50 shades of dismay
is your website dominant or submissive?
No, we haven’t seen the film yet, but all this talk of rope, cable ties and duct tape got us thinking… and not about anything smutty either! Is your website ‘dominant’ enough in your marketplace or is it, metaphorically at least, tying your business to the bed?
The faint hearted amongst you may want to look away, but we decided to look at the 50 signs that your website design might be too submissive, and how you can make it a bit more dominant. Riding crops and handcuffs are obviously optional.
1. Does it have a good rank? (Yes, we said rank!)
2. 94 percent of business buyers do some form of online research before they purchase, with 33% of people clicking through to the first link in Google’s organic search results. Does your site rank well in search results?
3. Keyword research into your industry sector will tell you what people are searching for when they need your services or products. Without this, you won’t know what your customers want.
4. Using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), you can optimise the content on your site to rank higher for the most relevant search terms in your industry
5. With a blog on your website, you can create and share regular, good-quality, informative content, positioning you as an authority in your industry and improving your ranking in search results.
6. Have you tried it in different places?
7. In 2014, internet use on a mobile device officially exceeded PC usage. Making sure that your website looks as good on a smartphone or tablet as it does on a monitor or laptop is more important than ever.
8. Is your site responsive, mobile or unresponsive? If you don’t know, it could be the reason why people are visiting your site and leaving straight away.
9. Responsive websites adapt their layout to fit whatever device you’re viewing it in. Rather than a design trend or aesthetic choice, this approach should be considered a necessity.
10. As of April 21st 2015, whether a site is mobile-friendly or not will affect its ranking on Google.
11. Does it offer a pleasurable experience?
12. The brain makes a decision about a webpage in just a 20th of a second, so keep UX (user experience) in mind. Your website needs to be a customer magnet that gives visitors exactly what they want, as quickly and easily as possible.
13. Think like your customer and approach your site from what they want to know, not what you want to say. The navigation should be simple and focus on the aspects of the business that they are most interested in.
14. Something as simple as a breadcrumb at the top of a page shows visitors where they are on the site and how they can navigate back and forth between sections
15. Constantly monitor page visits and bounce rates using web analytics tools. This will show you which sections are most popular so that you can focus your content and digital marketing accordingly.
16. Are you whispering sweet nothings or talking dirty?
17. Your website is the shop window of your business. Are you using it to tell potential customers what makes you different to your competitors?
18. Highlight the key messages that you need to convey to your customers and pepper them throughout your site. When you can, use visuals as well as text to engage with visitors.
19. Find out the problems that your potential customers face and create pages that show them how you can solve that. Online guides, checklists and whitepapers position your site as a resource centre for useful information and will aid in SEO.
20. Ask yourself some questions about you and your customers. Who buys from you? What do they buy? How do they buy it? Why did they choose you? The answers will give you insights that can be turned into effective marketing messages.
21. Is your site playing the field?
22. Get out there and be promiscuous! Your product or service isn’t only relevant to one person, so reflect that in your website.
23. Create buyer personas for your different customers. Understand every aspect of their lives, from where they shop, to what they read and how they like to buy.
24. Create pages, articles and imagery that speaks directly to each of these buyer personas. Find out what bugs them and illustrate how you can solve their problems.
25. Use case studies that exemplify each of these buyer personas, find the things that each of them liked the most about your product and service and take every opportunity to tell new customers about it, through the website, offline marketing and email marketing.
26. Are you free right now to hook up?
27. Your website should be a lead generation and conversion tool for new business. It’s all very well ensuring that people can find your site, but once they’re there you want it to be easy for them to get in touch with you.
28. Add contact forms and other calls to action to as many relevant pages as you can so that when someone’s ready to speak to you, they can.
29. Register your site with Google Places for Business and include a google map on your contact page, it not only let’s someone see where you are and how to get to you, it also helps with your SEO.
30. It’s not all about giving your number out, you want to collect as much data as you can about the people visiting your site. Attaching a simple download option to whitepapers and guides allows you to capture data and contact info that you can use to send out more marketing materials.
31. Does it share a liking for a poke?
32. SEO and social media go hand in hand. It gives you an instantly accessible platform for sharing your content with the people who are interested in your business.
33. Make sure that all of your social media platforms are mentioned on the site, ensuring that linkable icons are placed prominently on all relevant pages, not just the contact page.
34. Add a live social media feed to your site so that visitors can see what you’re sharing in real time.
35. Optimise all of your social media profiles so that they are consistent with the content style and tone of voice of your site and contain up to date contact information, as well as a link back to your site.
36. Can you get in the back end?
37. Stop giggling, this is genuine digital terminology! The Content Management System (CMS) is the back end of your site. It’s where you can access the nuts and bolts of the site and make changes to the design and content.
38. Unless you’re fluent in the language of code, we wouldn’t recommend playing around too much with the back end (seriously, stop giggling!). Altering code could have serious consequences and affect the way that the site looks and functions, so leave it to the professionals.
39. Having said that, it’s always handy to be able to make small changes to the content or images on your site. It’s also where you can add blog articles. So make sure you have at least editorial access to the back end of your site.
40. The CMS is also where the tools sit for optimising a website for SEO, where you can update things like title tags, meta descriptions and alt tags. If it all sounds too complicated, an SEO specialist will know what they’re doing
41. Let it know who’s in charge!
42. There are any number of things that you have to organise when registering a website and putting it live. Unfortunately, many business owners reach a point when they want to make changes to the site and quickly learn that they don’t have all of the relevant information to hand.
43. You’ll need the registration details for when the domain name was purchased. It’s always best if the business can do this themselves, that way it won’t be effected if you are no longer in contact with your original web designer.
44. You’ll need access to your web hosting account. You should be able to get this from the hosting company if you can’t get hold of the designer.
45. Once a new site is live, ensure that you keep these details safe, should you choose to make any changes further down the line. Also make sure that you can access the site’s CMS (see above).
46. A happy ending.
47. If you’re website needs a bit of discipline, it’s not the end of the world.
48. Luckily, most of the issues that we’ve raised are easily solved.
49. All it takes is a well-designed, attractive site, that’s optimised for search, mobile-friendly, easy to find and easy to use.
50. With access to the internet easier than ever, and most consumers and business owners using online search to start their buying process, putting up with a less than dominant website just isn’t an option. In fact, it will probably come back and slap you on the… well, you know where!
Written by Leigh “The Gimp” Taylor, Head of Content & Creative
Digital Marketing, News