After working in website development for six months, I began to finally fix up my own website. I created three iterations and finally decided on one I liked and other website designers told me they liked. What I noticed though was that the bounce rate, the rate of closing immediately, was at 96%. This is the moment that I realized websites that were made for aesthetics were a waste of time and would never lead to generating sales online. Many people in the space argue that you are not a business if you don’t have a website online. This leads startups and businesses to make websites without thinking how it will actually be an asset to them. The main problems with websites are that they are distracting, don’t prioritize the visitors, and ask for too much to open the conversation.
Too Distracting! (Lay off the tabs!)
If you take a look at many websites that entrepreneurs spend thousands of dollars on, they will often have a templated website which has been used by web developers forever. Though this looks like the company has a lot to offer, it distracts prospects from performing the action that the business wants them to. A client I’ve had who runs a professional networking organization spent thousands on a website with eight tabs when all she really wanted was people to sign up for the membership, which was instead, three pages deep into the website.
It’s about Website Visitors! Not You!
Next, many websites come off as informational rather than providing value. They often talk about the company rather than giving value to the prospect. One of the most prevalent example of this is the traditional newsletter subscription box placed on a website. They tell the prospect to give the company their email in order to learn more about the company. This provides little to no value to the customer. Unless a newsletter is written by an amazing writer, this is not valuable and early companies avoid it. By changing the narrative to the prospect providing their email to get something they want, a company can grow a following much quicker.
Just Get Them Through The Door!
Finally, many websites are designed to speaking to prospect as if they are well aware of the company. This doesn’t work since most websites are used by first time visitors. If you think about the different types of traffic, then you will realize that many websites act like they are talking to hot traffic when they want to convert cold traffic. For example, let’s take my website for Proto-Dash. The only option for interacting with us was to use a contact form. This is a standard I see on many service oriented websites.
The main problem here is that it is used as an end use case instead of the start of a conversation. A contact form has four fields and usually involves specifying a specific problem. Though this works for someone who one hundred percent knows what they need and that you are the right person for the job, you exclude the prospects that are unsure they need it or that you are the right choice. Instead, prospects need to be treated differently in order to cover the spectrum of traffic.