dated and out-of-touch regardless of how fresh the content.

Knowing it was past time to update my website, I dived into all sorts of information about website strategies, website redesign, and responsive websites, various website builders and on and on.  I shopped until I dropped looking at tons of free and premium themes.  After a long while, I realized I was delaying the inevitable.  I was in a state of serious resistance.

What I learned along the way is that a website upgrade isn’t really about picking out a new theme, new colors, theme features, and icon offerings or going crazy about the different types of eye-popping sliders.  Trust me.

The first decision you need to make is  the role you want your website to play in the marketing of your business and how you can optimize its performance to the fullest.

What role should your website play in your online marketing efforts? 

Yesterday, business owners viewed their websites as static digital Yellow Page ads, heavy on selling and text.  That approach hasn’t worked for a long, long time.

Today, your website design and performance either opens or closes the door to capturing prospects, to generating business and to strengthening your bond with your current customers.

This means your website is your business’ most important online marketing asset.  Think of all your website can and should be doing.

1.  Image

It communicates an image of you, your business and the quality of your products.

  • What image does your website communicate?

2.  Tells them what and for whom

Ideally, your website clearly and quickly communicates what you do and for whom you do it.

  • When people land on your site, will they know what you do?
  • Will they know if they are part of your audience?

3.  Capture interested prospects

Your website is your primary online tool to capture email addresses of interested prospects.

  • Does your website offer them a sufficient incentive to join your email list?

4.  Preselling

It can help in preselling interested prospects.

  • Does your website have information, case studies, testimonials, product information that will address the most frequent questions and concerns of your prospects?
  • Does it segment your website visitors into meaningful categories for future marketing?
  • Does your website speak to and offer customized content to a variety of different types of visitors?

5.  Passively Selling

It can serve as your 7/24/365 sales force.

  • Does your website present visitors with sufficient benefits to entice them to purchase and does it make it easy for them to do so?
  • Does it have a built-in sales process that stair steps them into knowing more about what you offer?
  • Are the ‘thank-you’ pages optimized?

6.  Expand your audience

Through thoughtful SEO, fresh strategic content, easy to locate social share buttons, websites can help you expand your audience.

  • Do you pay attention to SEO?
  • Are you providing fresh content for each type of website visitor?
  • Do you make it easy for them to share your content with their networks?

That’s not all

As you work through these questions and figure out how to enhance your website, you’ll find there are a lot of gaps.  This is what I’m currently working through with my website.

  • You’ll need more information to speak directly to prospects and/or to current customers.
  • You’ll have to conduct a site/blog audit to see what materials work best where and how best to present those pieces.
  • As you do your audit, you’ll find pages and pieces that don’t really fit any more and can be tossed.
  • You’ll need more landing pages to make it easy for interested prospects to sign-up for your newsletter or to purchase online.
  • You’ll need new tools to make your website work the way you want it to.

Then you need to test

Once you’ve made all the enhancements, you also need to test your finished website and see if the steps you’ve taken are really working.

You want objective input on your site’s performance.  You could ask a business associate, use free tools like Peek for usability,  Hubspot’s Marketgrader or others or you could hire a website optimization firm like Optimizely.  Links to these resources are at the end of this post.

Bottom Line?  Not for Sissies

A website upgrade is a process and not for the weak of heart.  Increasing its performance takes a lot of forethought, time, energy and work and it never ends.

The upside is that an enhanced, up-to-date website can reap you significant online rewards.

In short, it’s worth the effort.

Your Turn

When is the last time you updated your website?

How well is your website performing the online marketing of your business?

Can you make it better?  What’s stopping you?

You should share your thoughts in the comments section below so others can learn from your experiences.

Resources: 

Netcraft.com

Digby Mobile Industry Statistics

Statistic Brain

Peek

Hubspot’s Marketgrader

Optimizely

 

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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