Are there moments in your day when you need to send your website link to a customer and you just cringe with the thought? Or do you get anxiety every time you send an email, worrying that someone might click on the company link? Or heaven forbid – does it still look like it was built in Microsoft Publisher and have clip art on it?
All jokes aside, if you’re genuinely concerned that your ROI is being hampered by a website that’s unfit for purpose it’s about time you sat your boss down and had a chat with them. Even if your boss is the nicest person alive, it’s always difficult to ask them to part with company cash for what they might not realise is an imperative part of their business.
To start, maybe highlight the reasons why they should get a new website:
- You could be losing customers. If people visit your website and find out-of-date information or are completely unable to view your website because of browser breaks – this needs to be fixed!
- Google may have forgotten about you. If your website hasn’t been updated for a year or more there’s a good chance that Google might think you’re out of business. With things changing so fast these days with technology, Google expects you to keep up!
- You might be losing employees. If you’re hiring and someone visits your website to check things out – they may opt to not even apply depending upon how wonky your website looks. They may be unimpressed and leery that your company is even real, Or your current employees may be too embarrassed to mention where they work at a dinner party for fear that their friend may Google them on their mobile phones and check out the company.
- You might be losing referrals. I don’t know about you, but I don’t send my friends links to weird looking websites. If customers can’t navigate through your website, why would they refer their family or friends to it?
- Competitors out-ranking you. This is key! Every day new websites are being launched in your industry. If you’re not constantly keeping up with your website, these latest and greatest sites will very likely out-rank you in the search engine results.
Here are 10 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR WEBSITE EVALUATION
Go through your company website looking at each of these points, then take this list to your boss and share what you’ve found. Not only will they hopefully get a new website, but they should also be pretty impressed with your research too!
IS THE INFORMATION OUT OF DATE?
There’s nothing worse than a prospective client calling up and asking for a product or service that you no longer have or asking for a deal they found on your website that expired in 2008.
Is your website in date? Do you still have photos of team members that have since moved on? Do you have a photo gallery full of images that are completely irrelevant? Are your contact details up to date?
This is a serious problem if it’s not. Imagine just how many leads you’ve potentially lost from something that could be easily changed.
Google announced last year that if you do not have a social signal you needn’t bother having a website at all (paraphrased). Simply put, if you don’t use Facebook and Twitter, YouTube and other social networking platforms you’re not up-to-date and therefore you must not care about being where your customers are.
You need to use these networks weekly and link them on your website. Check out our article on the importance of social media and what we can offer you.
RESPONSIVE / MOBILE FRIENDLY?
52% of internet browsing is done on a mobile phone. That’s over half of all browsing time done on a phone or an iPad etc. when you view your website on one of these devices, does it automatically fit the page? Do you have to pinch and zoom? Your website should be responsive to any device – if it’s not, that’s an instant minus-point. If you can’t see portions of your website on your phone because they’re Flash – let your boss know, because that makes for a really bad user-experience for your customers and it needs it be fixed.
Plus, in March of this year, Google stated that they’ve started migrating sites that follow the best practises for mobile-first indexing. This means that they will use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help their primary mobile users find what they’re looking for.
They evaluate all the content in their index, whether it’s desktop or mobile, to determine how friendly it is. This can help mobile friendly content perform better for those searching on mobile.
BROKEN IN BROWSERS?
Have you noticed that when you’re viewing your website in Internet Explorer or Chrome that things overlap each other, or elements may even be missing all together? This could be a scripting error that is causing a break inside of that internet browser, and you can bet that customers are experiencing this break as well. You can check to see how your website looks across all new and older browsers using a resource like BrowserStack.
Do you know how much traffic actual visits your website? You should be using Google Analytics which is a free tool. Using this tool will help you show your boss not only actual numbers of visits seeing your site, but you can also show him/her an average age, what type of browser they use, if they visit often, what pages they visit most, how long they stay on your website and so much more!
If you have Lead Forensics, you can get even more information about who your prospective are and where they’re going. If your bounce rate is high and you’re not making any sales, you have a problem. If people are spending less than 10 seconds on your website, you have a problem. This is all information you should be collating and presenting (gently) to your boss.
COMPETITORS ALWAYS OUT RANKING YOU?
When you search on Google for your service – does your website show up on page one? Do competitors constantly out-rank your website? There are many factors to this ranking but making sure that your website was built correctly is the first step. Does your website have a blog? No? It should do. Blogs help index pages and indexed pages help you rank.
BROKEN LINKS / MISSING PAGES
Does your website have broken links or missing pages? This could be something that is caught inside of your Google Analytics. You can use other resources to check like BrokenLinkCheck.com If you’re using a Mac – check out this really great app called Integrity that you can use to check our website.
Or, it could be that your website is broken.
FRESH CONTENT? BLOG?
One of the key things that Google is watching for on your website is something fresh and new! It’s an action that proves to them a that:
- That you’re still in business
- That you want to stay current for your customers
- That you want to stay current in your industry
One easy way to add fresh content to your website is as mentioned above, by including a blog-type feature where you can add resources or helpful articles for your customers. You can also use blogging architecture to archive your press releases, testimonials or reviews. Fresh content is important and there needs to be a way that you can add it easily and quickly to your website.
USE YOUR WEBSITE AS A RESOURCE?
Your website is basically your business online. It should be used as a resource. Often, that gets overlooked and the truth is, your sales team should have your website bookmarked, with certain pages highlighted. They should be able to quickly and easily send information from your website to your customers. They should have access to videos and content that showcase your product.
Your team might even need an area on your website that they can give login permissions to a select client and allow them to see secure files, details about their purchase, or even the status of their order. Are any of these tasks occurring? Why not?
Ultimately this is really where your boss should stand up and pay attention. Is your website converting visitors to customers? Is it keeping your existing customers loyal and causing them to return weekly, daily?
If your phone is not ringing, if your “check out” button never gets clicked on, if your sign-up form never gets filled out – you need to change something. Your bosses view on the website first…
Still not sure how to approach this?
First off, don’t go to your boss saying “Our website sucks and I’m embarrassed to even say I work here.” Don’t say, “Let’s look in the newspaper for a cheap design company.” And definitely do not say, “You know we can use a free program called FreeWebsites4REALZ”. These are not viable solutions and you will end up wasting your money.
Ultimately, you know your boss. We don’t. You should know if they are approachable and what really gets their attention. Think first though of why they’ve allowed their website to get to this obsolete state. Is it because they don’t know how to fix it? Is it because they just don’t realise it’s broken? Is it because their nephew built the website and they helped design it, so they think it’s just AMAZING? Or maybe they think it will cost too much money to fix it all?
We’ve heard the “we bought a website and now we can’t get hold of the guy who built it 12 years ago. He doesn’t answer his phone or emails and his website only has an “out of office” sign on it”. We’ve also heard the “We got a website but don’t know why or how to use it” and our favourite, “my daughter made it for her GCSE’s and I’m really proud…” there is always a reason your boss has been putting off updating/getting a new website.
Jerram Action Points:
- Approach your boss tactfully and ask them if they realise their website needs improving
- Mention it could increase traffic, drive sales and improve quality leads
- Let them know you’ve done some research and found some good digital agencies you think could help (us!)
- Reach out to said companies and ask them for a quote and some advice on ways to improve your website
- Reiterate that you care about the success of the business and the impression you (as a business) make on your clients and customers
- Check out our article on whether your website needs a redesign or if it needs to be remade. It will help give you an idea of what to expect.