The Five Factors That Are Hurting Your Client’s Website
As a marketing consultant, you’re often coming on the scene to help established companies refine their marketing approach and generate even more business. Hopefully, your client already has an online presence that includes a website.
But just because they have a website doesn’t mean that it’s a good one. Your top priority should be tackling the issues that are hurting your client’s website in order to create an appealing, efficient, effective home for their business on the web.
Read on as we take a look at the five factors that are hurting your client’s website, and what you can do to turn things around.
1. There is No Clear Call to Action
Visitors are coming to your client’s website to learn about their business and to (hopefully) take the next step towards becoming a customer. If they arrive on the homepage and are confused about how the business can help them and what they can do to take advantage of their goods or services, it’s likely that they’re going to look for another business that offers a clearer solution.
The first step here is to develop a crystal clear value proposition. How does your client want to distinguish themselves from the competition? What are they doing that’s completely new and different? And how are they doing it?
When you look at the websites of successful brands, you realize that their homepages get to the point very quickly. I cited Warby Parker in that article on value propositions, and you can see why when you visit their website. It features very little text, a great visual of their products, and a clear call to action: “Try five frames for free” followed by a button that allows you to take advantage of their offer. Notice that their call to action isn’t directly about making a sale—it’s an offer for a free trial—but it gives prospects a clear next step and encourages them to take advantage of one of the unique aspects of Warby Parker’s business model (the ability to try frames at home for free before making a purchase).
2. The Structure is Confusing
Creating a compelling homepage is critical, but making sure the rest of your client’s site is on the same level is just as important. A clear call to action on the homepage should grab a visitor’s attention, but the rest of the site needs to reel them in and seal the conversion deal.
If the site is cluttered with extraneous information, if it’s hard to get from one page to the next (or to find your way back to useful information you just viewed), or if it’s not clear how to get in touch with the business, these are all factors that will frustrate and confuse users and drive them to take their business elsewhere.
The key to creating an effective structure for a website is thinking about it from a visitor’s point of view. Some businesses have designed their website in a way that is logical for them, and syncs up with their internal processes. But the purpose of the website is to serve the customer.
You should encourage them to take a walk in their customers’ shoes. What information would a potential customer expect to see on the site? Where would they expect to find it? What navigation buttons would they scan for in the menu? And what sorts of phrases might they look for via the site’s internal search function? Once you understand what a client’s thought process is, you can design the site’s layout to meet them where they are.
3. They’re Not Optimized for Mobile
According to a recent report from BrightEdge, the majority of users are now turning to their mobile device first to search for products or businesses. This means that if your client’s site is difficult to read on a mobile device, they’re missing out on capturing the attention of most prospects that are searching for them.
Not only that, but Google’s introduction of a mobile-first index, which ranks sites in search results based on their mobile site only, means that your client’s website might not even be showing up in desktop searches if it’s not mobile-friendly.
Your first step should be to see how mobile friendly your client’s site is; Google provides a Webmaster tool that allows you to test any website. For more advice on steps you can take to optimize a site for mobile without hurting design and user experience, check out this article from SEOPressor.
4. The Site is Slow to Load
In a world of ever-increasing internet speeds, there’s nothing more frustrating to users than a site that is slow to load. If your client’s homepage takes half a minute to get up and running, this can easily scare off prospects. If it takes this long just to learn what the business is about, how long will it take to make a purchase? Many users will simply hit the back arrow and select a competitor from their Google search rather than wait it out for a slow-loading site.
Bad hosting is a likely culprit, so you’ll want to make sure you switch your clients over to another hosting platform as soon as possible. Pressable offers hosting and a suite of related products for WordPress sites, and they have solutions for freelancers and agencies that allow you to host multiple sites.
5. The Messaging Isn’t Consistent
Your client’s website is a home base for all of their online marketing efforts, and it will be used by people all throughout their customer journey. Whether they’re just starting out on the marketing hourglass and are encountering the brand for the first time, or they’re visiting the site to re-order or refer a friend, they expect consistency.
A site that has conflicting information, a variety of tones to messaging, or is murky about what exactly they do is going to erode trust with prospects and customers alike. As a marketing expert, you know how to establish a tone that makes sense for your client’s business (a lawyer should be aiming for something like authoritative and intelligent, whereas an event planner might shoot for fun and carefree). From there, you want to ensure that tone is reflected across marketing materials—from all of the pages of their website to their social media posts and even to the way they answer the phone and respond to emails.
Your client’s website is the heart of their online presence. A website that’s ineffective or confusing can be doing damage to their reputation and their bottom line. Helping them to create a streamlined, appealing website with clear messaging and high functionality is the first step to setting them off on the right marketing foot and setting them up for long-term success.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Website Design.