Laura is shopping online for a new mountain bike. She arrives at a company’s website and is immediately wowed by what she sees. The page design, the crystal clear photos of beautiful bikes, the clever copy. She’s hooked. And she spends almost 30 minutes browsing the site. Brad’s looking for a bike, too. He goes to the website of a different company and is immediately irritated. The homepage is ugly, it takes 15 seconds to load, and the product descriptions are confusing. He’s disappointed. And he spends exactly 22 seconds browsing the site. Company A just sold a $900 mountain bike. Company B just lost another potential customer.
You may have a product or service that is far and away the best of its kind, but if prospects don’t stay on your website long enough to learn about it, your company is going to struggle. There was a time (in the distant past) when potential customers were willing to cut a company some slack if it had a bad website but good offerings. Not anymore. Today, they’ll leave your site in a heartbeat for any of a number of reasons. Here are some of the most common:
- Slow loading. Your time-strapped prospects know how fast a website can, and should, respond. Anything less than dang-near instantaneously and they’re not happy. Anything more than a few seconds and they’re history. Whether your problem is poorly written code, a sub-par internet service provider, or something else, you need to correct it if you hope to compete.
- Bad layout. Visitors expect a site that is visually appealing and intuitive to use. If they struggle to find what they’re looking for, they’ll look elsewhere.
- Boring content. Just-the-facts copy may be accurate, but it isn’t engaging. Neither are standard stock photos. Try thinking of your website as a form of entertainment, not just a place to get information.
- Unscannable content. Website visitors today are scanners, not readers—at least initially. They expect to be able to understand your offerings simply by letting their eyes drift down a page. Short sections of text, bold, interesting headlines, and a content flow that has been tested and proven to be intuitive will keep them on your site and encourage them to go deeper.
- Inactive blog. When the last blog post on a website was 18 months ago, people start to wonder. Are these guys still in business? Are they struggling and had to fire their communications team? Did they just forget they have a blog? An inactive blog is a warning sign that sends visitors running.
- Annoying ads or autoplaying audio/video. Internet users will likely tolerate a few, subtle ads on your site. But get too aggressive, and you’ll rub them the wrong way. Always be courteous, and let them decide if and when they want a video, animation or audio to play.
- Asking for too much info. While it may not be fair, the fact is website visitors want to get to know your company quickly, but don’t want to give you the same opportunity in return. Earn their trust by giving them information they crave without always gating the information. When you do gate the content, ask for only the minimal information you need, or they may get skittish and flee. Yes, your sales team would love to know everything about them asap (understandably), but if you ease into the relationship by asking for the bare minimum of info, you’ll find prospects to be more receptive. Protip: there are ways to gather data without bombarding your users.
The Way to Make 'Em Stay
Your website is likely your most essential and most powerful sales tool. Be sure that it’s doing all it can to help you attract and engage prospects. In our work with leading companies in Colorado and around the country, we share actionable web design and content marketing insights gathered from a wide range of clients over more than 20 years. We’d love to give you our assessment of your site. Call us!