Is Your Website Working For You?
There are well over a billion websites in existence today (closer to 1.3 billion according to Netcraft’s latest Web Server Survey). That’s a lot, right? If your website is swimming in that pool, it’s pretty difficult to be seen, much less rank with the top competition. What if I told you that not only isn’t your website ranking in search but when people do happen to find you, they may be judging and discarding you before you even get a chance to explain yourself. Hey folks, it’s no secret that users of the internet are fussy and sometimes just downright mean. Not anyone reading this article of course, but other users.
But Why Don’t They Like Me?
Don’t worry, it’s not personal. Consumers have come to expect a certain experience when they visit a website and when they don’t find it, they move on very quickly. It really is a simple matter of having a lot of choices. There is a stunning array of statics regarding user behavior when it comes to the web. Here are some highlights:
It takes about 50 milliseconds, or 0.05 seconds, for a visitor to your site to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like it or not and whether they’ll stay to look around or leave in a flash.
We’re taught to never judge a book by its cover, but websites are subject to snap judgments that immediately influence perceptions of credibility about your business. Why, you ask? Because it’s a matter of choice. Users know that for any given search result there are multiple results, and users will keep trying until they find something they consider pleasing, something easy to navigate, and looks good on whatever device they may be using at the time. Websites are judged ruthlessly.
Here’s another surprising one. 57% of internet users say they will not recommend a business with a poorly designed website, especially if it’s bad on mobile.
This is where responsive web design becomes very important. Sites that are not mobile-ready are, by deduction, poorly designed because they don’t provide optimal UX. Good UX should be realized on any device and no company wants visitors who are unlikely to refer them. Another related stat is that 85% of consumers believe a website should be better on mobile. If a user is having to pinch-to-zoom on your website, you may have already lost them.
As of Q2 2018, mobile held a 63% share of all retail website visits.
In addition, 50% of all e-commerce sales occur on mobile devices. If mobile accounts for nearly two-thirds of retail website visits, there is likely a delta in the quality of retail mobile sites that pushes conversion rates lower. But, 63% should be a big enough share to motivate retailers with bad mobile experiences into taking remedial action.
88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
There are no second chances or participation trophies on the internet. If you haven’t caught on yet, it’s all about design, and bad design takes you backward. Outdated UX and poor usability are credibility killers when it comes to your business. If your website hasn’t been updated or redesigned as of late, it may be time to talk with an expert. Hopefully, you haven’t invested in work that isn’t paying off.
What about performance? Nearly 40% of visitors to your site will stop engaging if it doesn’t load quickly.
To be fair, speed is not always a level playing ground. If the user has poor network connectivity or low memory availability, those and other factors could be dinging their experience. That said, a visitor to your site usually has about a 2-second tolerance for images to load and the page to fully render. If your content is heavy by nature, there are steps that can be taken to optimize load times. Oh, and slow-loading websites are estimated to cost retailers almost $3 billion per year in lost conversion.
75% of consumers will judge your business, knowing nothing about it, based on your website design.
When you consider that statistic alone, it’s quite jarring. The credibility of your company is directly linked to the aesthetic quality of your website. Hey, it’s 2019 and your website is often THE window into your company, and more importantly, the way people believe you operate. Your presence online is a great opportunity for your business to exude professionalism and to convey the image you want people to have about you before they get to know you.
To circle back to the original question, your website may not only not be working for you, but it could be working against you. We talked with many small business leaders — owners, managers, investors — and surprisingly, some have given up on the web. They made a conscious decision to go social only, setting up a Facebook page and leaving it there. What!?! Don’t take this the wrong way.. you need a Facebook page as part of your social marketing strategy, but the opportunity missed in foregoing a well-designed website is game-changing for several reasons. First, customers expect you to be on the web. You read the stats above, right? They expect to find you with a search, learn something about your business, get relevant information before making a decision, and then hopefully convert into a customer. If you’ve removed that ability, then you are basically saying you don’t want any new customers. Seriously, that’s what it comes down to, and we can’t say it any clearer.
Look, we could recite statistics for days, but that’s not going to get you further down the road. Hopefully, we’ve outlined some of the biggies in order to make a point. And, we understand that websites aren’t easy, but they don’t have to be difficult either. Your website should be the center of your digital marketing engine. It should be the place your business plants its flag and conveys its brand. With the proper mechanisms in place, it should drive prospective customers to your site through effective search optimization, it should solve problems for them (answer questions about your business, your products or services, easily), and it should convert them to customers by prompting them to engage.
But wait! Don’t forget about your customers. Your website should also be a useful resource for existing customers, making them sticky and loyal to your business. This comes through continuous or iterative engagement and providing your customers with the capability to become your tribe. People love to be a part of a tribe and this is where you build customers for life.
If none of this makes sense, we’ve not done our job. But don’t let this be the end of the conversation. Contact us and we’ll try to explain. The bottom line is, your digital investment should be working for you. It should be an engine that fires on all cylinders without a ton of effort on your part. It should provide a noticeable and measurable ROI to your business. And, it shouldn’t be time-consuming, complicated, or too difficult to manage. As someone said, it’s usually two things that keep business owners up at night — the bottom line and the need for more time. Well, you can’t buy time, but you can certainly impact your bottom line with good digital.