The vast majority of consumers have some sort of online interaction with the companies they end up doing business with. Whether users are introduced to your business through a pay-per-click campaign, social media, blogs, etc, your company website sits at the core of any interaction.
In spite of this, there’s an abundance of business websites that not only aren’t supporting the customer journey but, in fact, are likely hurting the business’ image and the impact its having. Today, we’re going to focus on the biggest mistakes business websites are still making and how to fix them.
The mystery of the missing team
Businesses spend hand over fist every year trying to connect to their consumers and build a relationship with them. We’ve known for some time that people connect much more effectively with other people, rather than abstract entities. We also know that every single business on this planet was founder and is run by people. It seems rather counterintuitive then, that companies would choose to completely exclude their teams from their websites.
From Team sections that contain poorly-executed sketches of employees and barely mentioning their own management team to pages that contain nothing more than a vague description of how professional and skilled all the wonderfully absent people are, businesses seem oblivious to just how big of an asset people are, even in their marketing.
It doesn’t matter if your business is big or small, you have to find a way to incorporate your employees into your website. You can opt for the classic Team page, a carrousel, video intros or even just a big group photo from your latest team event. Whether you go for one of these examples or craft another presentation, showcasing your team is a must in order to be credible, relatable, human.
No pretty pictures
Whether you sell the latest in luxury bags, the cutest sock puppets on the face of this fair planet or boring brooms, your website needs to have crisp, high-quality pictures. Studies have shown that we are much more likely to remember information if it’s paired with a relevant image.
It’s highly recommended that you create your own photo database, periodically refreshing it with new shots. You can use them across your website, to showcase products, your team, and your brand’s personality, as well as social media, PPC campaigns or print media.
If you don’t have the means or budget to come up with your own, there are plenty of wonderful photographers out there who allow you to use their photos for both personal and commercial use, for free. It does take a lot of patience to find something that will work but it’s well worth the effort, as it will allow you to create exciting visuals that accurately support your messages and help your brand become memorable.
Too Much Information
While pilling text onto a website that has few to no pictures sticks out like a sore thumb, companies big and small suffer from TMI. When you don’t understand your brand well enough or don’t have enough substance to justify the sections you believe your website ought to have, people tend to overshare, dropping high-level fluff text left and right.
Not only is this completely useless, as in reality it doesn’t really say anything, but it’s actually hurting the inbound traffic you’re working so hard to get. People don’t have the patience to read a 2,000 word-long company story unless it’s absolutely breathtaking, and even then, the sheer size of the scroll bar is likely to discourage them before they’ve gotten to the second paragraph.
Users have multiple sources of information online and are very much in charge of the way and channels through which they consume information. Learn to distill down your message into the simples, shortest copy possible, keeping in mind what people visiting your website want to read, not what you want them to read. A 3-page, 150-word, 15-image website is perfectly fine, if that’s all you need to effectively present your brand.
Shrugging off the social links
Social media used to be an option for businesses back in 2008. Maybe. Almost 10 years later, if you’re not on some kind of social network communicating with your customers, it’s likely you won’t be in business for very much longer.
Whether start-ups still don’t get the necessity to establish a credible social media presence or they just don’t feel the need to include social links on their company websites, it’s quite surprising to see how many businesses forget about the social component of their sites.
Now, I don’t mean you should install those god-awful plugins that show your latest tweets but, because there are multiple ways through which people can reach your website, you have to make sure that if they’ve not accessed your landing page through social media, you provide them with the opportunity to connect and keep in touch with you through social channels.
Awful home pages
When you’re not building landing pages for every action under the sun, home pages are the most important environment in which you’ll shake hands with your audience. A lousy home page will not only make you seem unprofessional but it will tell your audience that you are either not interested in investing in what is, effectively, your business card, or you are clueless as to why it’s important to do so. Either way, a bad landing page will hurt your reputation and your bottom line.
Some brands build a website and forget about it for a few years; hoping it’ll get better with age, I guess. The digital environment is in a constant state of flux and, unlike good wine, an old website is likely to get you sour grape juice, instead.
Often, marketers have to make the most of what they have and it comes through as a disconnect between an old, shabby website and a fun, shinny social media presence. While they are doing a good job, from a marketing standpoint, they’re making it plainly obvious that the management doesn’t understand or care too much about their own branding. In this case, it’s worth trimming down the marketing budget and show that website some TLC before pumping more money into building hype towards a landing page that sucks.
The Bottom Line
Even though there are multiple environments we can communicate through online, the website is still the most important stop along the customer journey. It will follow-up on a promise you’ve made through your campaigns, it will endear you to your audience, make you look cool to potential hires, and it will make sure you are remembered. Whatever else you spend your budget on, your company website ought to be at the very top of the list.