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Unless you rely solely on word of mouth recommendations and referrals to find new training clients, it’s likely that your website is one of your main marketing and sales tools. How is it performing? Are you receiving a steady stream of traffic and enquiries? Or is your website failing to convert traffic to new business?
If so, you could be making one or more of the five common website mistakes that can severely damage your conversion rates.
- Your website isn’t mobile friendly
Back in 2014, mobile traffic finally outstripped desktop traffic on the internet and this upward trend has continued ever since. People like to browse the internet from their smartphones and tablets – it’s fast, convenient and can be done from anywhere at any time.
For a period, Google even awarded mobile-friendly websites with a ‘mobile-friendly’ label in search results but this tag was dropped in the summer of 2016. This doesn’t mean that Google no longer values mobile-friendly websites. Google said that it was dropping the label because 85% of websites shown in search results are now mobile-friendly, so the tag just added unnecessary clutter to listings.
Google prioritises mobile-friendly sites in search engine results pages (SERPs) because it knows that people expect a good mobile experience. It’s worth checking how mobile-friendly your website is – you can do this using the mobile-friendly test in your Google Search Console.
- Is your website responsive?
- Does the design fit to the screen of your mobile device without visitors having to scroll across or enlarge the page to see the content?
- Are your call to actions big enough?
- Do your pages load quickly?
Making your website as mobile-friendly as possible should be a priority.
- You don’t have a clear message
How confident are you that your website conveys a clear message about what you offer and who you offer it to? Have you ever asked someone who isn’t familiar with your business to visit your website and give you their opinion?
There’s actually a free service called Peek where you can ask a stranger to do this for you. Enter your web domain and you’ll receive a five-minute video of someone browsing your website and recording their first impressions. You may be surprised by their feedback.
There can be lots of different reasons why a website doesn’t have a clear message. Perhaps you want to tell your potential customers as much as possible about what you do to the point that you’re saying too much. Perhaps you’re so close to your business that you’re assuming other people know as much about it as you do. Maybe you’re trying to appeal to everyone who visits your site because you haven’t identified your target customer. Maybe your business has evolved since you last updated your copy.
It’s a good idea to review your website regularly. Ideally, someone landing on your Home page should be able to identify what you’re offering within seconds, so think about what you would describe as your unique value proposition. Until recently, Mailchimp’s home page said, “Easy email newsletters” – this statement couldn’t get much clearer in terms of letting people know what they will get if they become a customer. Experiment with some short and snappy headlines that sum up your business.
Also, each page of your website should have a unique focus, if possible. This helps both visitors and search engines understand at a glance what each page is about. It also makes it easier to target the message on each page.
As I’ve mentioned repeatedly in my blogs, it’s essential to identify your target customer because you will then know who your copy needs to talk to and who the design needs to appeal to.
- Your website is hard to navigate
The structure and navigation of your website can make the difference between an amazing visitor experience and a dismal one.
- Is your main menu in a logical position and can visitors easily click through to all of your main pages from this menu?
- Can people get from one page to another on your website in two or fewer clicks?
- If you have blogs on similar subjects, have you included internal links between them so that people can easily read related content?
Your website should be clearly signposted throughout and as easy to navigate as possible. If it’s not, people will bounce away to find a more user-friendly website.
- It’s hard to contact you
When someone visits your website – either from their desktop/laptop or a mobile device – how easy is it for them to find your contact details?
Ideally, your contact details should sit in the header of your website so that they’re visible on every page. Mobile users often decide to call a business straight from the phone number in a Google listing or by clicking on the number on a web page, so it’s important to make sure that there is a way to call you.
If you prefer not to receive phone calls, add your email address. You may also want to include an enquiry form on each page or a clear link to your contact form page so that, regardless of where someone is on your website, it’s easy to get in touch.
- You don’t have a call to action
The lack of a clear call to action may well be the single biggest website mistake to result in lost business. When people read a web page, they want to know what they should do next. Should they call you? Should they fill out your enquiry form? Is there someone they can speak to and find out more? Do you have a mailing list that would keep them up-to-date with your latest offerings?
If you don’t give clear guidance about what to do, visitors are likely to go to someone who does.
A call to action can be incredibly simple. Look at Evernote’s Home page, for example:
Accompanying the strong unique value proposition of ‘Remember Everything’ is a clear and simple call to action, ‘Sign up for free’. In just six words, Evernote manages to tell visitors that you can sign up to remember everything you need without paying a penny. The sign-up form is fuss-free too – just an email address and password or you can sign in with Google, and you’re up and running.
Dropbox is another company with a clear call to action. Look at how visible the blue ‘Sign up for free’ box is against the largely white screen. Once again, the call to action shows there is no risk to signing up because it’s free and the form is quick and easy to complete:
Service-based companies can still create strong calls to action even if they don’t have software that can be trialled for free.
Impact Branding & Design’s calls to action have been mentioned by quite a few marketing experts online because they’re so effective, both in terms of copy and design. On the Home page alone, we see calls to action such as ‘Get it now’, ‘View success story’, and ‘Increase my conversions!’, all of which focus on the benefits of clicking – in other words, showing what the visitor has to gain by taking action.
On the Training & Education page on the Impact website, visitors can ‘Request a workshop’, ‘Request a consultation’ or ‘Request a speaker’. There’s no hard sell but people know what they can expect when they click through to the enquiry form.
As a final example, a digital agency in Belgium – Epic – uses some wonderfully inclusive and warm calls to action, the main one being, ‘Let’s start a project together’. This takes the visitor through to a contact form that begins:
In just a few words, Epic shows its potential clients that its ethos is about inclusivity and working with the client to support their goals.
Finding the right calls to action for your website will take some experimentation. The first step is to have a clear goal for every page of your website that you know what you need your call to action to achieve.
- Want people to sign up to your newsletter? Make sure you include a sign-up form on your website.
- Want visitors to call you to book a training session? Tell them how to book.
- Want to run a workshop? Let them know the call to action has a deadline.
Are you making any of these common website mistakes that could be losing you business? When was the last time you checked your website navigation or how mobile-friendly your site is? Is your website one of your main marketing tools? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below.