News & Updates
Website Makeover Check
Article # 40 November 21st, 2010
Does your website cry out for a make-over?
Depending on the age of your website, you can easily tell a lot about it’s technology used to create it and if that technology is outdated, it may be causing your business more harm than good. Chances are, if your website was built over 2 years ago, it’s a prime candidate for a Music City Guru makeover.
Any regular visitors to your website can quickly become accustomed to navigating your site, but if they stop coming, or your seeing a steady decline in your visits per month, it could be because the website design is broken, or has stopped providing the single purpose – to drive business to you.
You might get lucky enough that a visitor will actually take the time to tell you that your web site is broken, or a URL is dead, or an image does not appear, but that is very unlikely to happen. What generally happens is they simply go on to your competition’s website to get what they need. That is, if you should be so lucky because today’s web isn’t usually so compassionate.
Check your website!
If you’ve not visited your website in some time, now is the best time to give it a revisit. Grab yourself a nice cup of coffee (or drink of choice), fire up your computer, sit down and take some time to really look at your website. You might be surprised at your findings, but this test will give you better insight into how hard your website is working for your business.
I now present to you, my top list of killer items to look for when reviewing your website for potential misfires or errors:
Where’s the picture? What happened to the picture?
Do all your images show up on the website? If your website has any of those red X’s, or the image is not displayed, it means the file on your website may have been removed, or the image tag is incorrectly pointing to the filename of the image. While it doesn’t break the web page from loading, it could break the design or layout of the page, making it a mess to navigate, or view.
404 Errors are a killer!
Whenever a website has a link to another website, a hyperlink is used, which provides a connection to the content contained on another website. However, if your website’s hyperlinks become outdated, or no longer work it’s a sure-fire killer for your visitor to click away to your competitors website in search of what they’re looking for. Today’s websites are constantly changing, and webpages die or are replaced frequently. It’s important to make sure all your weblinks are current, and accurate. Nothing drives visitors away faster than a website that has poorly connected hyperlinks, and can be driving your potential customers away faster than you think.
Today’s web-savvy people are not patient! In this “instant on” age, visitors to websites are very demanding when it comes to time, and they don’t waste it waiting for a webpage to load. If your website is slow to load, and has a “loading..” box where a bit of flash or some other cool application is firing up, it’s a red-flag to the visitor to immediately hit the “BACK” button to return to the search engine that referred them to your website, and you can rest assured, they’re never coming back.
The killer “ENTER SITE” blasts your visitors back to where they came from
The biggest web kill for any visitor is a “ENTER SITE” link from a splash page that loads instead of the website content. This type of design has been frowned upon severly in the last few years of design, and I will bet my buttons your “Bounce Rating” is over 70 pecent or higher, as it’s a definite fact that 99% of web visitors never click the “ENTER SITE” link for fear of what’s behind that link. Get your webmaster on the line, and get rid of that killer blast page, because its driving your visitors to your competition like hot poker through the eye.
The dreaded FORM of death
At the very least, all websites which provide information, offer a way for visitors to reach the business or person who is the contact for the website. How many times have you filled in a form, with your name and email address, and before you click the button, suddenly get a chill of ‘dread’ sending your email address and name into the internet ‘abyss’? If you’re like me, I simply stop and ask myself “do I really want to send this information to a total stranger?” If your visitor doesn’t feel comfortable with your form, for a varied amount of reasons, you could be losing out on potential client or new business opportunities.
If your website contact form isn’t working, then it’s just simply wasting time, and that’s a definite web kill in itself, driving business away from your company or service. Take a moment, visit your website and fill out the form and submit it. Are you getting the email from your form? If not, it’s time to call your webmaster, and ask “Where’s my mail from my website going?”
Does your website form send the visitor a confirmation e-mail message telling them that their information has been received? If not, it’s so missing out on a great opportunity to thank your visitor for coming to your website, and if your business has a special “thing” happening, you could tell them about it in the email as well! Another great way to reel in your visitor’s and attract them to your door. The power of communication with a little gratitude and humility goes a LONG, LONG way with your potential customers, even if it’s just a little e-mail that tells them you are grateful for visiting your website.
And, What About The Floor Show?
The very first thing a website must do, is to provide a purpose, or provide an answer to a visitor’s question. The website must present to the visitor a fix to their problem, or give them clear information to allow them to decide if the question is answered, or the problem is resolved, or can be resolved. That is why visitors come to your website; they have a need, and if your website isn’t fulfilling it, then it’s causing more damage to your business than helping.
Load each of your web pages, and while looking it over, say outloud “Does this page provide and answer to a question, or does it solve a problem?” If you answer honestly, and it’s NO, then you’ll do well to add this page to the list that would be for a Music City Guru Website Makeover!
The “Green Flash” on the Horizon
Todays’ wireless world is visiting your website on devices that are no longer reserved to web browsers with windows XP. No, today we have a laundry list of cell phones, smart phones, PDA’s, tablets and the list goes on ad nausem. With that said, your website may not even work on these new gadgets, thus leaving your business out of the running for these potential customers, who are feeding off your competition’s websites which display very nicely on thier little hand-held gadgets.
If you don’t own a web enabled smart phone, check with a friend, an borrow it for this very important and revealing step.
If you have a web enabled smart phone (of course you do, doesn’t everyone?), punch up your website on it, and while it’s loading, ask yourself “Does this website still serve it’s purpose as I visit it from my phone/pda/smart phone?”
When your website loads, and you see that big grey box where your flash header should be displaying, then congratulations, you’ve just successfully answered the biggest question this article is about – Does my website need a makeover? Call your webmaster and begin the makeover process!
For more information on your website and the miraculous makeover process, please call Music City Guru today at 615-541-9327 or contact us through our web form.