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“My Website Is Broken”
That’s something I hear a lot from potential customers. Then I visit their website and it seems to work fine. The pages load, there are no broken images, the links all work. So what are they talking about?
They are trying to say that they haven’t received any new business from their website. This is not the same thing as your website being technically broken. It is your online presence that is fundamentally broken.
For your website, it means one of two things:
1. You have a website traffic problem.
No one is visiting your site. You probably don’t rank for any worthwhile keywords, you aren’t active (or successfully active) on social media, you have no email marketing campaigns, and the list goes on. In order to get visitors to your website on a regular basis, you need to be active online.
2. You have a website conversion problem.
You have people visiting your website, but no one is buying from you. What could this mean more specifically?
You need more targeted and qualified visitors to your website, people who would be ideal customers.
Your website design sucks. Maybe it’s unprofessional (are you using one of those free templates you saw a commercial for and set up in “five minutes”?). Or maybe your website is actually too fancy. You possibly paid a lot of money for a professional website designer and they painted a beautiful piece of art that became your website. The problem with that? They didn’t design with the user experience as a priority or how well your website would perform with search engine optimization or how to integrate social media to help spread your brand across the web.
A web designer is someone who can design a beautiful looking interface and have information about your business on it and link the different pages to each other on your domain name.
I value a high quality, professional website design. But getting too fancy, or over designing your site can actually be a distraction from the goals that you want your visitors to accomplish when they visit your website.
It may also be the case that design aesthetics were the only thing taken into consideration when putting your website together. While your site needs to be professional and instantly build credibility when looked at with just a glance, it can be overdone and hurt the true value of what a website can provide for your business. Which is delivering more leads and customers.
Websites are more than just a pretty looking brochure on a computer screen that you can click.
Your website should be a full user experience for your visitor. It should be built so that the code and structure of the site are optimized for search engines. The layout of the pages as well as the flow of the content should be designed with your business goals in mind. When someone visits your website, they should end up accomplishing something that improves your business (buy, sign up, follow, etc.).
A website designer is not going to be able to help you drive traffic to your website. They can’t help you structure content mapped to your sales funnel. A web designer can’t manage your social media campaigns or help you with guest blogging or inbound marketing.
An online marketer certainly can’t replace a website designer (unless they wear both hats of course). But an online marketer should help you align your website and online presence with your business goals. An online marketer will help you drive quality traffic to your website. This will help you increase conversions because your website visitors are part of your target demographic.
Real business goals should always be the top priority for an online marketer. Regardless of what approach they advise is best for your business (SEO, social media, content marketing, etc.), it should always achieve a return on your investment.
The ultimate goal of your website should be to help your business get more customers. No matter how pretty your website is to look at, how much fun it is to watch the photos slide by on your home page, or even how many people visit your website, if you are not generating real client leads or increasing your customer lifetime value, then it doesn’t matter.
*Note that when I say web designer in this article, I’m referring to someone who is strictly a web designer and not also a developer, SEO or inbound marketer. Sometimes these skills overlap (which they should nowadays) but that is not always the case. When you are hiring a web designer, talk to them about the different aspects of your online presence and how the website they build will be able to help your business.
Leave your answers in the comments. I’ve heard of so many businesses that hire a web designer and expect to start getting new clients the first day their website goes live and are extremely disappointed. Have you hired an online marketer that has gotten you to the top 3 in Google but you still aren’t getting any new business? I want to hear about your experiences.