Stop patting yourself on your back and look at your firm’s website from a visitor’s perspective.
I often wonder why so many B2B websites, especially in professional services, give the visitor a horrific experience. It’s like somebody didn’t read the memo about how fundamentally critical a website is for branding, lead generation, and getting found with a foundation of strong content.
I put together a list of my top 10 reasons why I abandon websites, and I’m willing to bet that these peeves are similar to yours ... but if you have more, please comment below. And, if you have these peeves and they apply to your website, that should be a sign that you need to rethink and redo your website strategy.
Use These Ten Observations as a Checklist for your Website
If you want to take a critical look at your website, or if you’re in the process of a website redesign, I’d like to offer the following critiques. Unfortunately, failure can turn a prospect off to the point of abandoning your site and making your investment moot.
I need a magnifying glass to read one of your web pages
If you’re using a font size that’s in the single digits, your site is user unfriendly. Sure, you can get a lot of copy on a page but why give your visitor eye strain? Small is not better.
You have too much copy and I’m just not going to read it
Nobody like to read a lot of copy these days ... remember, we live in a texting crazy, 140 character world, so why would you possibly think that a webpage with hundreds and hundreds of words would be read? Shorten the copy, get rid of the hubris, say what you have to say in less than 150 words, and use the space to put up offers for lead generation instead.
Your site is really, truly ugly as sin
Overcrowded imagery and copy, mismatched fonts, colors that induce vomiting, photography that is amateurship, screaming obnoxious headlines, boring to the point of tears, and so on ... you get the drift right? Your website could very well be the first point of contact you have with a prospect, so take a look at it – especially your home page – from that perspective.
I fell asleep waiting for your page to load
Have you timed how long it takes for one of your webpages to load? Are you aware that Google ranks pages on loading time now? According to Econultancy, about half of all people expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. There are a number of ways to fix this problem and you can start by reading this blog post, “How to Improve and Monitor Your Site’s Load Time” from HubSpot.
You tossed me into broken link hell
I recently reviewed a CPA firm website that won a best site” award from a local business journal. Great looking site, lots of content, but also, a lot of broken links to pages that didn’t exist. My takeaway: if you don’t care enough to give me a great experience or when you have a lot of mistakes when I come to your site, what can I expect from you in the way of services and client relations?
You brag too much about your firm and I really don’t care
I hate when I see a site that uses their home page to market their firm by citing the awards they recently won, or to announce promotions, or even their latest community service accomplishments. Now don’t get me wrong ... these are important and have a place on your site, just not the first thing I see when I click on. Stop bragging and start convincing me that you can get rid of the burr under my saddle that brought me to your site in the first place. It’s not about you ... it’s about me!
You talked over my head
Too many professional services firm have little or no respect for the persona that’s the target of their marketing. They use ten dollar words to show how smart they are, but ignore the fact that their prospect most likely wants simple and easy to understand copy on the website that creates an affinity that says, “You understand me and my problems”. If you’re marketing to professionals where your credibility is a function of more technical copy, then use write that way, but otherwise, KISS.
You have stuff on your site that’s older than dirt
When’s the last time you did an inventory of your site to get rid of pages or materials that have an expired shelf life? I recently went on to an IT services firm site that had seriously old and expired technical content available for download that was published back in 2006. 2006! Here’s the messages you gave me: (1) I haven’t updated my technical prowess for 9 y ears, and (2) you don’t care enough about my experience on your site to remove stuff that is irrelevant.
I’ve seen that stock photo 1,985 times on other sites
Simply put, stock photos are a turn off and if you’ve seen a particular photo once, you can bet that it’s been used a lot. Invest the time and resources to do original photography that illustrates your messaging, but (here’s another pet peeve), please, I beg you, no shots of the team sitting around the conference table.
You say the same things as your competitors – I can’t tell the difference.
If I can go to one of your competitors websites (and vice versa)and substitute your name for theirs in places where there are descriptions of services or capabilities, then you have little to no differentiation on your site. I’ll be the first to admit that this is tough to do, especially in regard to commodity-like services or products, but if you want to create a brand identity through your website, it’s a critical need. Start by seeing what your competition is doing, and then do it differently.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. What’s Next?
If you’ve failed these some number of these criteria, then it’s time to think about a new website, which represents an opportunity to build what can be a powerful marketing tool on best inbound marketing practices.
Put yourself in your site visitor’s shoes. From that perspective, if you don’t like what you’re seeing or experiencing, then neither will your visitor.
That means it’s time to make a commitment and invest the resources into making your website an experience that will help you grow your business.