Are you experiencing disappointing sales? Your website might be to blame.
Are your sales up? Well, if you’re looking to continue to grow in 2015, your website could be a great place to start.
As a marketing company, we see the incredible impact great websites have on growth all the time. We know it happens, but the question is: why?
Why Your Website Matters
One reason, as recently found in a purchasing study from GE, is that 80% of shoppers start their research process online.
This is good news for companies with strong websites. It means that 4 in every 5 potential consumers’ first impression of your company will be on your website, your home turf. Bad news is this gives you about three seconds to capture their attention.
Even if you’re in an industry dominated by word-of-mouth marketing (hi, caterers!), where do you think a prospect goes after hearing about your company?
In the end, all roads lead to your website.
But how can you tell if your current website is good or bad for your business? How do you know if you really need a new website?
Answer these simple questions to find out!
1. Do You Have Goals for Your Website? Are you reaching them?
The best way to tell whether or not you need a website update is by judging your current site’s performance against a few simple goals.
If you don’t have any goals, start by deciding if your website is more like a brochure—i.e. a virtual business card for your company—or a sales tool.
For brochure sites, consider using these two goals:
- Overall traffic
- Time on site
If your website is a sales tool, consider including these goals:
- Contact form submissions
- Leads generated from the internet
Once your goals are set, it’s time to ask the big question:
Is your website reaching your goals?
If the answer is no, or if you’re having trouble deciding your goals in the first place, then it’s probably time for a sit-down with your marketing team or a web professional.
2. How Does It Compare to the Competition?
Google “[your key product or service] [primary geographic area].” For example, “Catering Las Vegas.”
Look at the top 10 results below the ads. Those companies right there are your online competition.
Compare your website to theirs. Does it look similar? Does it have the same number of pages? Which site looks more modern? Which is the most dated? Which does the best job selling? Is the site functional for that company’s target consumer?
Remember that 80% of shoppers begin researching purchases online. Right now, you’re seeing exactly what those 80% of shoppers see. So think like a new customer. Based on the websites, which company would you choose?
If your competitors’ websites are clear winners over yours and you are unbiased enough to see that, then chances are you are losing out on sales.
Note: Was your business among the top 10 search results? If not, improving your SEO is another good reason to consider a new website.
3. How Much Traffic Comes to Your Website?
Traffic is one of the easiest ways to judge the effectiveness of your website. When considering a new website, take a look at your Google Analytics data as far back as you can. Now answer these two questions:
- What is your total traffic?
- What is the trend in your traffic over the years?
Total traffic: Decreasing traffic means that your website is dated—and it’s just getting older. It’s a clear signal that back when your website was made, it had the requisite factors to generate traffic, but as these factors have changed over the years, your website has not kept pace. Now, traffic is going elsewhere, likely to the competition.
Traffic trends: It’s a bit more difficult to determine the meaning of steady traffic. Mostly because defining “good” or “bad” traffic depends on your industry and location. So steady traffic could either mean you’re stuck in a hole, or on top of the world!
4. Does It Look Good On a Smartphone?
In 2014, mobile access to the web grew from 17.1% to 28.5% of total internet usage.
So without a mobile-optimized website, you’re potentially losing nearly 1 in 3 visitors.
Take out your phone and inspect your website. Is everything in the right place? Is the font size legible? Does everything fit onto the screen? Or did your regular website pop up with fonts and sizes too small to read.
Compare your mobile website to a mobile website like Apple’s to get feel for how a properly optimized website appears.
Do you notice a big difference?
Remember that on the internet, it’s either you or the competition. Someone has to show up first in Google. And someone has to be last.
It’s an open playing field where the best website wins the customer. Now’s your chance to make sure the winning website is yours.
Bonus Thought: if your website is more than 5 years old, it probably needs an update!
What do you think? Are there more important questions to consider?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you’d like some help assessing your website, feel free to paste a link and I’ll give it a look!