Your website should be your online marketing workhorse. With the exception of the Budweiser Clydesdales, workhorses are rarely “pretty” but they are reliable, capable and reasonably easy to maintain. Three critical characteristics that should apply when you're building a business website and running it over time.
The reason that we are stressing reliability, performance and maintenance is that we have seen far too many small businesses get sold a bill of goods by website “designers” who stress style over substance. Slick, glossy websites that rely on images and graphics rather than content may win a creative award for the designer but likely will leave the client with a pretty website that cost a lot of money but doesn't produce a lot of money.
The true measurement of the effectiveness of a website is how it performs…not if it has a pretty face.
What Building A Beautiful Website Really Means
The old adage, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” applies to both your visitors and you. From your visitors perspective you have a beautiful website if they find an answer to a question. From your perspective, the website is downright gorgeous if that visitor turns into a lead. While you want an attractive website its performance is far more important than its looks.
If you want proof have a look at what is unquestionably the largest selling machine on the internet Amazon.com. Crisp clean appearance but the real value is an intuitive site that gets you what you want and gets it to you fast. That's beautiful.
So is your site a pig in lipstick or a productive workhorse or somewhere in between? Here are a few checks you may want to run against your results:
- Are you getting traffic? If you have a beautiful website but nobody sees it, it just doesn't matter. SEO has changed with Hummingbird and Google's encrypting of keyword searches but some basics remain the same. You need your keyword in the page title, meta description, H1 and used naturally throughout the content. Quality backlinks are still a major factor however; depth of content has a new importance now. Be certain to continuously add fresh content.
- Are you getting traffic but have a high bounce rate? This typically is an indicator that your content sucks. People are not finding the information they searched for or the content is dry and not engaging. Look at your analytics. If you find a page with high traffic and high bounce rate figure out how to correct the content…poof, instant goldmine.
- Are you getting traffic, have a low bounce rate but no leads? Every page should have a purpose even if that purpose is simply to get the reader to visit another page. That means every page should have a call to action. If you are not getting leads or calls (50% of leads to service companies come off the phone number) your calls to action are probably either confusing or not compelling enough. You have to make them simple and urgent. “Call us at 888-777-1212 now” “Contact us today” “Download your free report now” “Limited time offer expires November 30. Call now” Yes they may sound corny but they are direct commands with specific time frames associated with them…and they work.
If someone told you that online marketing would be easy they were either misinformed or being disingenuous. Online marketing requires much more effort than the days of buying a Yellow Page listing and a weekly newspaper ad. However, online marketing results just beats the pants off the old forms of advertising…if your building a business website that's a workhorse.