Inbound Marketing Strategy

3 Website Mistakes Killing Your Business

Brad Smith
August 14, 2013
Here are three common website mistakes that kill your business, and how to fix them.
Abstract: Here are three common website mistakes that kill your business, and how to fix them.

Many websites look dated… because they are.

Design trends (and technology powering them) evolve quickly. Something in style a few years ago looks dated and old fashioned today.

But updating your website and improving the technology isn’t just for vanity — it’s also smart business.

Because your website is the achilles heel of online marketing. And if it’s not good enough, then it sabotages all of your other marketing efforts.

So here are 3 common website mistakes that are killing your business, and how to fix them.

Mistake #1. Antiquated Technology

Many old websites aren’t responsive, so they don’t work properly on tablets and other mobile devices. They’re not flexible, so you can’t create new blog articles easily or new landing pages for your marketing campaigns because you need help from a developer. And you they’re not powerful enough, so you can’t get any real data or insight into how your marketing campaigns are working (or how they’re not working).

Today there’s no excuse, because website technology is unbelievably inexpensive! Almost every single business can run on WordPress, which is — drum roll please — free! There are literally thousands of well designed themes with contemporary designs priced less than $100. And hosting your site only costs a few dollars each month.

(Further proof… my entire business runs off my website. Everything from lead generation and marketing to delivering proposals and selling products & services. I spent about $500 setting my website up, and another ~$40 each month on managed hosting (because I don’t want to worry about security and speed). That’s it! And in the past year my revenue has doubled.)

So costs aren’t the real reason behind sticking with antiquated technology…

In most cases, the reason people don’t evolve is because they don’t want to change. Unless you have the openness — and willingness — to change, then significant improvements are never going to happen.

And you’ll be stuck with the same old website that continues to detract value from your business.

Mistake #2. Not Optimized (Properly)

In keeping with the theme of change, there’s nothing that evolves online as quickly (and ferociously) as Google’s algorithm updates.

Each single day, Google makes continuous updates and improvements to over 200+ small ranking factors. And about twice a year, they reshuffle the deck on what gets top priority.

Which means your SEO strategy from 2005… is almost guaranteed to kill your rankings today.

And believe it or not, there’s a HUGE hidden cost of cheap SEO labor.

So what’s the solution?

Fix #1. Keep Up With Best Practices: First and foremost, you need to keep up with how SEO is evolving.

Because SEO today isn’t just SEO. It’s also content creation, building brand awareness, using social media, and more.

SEO still works, and it’s still incredibly valuable. But you can’t just buy a few links and call it a day. You really need to integrate it with the rest of your digital marketing because online, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Fix #2. Focus on the 80/20 of SEO: Do you really care how many #1 rankings you have, or would you rather have more traffic, leads and sales?

The basics of SEO — like cleaning up crawl errors on your website, optimizing for specific audiences and phrases, and the promoting it to drive inbound awareness, links and shares — all still hold true.

But the implementation and execution of those things has shifted drastically in the past few years. So understanding the basics and having a good grasp of what to do — and not do — is critical if you plan on having any online presence.

(By the way, this is even more true if you’re hiring someone to do it for you! Otherwise you won’t know whether they’re telling the truth or not.)

Mistake #3. The Online Information Brochure

Your website is never truly finished. Even when it’s “done”. Because when you launch and go live, some things will work great. And some won’t.

So repeat after me: “The purpose of my website isn’t to provide information. The purpose is to sell.”

When I first started consulting on my own, I couldn’t understand this. Because I never thought of myself as a “salesman”. (Read Dan Pink’s excellent book on the topic if you feel like this.)

But guess what? It doesn’t matter. Because every single day you have to sell yourself, your vision, your movement, and obviously — your company, products and services.

Otherwise, you go hungry.

(Oh, you’re a too-cool-for-school start-up that’s going to raise money, worry about monetizing later, and be the next Tumblr? Read this.)

That means your website should have two goals:

  1. Complete product or service transactions.
  2. Generate qualified leads for your products & services.

Most website visitors — like 98-99% — will not buy anything from your website. Especially on their first visit.

So the next step is to get qualified leads and get their information — at least an email address — to continue following up in the future.

Selling in this case doesn’t mean you have to look (or act) like a used car salesman. It just means you need to focus on your customers problems and pain points, position yourself as the solution, and then design offers, messaging, landing pages, etc. to drive inbound interest.

This doesn’t have to be difficult. Most of these things can be easily fixed.

But it is nearly impossible if you’re unwilling to change and adapt.