Stop the Madness! Don’t Put Lipstick on a Pig
My dad used to say “don’t put lipstick on a pig”. Crass as this sounds, it does ring true when business owners rush to redesign websites. You can spend thousands of dollars making your site more beautiful, but that will not land more business or bring in more profits. If I see one more website with navigation featuring out-dated buttons like “About Us”, “Services”, Testimonials”, and “Contact Us” I am going to explode (which would be sort of messy). For more than a decade web developers have been selling replica websites like this over and over as if this is the only way to go.
As an SEO expert, I have seen thousands of sites like this which is such a shame and a massive waste of time and money. Adding insult to injury, developers sell Mickey Mouse type “SEO” as part of the web package to unsuspecting business owners. Last but not least, owners remain removed from the development process, as they wait for their website “masterpiece” to be finished. Even if the new site includes everything they dream of, items the board of directors dictate and the latest WordPress theme, will be missing essential elements for online success.
Why New Websites Don’t Deliver Traffic
Once the site is launched, it may be submitted to the search engines so business owners think that’s all they need to magically attract visitors. Too bad crickets chirp and little happens as they pray for the masses to visit and engage with their site.
What Is Missing from this Process?
For the most part, people have NO understanding of how to get found online. The result is unfortunate – a beautiful website with bells and whistles that no one will find. It won’t bring in new business or any prospects. Pretty and trendy are just not enough to grow your company.
Website Redesign Cycle Wastes Time and Money
Three years later, you’re bored and decide your website needs a facelift. As your company evolves and you add products and services, you feel the website must evolve too. So, you start the process all over again with a new developer. I compare this to a hamster running on a wheel, but getting nowhere. It’s a never ending, expensive cycle that will NOT produce the online results you expect or need.
Time for a Fresh Website Strategy that Works
Let’s STOP this cycle of cookie-cutter, digital brochure websites once and for all. When looking at redesigning your site, it’s time to think differently about the whole thing. Ask more in-depth questions and expect more from your web developer. This is your show NOT theirs. No matter how much nerdy gibberish they throw your way to impress you, you need to be in control of this relationship from start to finish to get what you need.
5 Critical Steps for a Website that Gets Found Online
Okay, I’ll step off the soap box. If you are in the middle of a website project, PLEASE PRESS PAUSE NOW. Here are the five critical steps EVERY business owner, marketing executive, or project manager should follow when building a new site. Ready. Set. Go.
Step One: Your Customers Are NOT Who You Think They Are!
Every business owner thinks their services and products are the best. They size up their customer with a simplistic demographic overview. However, if you do not know the needs, issues and problems of your online prospects, you are selling to a mirage. And as we all know, mirages don’t exist and neither does the client you hold dear in your mind.
First, start by identifying your customers’ pain and their needs. Second, develop the site to provide solutions to those needs. Third, finish up by creating an eye-catching design. This is the only step-by-step process that will deliver the results you want.
Sit down with your team, including anyone who touches the customer from a sales and customer service perspective, to brainstorm all the “bitches, moans and complaints” they hear from customers every day. Create a core list of top-of-mind phrases your employees deal with regularly. This is the good stuff. Now you are listening to what matters and working from a place where you will connect with customers and prospects.
Step Two: Stop Guessing about Keywords Your Customers Use
Next, your job is to brainstorm with your decision makers for the keywords they think the company should be findable under. Make a list in one document so you can validate the keywords and eliminate guessing. It’s time to use some actual data in your decision making. Now, in the future, if someone challenges why the website doesn’t rank under a certain phrase, you can pull up any keyword tool and check it to see why. That data allows you to politely tell squawkers to shut up and let the experts form the plan.
Step Three: Find the Specific Phrases Your Prospects Use
Every time I pull up a keyword tool like Adwords Keyword Planner (adwords,google.com), SpyFu.com or SEMRush.com, I am reminded NOT to look at just the numbers. We must interpret the content with the searcher’s intent. To choose the right phrases, look for the heartbeat behind the heart because humans do the searches NOT robots. Picking keywords based solely on search volume is a dangerous game. You get the false sense of satisfaction going after the big numbers.
Truth is customers who are ready to buy search with highly specific phrases and you will not be found under them unless you know about them. Most businesses have a total disconnect between their chosen keywords and how their customers actually find solutions, decide to hire people or purchase products.
Step Four: Houses Are Built with Architects NOT Decorators
Planning a website that gets found requires structured content. Make sure you build your website with content that answers your customer’s questions. Every page should focus only on one question or problem. Avoid combining concepts like we have blue, black and green widgets because this dilutes your relevancy. Instead, stay focused on one issue or keyword phrase at a time.
Step Five: Bring in the Designer and Make it Pretty
Now that he structure is in place, find a developer that will wrap up your hard work like a beautiful gift. Here are some key factors to consider when hiring a web design firm:
- Do they speak plain English or overwhelmed with jargon?
- Do they push you toward a design that works for them vs. you?
- Do you love their work? Do not pass go if you can’t answer yes.
- Stick to your budget. Do not let yourself get oversold.
- A Responsive WordPress Design is ideal for most companies at this time.
- Stay away from bloated CMS (content management systems) UNLESS you need serious customization. We call this code jail because usually, the developer who builds your site will be the ONLY one who can change or update it. That is so wrong! YOU must have full access to your site or choose someone else to work with.
Websites Are Thought Leadership Platforms, Not Digital Brochures
I am sick and tired of seeing great companies get sold something they never needed or a website that cannot deliver the traffic and business results expected. Websites are complex thought leadership platforms, NOT sales brochures. Do the work, get found and then dazzle them with your beautiful site. This is how your site will become a money machine so you can attain the level of success you’ve dreamed of.
For Real Results, Design Your Website with Your Customers in Mind
If you truly want more business from your website, create it strategically with the customer in mind and not your ego. Otherwise, you might as well print flyers and place them on cars in the WalMart parking lot to get the phone to ring and save thousands of dollars.
Ready for a Website that Delivers?
If you got to the end of this post, I hope you now have a better understanding of what you need to do for online success with your site. Follow the 5 Steps outlined above or call me at 888-588-9326 and let’s develop a website that gets tons of visitors and makes the phone ring without printing flyers.