Skip to main content

Is your website content designed to convert?

I have recently been doing some marketing research online and I have noticed a disturbing trend among small businesses -- Old, outdated and ineffective websites. If you have not done anything with your business website in the past year or two perhaps you are likely losing business because of it.

Here are my findings and some solutions.

Your website's content should have one goal, to convert a visitor into a customer. Recently I was shocked to see first hand how spectacularly a website can fail.

Here's the story...

A message on my answering machine was left by a man who implied that he knew my wife and had gotten her phone number through a "roundabout way" and could she please give him a call back. She did not recognize the name nor the number but our curiosity was piqued.

Aside from the obviously shady introduction, I decided to try and discover some more information. Since I had both a name and a number, a brief search on Google gave me the results I needed, including a website. The landing page had the title, “Discover the Real Secret to Living the Life of Your Dreams!”, a form to subscribe for “Free Info” and an embedded video that was BROKEN. Yes, that’s right… his main sales pitch, the reason for the landing page, was not working.

Let’s put it into a different perspective. Imagine inviting a customer to your store only to have them find the front door locked. How many sales will you make in that scenario?

As I mentioned above, these past few months I have been doing some market research for my own business. In doing this I looked at many local business websites and discovered a startling trend. Here are the top three issues I encountered;

Outdated layouts

The number one problem encountered were outdated sites, some as old as ten years. That is a long time to not update anything. Remember, your site works for you 24/7 and is often the first impression people get regarding your business. Website technology has advanced rapidly and your site should reflect those changes. The primary motivator for these advancements is mobile technology.

People are using smart phone more to do their research with these days and your website should be responsive to this advancement. You don't need to spend a fortune. Wordpress is the leading website management tool and many of their products are free to use. If you don't have a complex site you can build (or rebuild) your website in a weekend. There are plenty of tutorials online to guide you.

If you feel you are not internet savvy or your site is a little more complex than you care to tackle, find a knowledgeable relative or hire someone to help you. Here are a five things to consider when updating;
  • Find a responsive layout, one that works cross platform from desktops to tablets to mobile phones.
  • Do not use flash for fancy or gimmicky effects or videos. Most modern browsers are no longer supporting this old technology.
  • Make sure you are up to date with HTML5 and CSS formatting. This will guarantee your website looks presentable.
  • Check all image links and URLs. Nothing is more frustrating than broken links that go nowhere.
  • Ensure you have the proper SEO information. Google has really been pushing this lately.

Missing contact information

This one I simply can not understand. I will find a site for a small business or restaurant and want to find out where they are located. The first place I look is on the front landing page (it can usually be found in the footer section at the bottom). If I can't find it there I will click on the Contact menu item or the About menu item (if there is no contact link) and... It's not there either? It's as if they don't want people to know where their business is.

I don't know if it's some false sense of maintaining personal internet anonymity or what, but If I need... let's suppose... a repairman to fix my dishwasher, I would want to know if the business I am looking at online is a local business.

Far too many websites I visited lacked this simple basic information that can be found on every standard business card. A customer should not have to play detective to find a phone number or address. Take a few minutes and pretend you are a clueless customer looking for your services. How easy is it to get to the right information?

Too many downloadables

To be fair, I found restaurants to be the biggest culprit of this annoyance.

As I mentioned above, mobile technology has gained widespread popularity for accessing the internet. Whether it's through an app, a search engine like Google or Bing, or directly through a web browser, these handheld devices are here to stay. Unfortunately they have neither the processing power nor the data storage for downloading something as simple as your restaurant's menu.

For one, you are forcing someone to spend data transfer fees just for the privilege of checking out your menu when it can easily (and faster) be done on a dedicated page. Secondly, most of these are in PDF format which requires a seperate app for reading them. If they don't have a PDF reader, that menu does them, and you, no good.

Similar problems are found in other business sites that offer information of any kind as a PDF download. I can understand if its a small booklet or maybe sales spec sheets, but take a few minutes to determine if that information can't be better served as a clickable web page instead. It makes updating information easier for you and it makes accessing the information easier for your customers.


Most Popular Posts

Large DIY Diffusion Scrim

One of the most commonly used tools in my photographic arsenal is the all purpose diffusion screen. I use it to soften light, create gradients and light fields or as a background. One of my current favorites is a metal framed 4' x 4' foot scrim with thick white artificial silk made by Matthews. I didn't think I would use it so much, being so large, but having borrowed it from a friend I really came to love it. The downside for me is the price. At just over $100 I couldn't really justify the cost, considering I want at least two of them. Time for a DIY alternative.

Focal length and field of view

As a photographer creating an image for your viewers there are many ways to present that image. Lighting and color, composition, perspective, these are all choices you have to make. One of the inescapable tools used for manipulating your scene is your camera's lens.

With any lens there are considerations to keep in mind; focal length, angle of view and perspective are three that immediately come to mind and I'll cover some aspects that need to be understood in order to make an informed lens choice for a given scene. One suggested exercise is to take all your lenses, find a suitable subject and make a series of images with all the lenses in your collection. If you have a zoom lens, take several images at varying focal lengths so you have something for comparison.

DIY Softbox Storage Hanger

If you own a softbox, or two, you understand how bulky and unwieldy they can be. Imagine owning several in different sizes. Storage becomes an issue. One solution is to break them down and store them flat, but that becomes a pain after the first few times struggling to put one of these things together. It is more convenient to just grab one "off the shelf" and go to work.

Allocating shelf space seems like such a waste of valuable storage space. In my case I have two square softboxes, three striplights and soon two more rectangular ones. That's a lot of real estate. Time to come up with a storage solution that doesn't require floor space or shelf space.

The solution I came up with is a compromise of an idea I originally had of hanging them from the ceiling on pulleys so they would be out of the way until needed. I still like that idea, but for now I will be suspending them from a wire rack shelf system in my studio. Here is what the system looks like.

5 qualities images need for online shopping

As online shopping grows, competition for new business gets harder. Customer loyalty is a thing of the past. People will shop for value and convenience above all else. Part of that convenience is good photography.

One of the problems with online retail is the loss of tactile interaction with the products you're looking to purchase. There is no picking up, weighing, testing and trying on a product to get a sense of quality, of fit or just to get that emotional feedback.

Online shoppers have to rely on the images retailers supply on their web sites to help them make their buying decisions. Frustratingly, many of these images fail to provide the needed information so customers can make an informed buying decision. The results is a loss of revenue to the seller, and what's worse is the seller may not even realize their images may be a major reason for the loss.
Sean Barger, CEO of Equilibrium, says there’s been a number of studies showing that people are more likely to buy a produ…