Five common website problems and how to fix them.

Your website is an incredibly important tool in your online marketing eco-system.Ideally, it's working for you like a charm, inspiring people to take action and helping you to grow your business into everything you dream it can be. Sometimes, however, this is simply not the case. Sometimes, websites are confusing and/or uninspiring and actually cause more harm than good. Here are five of the most common website woes that people come to me with and some tips to help make them better.

Problem 1: "People are confused when they land on my website."

This is very common if there is no strong tagline or intro headline at the top of your website. When people first arrive on your website, you have approximately 4 seconds to let them know exactly what you offer and preferably who you offer it to. Write a clear and direct headline that allows people to know immediately if they are in the right place. Give it to them straight. What do you offer and who is it for? This will allow people to locate themselves and dive deeper into your website without being confused.

Problem 2: "I'm having trouble getting people to visit my website."

Think of your website as the epicenter of a larger online eco-system connected to your social media channels. Your social media channels can be used to share your brand story, connect with your audience, share your content and promote your offerings. By having an engaging and active presence on social media, you will drive people to your website and promote your business. This sounds pretty obvious, right? Social media has been around for long enough that we all know what it's about and how to use it, but 9 times out of 10, if a website is not getting the desired traffic and results, it's because there is no social media presence to connect with people and generate interest and excitement around your brand. Make sure that all of your social media channels are branded cohesively, that they share the same bio or tagline and have links to your website.Find ways to connect with your audience online. This could be by writing for other online publications or using other media channels (YouTube, iTunes, etc.) to generate traffic to your website. Research your industry and find out where your ideal customers hang out online. Go and connect with them. Be of service in that space by engaging with your audience and you will find that your traffic will increase organically.Another important thing is your Search Engine Optimization. Wordpress has some plugins that make onsite SEO a breeze. Check out the Yoast SEO plugin for Wordpress and follow the easy to use instructions on how to optimize your website for search.

Problem 3: "People aren't engaging with my website content."

Think of your website as a tool for engagement rather than a static page. One of the advantages of using a CMA like Wordpress, is that you can keep your website up to date and post fresh and original content that keeps people coming back for more. Having a blog that is helpful to your ideal dream clients, is a great way to achieve this but it's also not the only way. Podcasting, visual journals, video segments or curated resources are other ways to make your website a dynamic and engaging place that people will want to return to.As hard as it may be to hear, if people aren't engaging with your content, it may be that it is simply falling flat. Survey a handful of your clients or customers and ask for honest feedback. What do they need help with? Is it enjoyable to read? The sweet spot for engagement is content that is both useful to your clients AND something that has a certain amount of entertainment value. Experiment with topics and make sure that your brand voice comes through in your copy. Also, remember to share your content on social media to drive people to your website and place social media share buttons after each post so that it is really easy for people to share the content that they love.

Problem 4: "People are not signing up for my newsletter."

First is first. Check for design flaws. Is your opt-in form in a clear and noticeable location? This can mean "above the fold" on your website, but it's not the only way. In fact, I'm more partial to websites that allow me to explore a bit first before I am asked to sign up for anything. Make sure that your opt-in is in a clear location and that it is highlighted visually with either a contrasting link colour or another dynamic design element. Second, Make sure that people know what to expect from your newsletter. Is it weekly, bi-weekly or monthly? What topics do you cover? Do you have any great testimonials or feedback from it? Don't be shy about selling the benefits of your newsletter and the content that you are spending so much time on.Another reason your opt-in could be stagnating is that your online presence is not captivating enough to your ideal customers. I know that can be hard to hear but if the above two reasons are taken care of and there's still no action on your newsletter, then we gotta get real here so we can fix it. If your website content is fresh and original and your social media presence inspires them, then people will sign up, I promise. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and find out what you can do to create content that will inspire them and add value to their lives. It's never too late to switch things up.

Problem 5: "People are not converting on my website."

This could be due to a number of reasons but firstly, how many 'calls to action' do you have on each page? Often lower conversion rates can be the result of CTA overload. Too many options, too many links and unclear messaging can all wreak havoc on your website and sales.Get really clear and be kind to people. What is the goal of each page of your website? Keep your CTA's to one per page. Make sure you are directing people to exactly the action that you want them to take. Also, make sure that your CTA is highlighted visually which a contrasting colour and/or distinctive design element. This will help to minimize confusion and increase conversions on the website.

That's a Wrap

I hope that some of the above suggestions help to solve your website woes. A website is an incredible tool for engaging with your audience and building your business. Let's not let it go to waste.

Onwards & Upwards,

Brooke

Communications, Designbrooke