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Top 6 Reasons Why Websites Don’t Perform

You’ve spent weeks, or months, to finally get your own website built and online.  Time goes by, your site gets a few visitors, you’ve even made it into the search engines, but you’re not seeing too much sales activity.  Is it worth it to keep paying the hosting bill?  You bet it is – it’s way too early to give up, all you need are a few tweaks to get your site jump started.  See if any of the following reasons websites don’t perform applies to your site.

1.  Lack of Concrete Objectives

Is your site simply trying to sell a product?  Although sales are one objective of a website, the main objective of your site should be to communicate with and inform your customers.  Whatever the purpose of your site is, you need to provide a clear path for your visitors to follow once they arrive.  Lead them through your content and other information instead of hitting them with a sales pitch the second they walk in the door.

Think of your website as a tool and use it to help answer frequent customer questions and to perform other tasks for you, such as providing a calendar of events, classes or sales, or giving tips, hints and tutorials of interest to your customers.

After leading your customer through your site’s content, tell them exactly what you want them to do as your secondary objective.  Ask them to sign up for your newsletter, give them options to contact you, and if you want to sell them something then ask them to “buy now”.

2.  Undefined Target Market

What is your target market?  Actually write down what your perfect customer looks like – Are they male or female?  How old are they?  Do they have any hobbies?  What is their income level?  Their line of work?

Marketers use this type of demographic information because it works.  You can’t sell to everyone, so your best bet is to figure out who your perfect customer is, then look for ways and places to market to them so you don’t waste your money advertising to everyone when you’re looking for a select group.

3.  Focusing on Link Quantity Instead of Quality

Most new website owners understand that the way to get traffic is to build inbound links to their site, and many will spend lots of time posting on blogs or in forums and submitting to directories and search engines.  The problem with this approach is that the major search engines care much more about the quality of inbound links to a website, than they do about the quantity of inbound links.

For example, if you have a website that sells handmade, personalized kitchen towels and accessories, it’s okay to leave a link to your site on the discussion board for your church or child’s school, but the search engines won’t weight that link near as heavily as they would a related link to your site from say a kitchen supply website or a directory of sites that carry handmade items.  So, your time would be better spent trying to get quality links from related sites, and stay away from link farms and those automated link exchange emails since your site could actually be penalized for those types of links.

4.  Website is Inconsistent

People really love consistency and we’re programmed to prefer things that we’re familiar with.  Make sure your site colors, images and fonts are consistent.  Don’t use different color schemes or fonts on different pages as this will only serve to confuse your visitors and affect the “flow” of the visit.  Also, be sure to provide only pertinent information, don’t waste your visitors’ time with too many details, and make it easy for them to contact you by giving your contact information or a link to it on each page.

5.  Lack of Communication

Many people think that “if we build it, they will come”, but this is definitely not true for websites.  There are millions of websites on the Internet and people typically get from one website to another by clicking the links on those sites, not by typing random domain names into a browser.  For this reason, you’re completely wasting your time if you’ve built a website and you’re now just waiting around for people to show up.

You need to recognize that you are solely and completely responsible for getting the word out about your website.  Put your web address on all of your sales materials, on your letterhead, your invoices, the outside of envelopes, and of course on brochures and flyers.  Consider bidding on search engine keywords, or placing small inexpensive ads on related blogs through services like Project Wonderful and you should be able to see immediate results in increased traffic, and hopefully increased sales as well.

6.  Lack of Commitment

Your website work is not over once the site is online and ready to go.  Think of your site as a work in progress and make a commitment to keeping it updated, don’t let the content and pictures get stale, don’t use any “under construction” images and always be sure to respond to visitor requests as soon as possible so they know someone is listening on the other end.

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Author, Instructor & Pattern Designer

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