Your website is crucially important to your revenue growth efforts. You simply can no longer rely on a website that acts as a digital brochure.
Your website is where your customers and prospects learn about who you are, what you do, and why it matters. It’s the linchpin to competing (and winning) in The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT); and it represents a tremendous opportunity to generate high value leads.
In the course of my work, I probably see more than 100 new websites every month. Frankly, it’s distressing how behind the curve the vast majority of B2B sales organizations are.I hear senior executives regularly complain about how prospects don’t value good solutions today, are overly price sensitive and are just plain difficult to deal with. If they would only look at their web presence from the customer’s perspective, they’d realize just how much they’re enabling the problem with poor websites.
Over the last several months, I’ve been keeping a list of signs that indicate an urgent need to address the website. Here is my Top 13 list:
1. It’s been more than three years since your site has undergone a meaningful update*
If it’s been more than three years (frankly, I think the number is two, but some people say I’m overstating the issue) since you’ve revisited and refreshed the strategy, messaging and structure of your site; the time is past due. The way in which your customers and prospects behave online has completely changed, and you need to make sure that your website is keeping up.
You’ll notice I have an asterisk on this point. For those that are practicing what is called Growth Driven Design, they don’t have to worry about this, because they’re constantly iterating and updating their site. With Growth Driven Design, you no longer have to worry about the frustrating, disruptive process of website redesigns.
2. It’s not mobile friendly
This has been true for years as increasingly the number of people who experience your web presence do so on a mobile device. Since April 21st, however, it’s now an imperative.
On that day, Google updated their search engine ranking algorithm to significantly favor mobile friendly sites (if you want to find out about yours, use this mobile friendly testing tool).
While there is certainly some debate as to the real impact of the switch to date, it is clear that the chasm between mobile friendly and non-mobile friendly sites will only grow.
3. Your search engine rankings are low
According to updated research from BrightEdge Research, 68% of online experiences begin with a search query. Search algorithms have changed greatly over the last couple of years, and if your content is not showing up favorably in organic searches, it may be time to review your design.
4. Your prospects aren’t coming back and spending time
It takes a lot of effort to get people to visit your site. If those visitors (or the right ones at least) aren’t regularly coming back, that effort is wasted.
A common mistake I see with websites is that they’re designed for the first time visitor, and not the repeat visitor. Remember, your website is where your prospects can get to know you, before they ask you out on a date (engage in a sales process).
The messages you put forth, how you personalize their experience and the manner in which you’ve designed the site will all have a significant impact on how likely (and how often) valuable visitors come back.
5. You’re not converting new leads
Lead generation is consistently ranked as one of the top three challenges for growth oriented businesses. It is one of the primary reasons that people reach out to us in the first place.
Eighty percent of companies we review are not driving sufficient lead generation from their websites. I could write an entire post on this subject (and probably will), but to keep it simple let’s put it this way, if you don’t feel that your website is your absolute, single best resource for creating new, quality leads then you should probably be looking at redesigning or rethinking your approach to the web.
6. Existing leads aren’t moving through the funnel
While lead generation is a crucial function of any company website, an overlooked area is the role of moving prospects through your funnel. You should track how many items prospects engage with, and your conversion paths should be built to move prospects through your funnel.
7. It’s slow
According to KISSmetrics, 47% of visitors expect a web page to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40% will abandon the site after 3 seconds. Today, your site has to be lite and fast, or you’ll lose traffic and engagement.
8. You can’t easily make continuous changes to your content or structure
Today you should be able to change virtually any aspect of your website without requiring web design/development acumen. An effective content management system (CMS) puts the control of the website where it belongs…the functional area using it.
If you have to think twice about making a change to your site because of the difficulty, then you need to change your website.
9. Your site looks dated
Here’s a great test. Put yourself in the mindset of your customers and prospects. Now visit the sites they would visit over the course of a week. Compare your site to those sites and ask yourself how you stack up.
Don’t compare your site to your competitor’s sites only. It’s not okay to have a crappy site simply because everyone in your industry has one too. Today you compete for the mindshare of your customer with every other message your customer sees.
10. Maintaining your site is unwieldy
I recently reviewed a website for a client. In building out their site map, we realized that they had more than 5,000 pages. On top of that more than 4,000 of those pages had 1 or no visits in the previous six months.
There was no organization to the pages and no one really knew what most of the pages were for. While this is a bit more extreme than most, it is representational of many websites that have just had more content added over time. At some point, you’ve got to consolidate and focus your efforts to maximize results.
11. Your sales team isn’t regularly using the site to support their sales efforts
When I speak with executives I often ask them how often their sales team actively uses their website to leverage their efforts. The answer is almost always that they do not.
Your website should be built to support your sales process, and your salespeople should be taught how to leverage the content and tools to save them time and accelerate the process.
12. Your site is not in alignment with your message
If what you’re saying to your prospects and customers doesn’t fully align with what’s on your website, it’s time to change your website.
13. You’re embarrassed to share your URL with good prospects
It has happened to all of us. Someone calls in and says, “I just looked at your website,” and you think, “I hope you didn’t look at it for very long.” Your website should be something you’re proud to share. Your website should serve as the center point for all of your marketing and lead generation initiatives. You should be confident that when a qualified prospect lands on your site, the entire sales process is accelerated. If you’re not, it’s time to change the website.
Website Redesign Does Not Have to be Painful & Disruptive
I think the reason that so many websites fail to deliver on their promise is that traditionally the process of designing the site ranked somewhere just above the pain of kidney stones.
As I shared in a previous post on Growth Driven Design, website design does not have to be (and frankly it shouldn’t be) painful. By managing your website on a continuous basis you gain more traction, enhance results, reduce costs and minimize disruption.
In any case, your web presence is simply too important to ignore. If two or more of these signs resonated with you, don’t wait to take action; the risk is too high.