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We’re here to talk to you today about common mistakes people make when it comes to their websites.

There’s not necessarily a secret sauce or something that would define a website as being perfect. I think websites always need iterations and always need changes and upgrades and small refreshers to stay modern and current. But I do think that from all of the client sites that I’ve seen, I’ve started to notice patterns that seem to be very, very common. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to put the thumb on it. Is it a design aspect? Is it just an amateur build? Is it a web developer that also doubles as a email marketer and content developer and SEO and billboard and magazine Ninja? I’m not entirely sure, but there are common principles that really should be followed regardless of whoever builds a website or maintains it.

So there’s certain things we need to follow no matter what our goals are. If we have a goal of whether we’re a startup and we’re trying to put up a basic site in order to talk about who we are and what we do, or if we’re a bigger company with a different set of needs. We talked about this in a previous podcast, so first of all, let’s make sure that the theme is correct, right, the foundational platform of which we build upon.

Many times we’ll see ¬†websites with good content, good images, et cetera, but when the theme sucks, unfortunately there’s really little that can be done in order to improve that other than changing it and updating the theme to something better. Well, I think to myself too, what about the fact that we see owners of websites that at the end of the day, they’re the ones that really care what the colors are or where this particular thing is located and the conversation moves away from what is best from a functionality perspective and a conversion perspective to the personal taste of the owner as opposed to the former. Correct?

Yeah, I certainly agree. I think the data-driven aspects of it, of what is tried and true and proven to convert sometimes will get masked over by personal preference. Certainly owners are entitled to have their feel and look of their brand and their image conveyed through their website, but there’s practices. Like you said, the colors and certain aspects of a website that sort of gets pushed onto it really can have some negative effects. I think colors aside, even just the physical aspect of having a website, put that to the side. It’s so important to really think what is this going to do for the customer? Colors, the layout, the owners notice that, but the customer, they’re not going to notice the difference in most cases.

Yes. So saying again, I’m certainly not advocating for a site that is off-brand and having random stuff thrown all around it. That is certainly not what I’m saying, but at a certain point the changes, the little slight differences, have little effect at on the final outcome of what we’re trying to do, which is to get the person to, the potential client to pick up the phone or to call. That’s the point I’m trying to make. The owner is the one that is looking at the website on a daily basis. Whereas the customer is making a decision on a split second basis based on what they’re seeing on the screen.

Absolutely, and there’s a best practice that I like to go over with clients and that’s called the three second test. A random person who has never been to that website within three seconds should have a very clear understanding from the time that they land on that website on what exactly you do and who you service. Instagram and Facebook and social media and websites that have video and moving parts and all sorts of different experiences, attention spans are getting shorter. People have more options. There’s no shortage of websites out there for people to find content or vendors or other businesses to work with.

If the messaging is not clear, that’s the first part that needs to be changed. A random person who has no idea about your business, what you do, who you service should have a very clear understanding in three seconds. I also believe that the copy and the text is so important. So many businesses that specialize in a very specific field or a niche use industry lingo and common terms that make sense for them, but it’s not going to make sense for the consumer or the person that they’re trying to educate. When they’re writing the actual copy and they’re writing it from a company standpoint rather than a customer standpoint, that’s also something that should not be done.

We just talked about this earlier today, Mike, you and I, you made a great point. Why is specific content actually needed? Why is it beneficial? You made this point earlier. Are we just creating content in order to create content? Obviously it exists somewhere else on the web more than likely, unless it’s specifically super niche, but most things already exist. So what is the point of creating some specific content for the site and what is the direction that we’re trying to take, the messaging that we’re giving to the potential customer? Again, are we trying to explain the services that we have in a succinct manner? Are we attempting to push someone to a form, to call us? The messaging I think is super important. A lot of the time we lose sight of that or alternatively that enough attention is not paid to those specifics in general.

You know what else I also see very often are websites that have either very weak or no call to actions at all. So often that just gets lost in the mix. They put all this text about who they are or what they do or the services that they provide, but there’s no call to action. There’s no, “Download this PDF guide or give us a call or fill out this form.” So they’re putting together their whole business pitch, but they’re not going in for the ask.

Interesting. So all the effort is made into explanations and making every single item right, but not actually saying, “Hey, work with us now.”

I think so. At the end of the day it’s all about the customer. It’s not necessarily about the company’s position or the actual experience of the website itself, but it’s about the customer and how they are served. The customer is coming to the website, they’re looking for something. They’re looking to either do research, they’re looking for more information. They’re looking for personal validation to make a decision to move forward with something. They’re looking for something and the website needs to be positioned in all aspects from the homepage all the way to the contact page and everything in between needs to be focused on delivering that answer to the customer. And what’s that answer? It depends customer-to-customer, business-to-business.

At the end of the day aren’t we trying to convey, hey, whatever it is that you’re searching for, if in fact it is a correct query for our business, we’re the ones to call. Pick up the phone, send us an email, let’s start the conversation. At the end of the day we want to start a conversation with a potential customer.

That’s right.

We do this even on our own site. We’re web developers ourselves and we’re constantly asking ourselves is the message that we are delivering on this page, is it the correct message and are we explaining the services enough and do we want to go into long explanations of every single type of service that we do and we create or is that too much for the average person looking to say, “Hey, I’m looking for a reputable company that does A, B, C, D and E.” What do you think Mike?

I think it depends on the business. Certain businesses are positioned to educate. If it’s a financial advisor for instance, some financial advisors are going to be looking for high levels of spend, in which case they’re marketing, their positioning needs to be very, very different because they’re going to be looking to recruit someone from another financial advisor. On the flip side, there could be a financial advisor looking to get young professionals who are going to need that handholding and that guidance and that education. That’s where content is going to be much more valuable to someone who has never worked with a financial advisor. How does it work? How are fees structured? Where do the investments go? How’s the money managed? People are going to need to have that education process. They’re going to need to be able to build trust.

They’re going to need to go back and forth and do the research so they can make a prudent decision. Whereas someone who is an established money manager who is again, looking to recruit from a major bank is not going to be needing to have as much research and content.

Sure. Understood. So depending on the needs of the customer, that’s the direction that it will go with respect to how we position the messaging of the content of the site.

Exactly. Today’s takeaway needs to be customer first.

I like it, customer first. Let’s not make it a long drawn out explanation of who we are and why we’re so great. It’s about how are we improving the lives of our customers even if it’s in a very specific and simple way.

That’s right.

Understanding the traffic that currently exists on your site, looking at what the conversions currently are, optimizing for an increase in percentage of conversions overall, which has a really great impact on your bottom line, understanding the real value of your customers and being able to track properly to understand who is what and what is who.

Yeah, I think you summed it up real well. The strategy, the customer’s framework for their digital marketing efforts all need to sort of come together and fit together to be able to create a successful plan that you can execute on, that you can have measurable results on.

I really enjoyed the chat and until next time, we’ll talk soon.