I went to a business networking event this week. I was meeting new people, having great conversations, passing out business cards, when the inevitable question came up. “I have a web site but I don’t understand why I’m not getting more customers from it. Would you take a look at it and tell me what you think?”
I’m not sure when people ask me that question if they really want an answer. I’m a “tell-it-like-it-is” kinda gal. So when you ask me to take a look at your web site, I’m going to tell you exactly what I think of it. I’ll tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly. And WOW! Small businesses of America…you have got a lot of ugly going on!
I gave each of the people that asked me to look at their web site a ten minute glance. If they were clients, I would obviously spend a lot more time, but here’s what I look at in the first ten:
- Does the web site have real images of the business owner, staff, office, and/or product or have stock images of “terminally happy people” been used? (Real is always better than fake.)
- If the web site looks like it was designed from a boiler plate template that 5000 other businesses are using and it doesn’t look professional, that doesn’t say much for your business. (And I’d be leaving at this point if I were a visitor. Unprofessional is bad..just for the record.)
- Can I tell from the home page what it is that you do?
- Can I tell from the home page how to contact you without clicking further through the site?
- Does your home page tell me what I want to do next? Is there a clear path through your site to lead me to an action? (After all folks, what’s the goal of the site?)
- Are all your title tags the same or are they unique, written with keywords that were researched to match your business and to the content on the page?
- Does your web site give the appearance that you are an expert at what you do with unique content, your personal voice, customer testimonials, case studies, etc?
- Is social media woven into your site?
- Good grief folks…do all your links work?
- Do your contact forms take a half an hour to fill out? (If they do, no one is going to waste their time. Gee…what was the original question here?)
Again, this is just the beginning of a long list of things I look at, but if you fail these ten points in the first ten minute glance, then you need help. For a great deal of the small business sites that I give my ten minutes to, you must realize that this is probably 9 minutes and 50 seconds more than the average visitor gives your site. If you haven’t conveyed trust, professionalism, and a suggestion on where to go next, you not only won’t get ten minutes, you won’t get another ten seconds.
For more suggestions on where to start, check out my blog series Have You Looked At Your Web Site Lately? with Web Usability Tips and Basic SEO Tips and Tricks. I’ll be going over these subjects in great detail in our new online learning library. Stay tuned…