According to Forbes, only 48 percent of small businesses have corporate websites. That’s a staggering number for 2015. By this logic, the very fact that you have a website still puts you ahead of the game.

However, just having a website is only part of the battle. Many companies view websites as “set it and forget it” deals. Once they create a site, they don’t spend much time worrying about its functionality or its level of user friendliness. This is the wrong approach because having a bad website is equivalent to having no website at all. In fact, it can be even worse.

The problem is this: Most companies with subpar websites don’t even know there’s anything wrong. As a result, they’re oblivious to the possibility that a dramatic increase in web traffic is just within their grasp. With all opportunities, you need to know it’s there and how to reach for it. Let’s start with part one: here are five signs that your web approach could use a little work.

1. Your Website Isn’t Optimized for Mobile

If you created your company’s website three or four years ago, you probably thought you were set for a very long time. Unfortunately, technology has a way of putting a monkey wrench into your best-laid plans.

It’s Official: Users Are Very Mobile
As of August 2014, more online purchases are made from smartphones and tablets than computers. This is a huge development with major ramifications. For instance, if your website isn’t set up to accommodate mobile visitors, you’ll lose out on a ton of potential sales and you won’t even know it. Your competitor’s mobile-friendly website is only a tap or swipe away.

In addition, mobile optimization is now a major concern in terms of search engine marketing. The May 2015 update to Google’s search engine algorithm now penalizes any website that’s not optimized for mobile users. That’s as good a reason as any to get cracking on a mobile version of your website!

2. Your Site Comes Across As Out of Touch

This one is a bit difficult to quantify, especially if you’re not especially web savvy. But the feeling that your website isn’t exactly cutting edge is something that potential customers will surely pick up on, even if they too can’t verbalize directly.

There are many ways you can alienate customers with an outdated approach or layout. Consider overhauling your website if you feature any of the following:

  • An antiquated layout, such as iframes or splash pages
  • An overabundance of slow-loading images
  • All-caps text on any of your pages
  • No links to your social media accounts

If you get the impression that your site could do more to get with the times, that’s a pretty good indication that you have some work to do. Look at the sites of your competitors and thought leaders in your industry for ideas as to where you can get more modern.

3. Your Site’s Organization Is Confusing

Have you ever gone to another company’s website and thought things were too simple? There’s a good reason for that. Simple is what most customers want. A simple site might not answer every single one of their customer’s questions, but it doesn’t alienate or intimidate them and send them running for the exits. In the battle of conversion, that’s a clear victory for simplicity.

KISS: “Keep It Simple, Stupid”
Consider how your website is laid out. Does your main page link to a variety of similar pages? Is your navigation tool cluttered with too many options? Are you missing a clearly defined option for those leads looking to take the next step in the buyer’s journey?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, it might be time to simplify things. Ask yourself what you’d like to know if you were a new customer to your business. Highlight those resources and eliminate those that don’t play a role in customer conversion. This isn’t to say that you can’t have an informative website but you definitely don’t want to overwhelm the viewer and send them running for the hills!

4. You Aren’t Giving Enough to Your Viewers

You don’t have to be fully on board with content marketing to appreciate the importance of providing value to your web visitors. It’s not uncommon for companies to give white papers or promo codes to visitors who sign up for their email list. In light of that, now it’s time for introspection: what are you doing for your customers?

Step Up Your Game
If you have a nagging feeling you could be doing more, that’s a good indication to step up your game. This doesn’t mean you have to start giving away your products but it does mean that you might not be enticing leads the way you should. You want people to want to enter into a relationship with you therefore, doing the bare minimum rarely (if ever!) accomplishes this goal.

If you aren’t able to write a white paper — or if your industry doesn’t lend itself to one — you can still provide value to your customer base. For instance, create a weekly or monthly email newsletter full of vital company and industry information. You can also include discounts and coupons that will really make registration worth the customer’s while. That’s just one of many possibilities.

5. Your Calls-to-Action Aren’t Clear

Suppose you nailed everything we discussed so far. You’re up on the current content and design trends and you’re fully optimized for mobile. You also have a great package lined up for people who want to sign up for your email list. And yet, you’re still not converting potential customers. What gives?

Your typical call-to-action seems like a formality but it’s actually much more complicated. A call-to-action is your opportunity to seize the moment, to really frame the value proposition that will be realized by the reader. Don’t take this lightly! Your calls-to-action should include the following:

  • A brief bit of copy explaining what you have to offer
  • An attractive design that “pops” on your site
  • Prominent and natural placement on the page
  • Placement on every page within your site
  • Unquestionable clarity as to what the reader will receive for signing up

A frequently neglected item in any call-to-action is the actual button that’s clicked by leads when they’re ready to take the plunge. You can be like the masses and have a basic Submit button, but that’s not a compelling call-to-action. Instead, change the text of your button to reflect what’s actually being given in exchange for the click. Download My E-Book is a lot more informative and effective than Submit and it sends a subtle message that you’re focused on the customer’s perspective.

Summing Everything Up

If your website is plagued by any of these five issues, it’s not something you should feel discouraged or embarrassed about. All of these maladies are easily fixed using current software and a more modern approach. Don’t fret or wait: make any changes you need to make and watch your conversion rate soar.


Image Credits: The featured image for this post is credited to SEOPlanter on Flickr.

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