Is Your Website Living With the Dinosaurs?
Dinosaurs on the run? Alert!…
And he’s got every right to look angry. Because he’s seen what many businesses are doing and it’s enough to make anyone mad.
We’ll talk dinosaurs in a moment. But first let’s focus on a different word…
Websites, websites, websites.
They are part of the everyday business world – and perhaps that is part of the problem.
Because times have changed. And most websites have failed to change with them.
At least, that’s the impression many businesses seem to be sending out to their audience and visitors.
It’s as if they are living in an online Jurassic world. Like prehistoric dinosaurs. Perhaps not facing extinction but certainly missing out on some meaty essentials for revenue, cash flow and profits.
In the old days they would probably have been OK. Got away with it.
Back then, a website was more like an online ‘brochure’ for your company. A website was something a business thought it had to have (or was advised to have) to appear credible. Having a website was a sign you were a serious business.
Designs were simple. Pages were simple.
Home page. About Us Page. Products (or Services) Page. Contact Page. Clients and Testimonials Page.
And that was about it.
Maybe some other pages. Maybe a blog page for the more industrious and forward-thinking.
Companies could set up their site and forget about it. And many did…
… typically making one of TWO big mistakes.
Mistake #1 – To make their website look like ‘all the others’ in their industry, market or niche. So their site does not stand out against the competition or the crowd.
Mistake #2 – To leave the website in its original state. No design changes. No navigational changes. No page changes. No new pages. No new content. No new structure. No revised copy.
From the websites I see (and the ones I am asked to critique) there appear to be many, many companies and entrepreneurs who fall into one of these two camps. Or, worse, both.
If you look closely, it’s not hard to spot where things are going wrong.
Out of Step
If your website today looks very much how it looked when it was first launched, it will appear ‘dated’. Old hat. Out of touch. Out of step. Especially when you compare it to the ‘modern’, slick and fresh-feeling websites out there.
The design looks ‘basic’. There are the traditional set of pages. The copy talks (or bores) more about the company than it does about its prospects, clients and customers.
You know the kind of thing… “We were established in 1879 and are a family business…. and we do this, we do that… we’re local, we’re ‘the best’, we’re experts…” and so on.
But even some contemporary-looking websites have failings.
One of the biggest mistakes I see is a case of ‘style over content’. The business appears to have spent much time, money and focus on web design – the ‘look’ of its website. And given little thought to the words on each page.
The headlines. Sub-headings. Body copy. Calls to action. Button copy. Contact us copy.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’ve made mistakes with my websites in the past. And I’m working on a refresh now (to better reflect where my business is now).
But I have not left my brain in Jurassic World like some dinosaurs have.
The point is, the words on a website matter. Words can and DO make a difference to how people respond to your page.
Words alter perceptions. Words alter response. Words alter conversions.
Which means for your business…
Words change revenue. Words change cash flow. Words change profits.
How can that be proved?
Use analytics and testing…
Technology allows you to measure matters like your visitor numbers, what pages people land on, how long they stay on a page, what bits of the page interest them most, what actions they take, and more.
The process is equally simple. Even the dinosaurs could understand it…
- Create your website
- Add an analytics tool to your website
- Look at what your analytics are telling you. Record the numbers as your benchmark
- Make a change (ONE change) to the copy on a page, e.g. the heading on home page
- Test it. Use the analytics tool to see if the change improves response and/or conversions
- Repeat steps 3-5 for continual testing and improvements.
This is one way to check and measure the performance of the words on your page.
There other tools you can use. For example, you could put your website home page to the ‘five second test’. This lets a review group of people see your page and record what they see and remember.
Some Answers to the Questions…
It gives you some answers to the questions “Is the message I think my website is sending out the same message as my visitors think it is?”, “Is my message clear or confusing?”, and “Do people who land on the page know instantly what I/we do and who I/we help?”
It’s not just the design of your website which needs to do a great job. Your words do, too. They help to define:
- Your ideal client or target audience
- Your message
- Your positioning, credibility and authority
- Your unique value
- Your brand and ‘personality’
- Your point of difference with your competitors
- Your products and services – and how they make people’s lives better
- Your connection with your ideal audience
Businesses which have not yet considered this might be regarded as living in the land of the dinosaurs.
And we all know what happened to T-Rex and friends.