Diagnosing the Symptoms of an Underperforming Website
By Carly Stec
If your office is anything like mine, when someone comes down with a cold, everyone hustles to quarantine his or her space.
We take careful inventory of our Emergen-C supply, double down on orange juice, and make sure there's enough hand sanitizer to go around.
It's not that we're germaphobes per say, but we want to be sure that we have enough able bodies in office to keep things rolling.
Your website should be treated no differently.
As soon as something starts underperforming, it's important that you're able to identify the glitch, diagnose the problem, and work towards a cure.
A timely diagnosis is critical if you want to ensure the situation doesn't snowball, because when low traffic leads to low conversions, followed by low sales, nobody wins (except your competition.)
Symptom: Low traffic
Website Traffic = The amount of visitors and visits a website receives. (Source: Marketing Terms)
Diagnosis: Optimization and distribution strategy is poor
While we're all aware that we have to be consistently creating content in order to sustain traffic flow, there's more to it than that.
In order to get found, it's important that you strike a balance between optimizing for search engines, and optimizing for your buyer personas.
In terms of search engines considerations, we've compiled a full report on what your business needs to do to rank higher in search engines. You can access it here.
As for your personas, creating a post that serves as a solution to one of your personas pain points is a great way to get started. This will help to ensure that when they go looking for answers online, they'll be met with your resource.
However, the influence of even your best-optimized content marketing is restricted if you don't have a viable distribution strategy.
If you're throwing in the towel after a piece of content is published on your blog, you're doing your business an injustice.
In order squeeze the most traffic out of your content, you have to identify where your ideal audience is hanging out online, and find a unique way to present the information to them there.
Maybe this means publishing a blog post to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, or identifying an opportunity to have it syndicated to another well-known industry blog.
After all, that's the beauty of inbound marketing, right? Positioning the right content, for the right people, in the right places, at the right time.
Symptom: Low conversion rate
Conversion rate = The percentage of visitors who take a desired action. (Source: Marketing Terms)
Diagnosis: Not enough conversion points aligning with funnel
It's easy to point the finger at low traffic when your conversion rates are down, but what happens when traffic is up and conversions are still down?
While traffic is a necessary part of the equation, it's critical that your business has a variety of conversion opportunities on your website to assist lead generation.
"But, we have two conversion opportunities on our homepage already. One for a free consultation and one for a free 14-day trial."
That's great and all, but what about your first time visitors?
In order to get the conversion rate you're looking for you need to enlist the help of multiple conversion points that appeal to different personas and different stages of the sales funnel.
With that being said, it's likely that a first time visitor isn't interested in a free-trial, but perhaps they'd see the value in a relevant ebook instead.
Simply put, if a visitor isn't ready to jump on the phone with you, don't let that be their only option.
Educational content like ebooks, webinars, and whitepapers serve as a way to get people familiar with your product or service, build trust, and move them closer to a sale.
Symptom: High bounce rate
Bounce rate = refers to the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page). (Source: Google)
Diagnosis: Poor messaging
If your website traffic is having a hard time finding a reason to stick around, you'll want to revisit your messaging.
In case you weren't aware, the average human attention span is a mere 8 seconds (shorter than that of a goldfish!) To avoid losing visitors, all of your website pages should be designed to lend themselves well to that 8 seconds.
This means that the written content you employ must be clear, compelling, and minimal. Very few people are going to be willing to read big blocks of text in an effort to decode exactly what it is that you do.
Additionally, jargon-riddled content isn't going to impress your visitors, it's going to confuse them. Steer clear of ten-dollar words and focus on positioning your product or service as a solution to their problem in a way that they can easily understand.
If you're having trouble simplifying things, use bullet points and visuals to break up text and translate purpose.
Ann Handley once told us, "No one will ever complain that you made things too simple to understand."
When it comes to your website's messaging, follow that notion.
Wondering where to begin?