As I was preparing to write this, I clicked through the Automation Alley membership directory and checked out some of our member's websites. I anticipated having to click through to an avalanche of outdated and ugly websites. To my surprise, I was wrong. I was pleased to see the vast majority of our members have updated their website’s design in the past few years.
So we’re all good, right? Well, not so fast… As I looked at the sites more closely, I noticed something: A lot of these “updated” websites were merely cosmetic upgrades. They weren’t redesigned to perform any better than the previous version. Some were slow to load, some had hard-to-find basic information, and some couldn’t even be found when I Googled their exact keywords and their city. What’s going on with these recently redesigned websites?
There are a lot of reasons why a website can underperform. If your site isn’t showing up in Google results or generating leads the way you think it should, here’s a checklist of questions you need to ask yourself.
1. Does your website have all the SEO basics?
The number one thing I noticed as I sampled some websites was the lack of fundamental elements of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The SEO elements on your website help your website rank better in search engines. At the minimum, you need to have the following basic SEO elements on your site:
- Great content - The content of a page is what makes it worthy of a good Google ranking. The copy on each page of your website should be original, a minimum of 300 words, and include your keywords. (Keywords are the words and phrases people type into a search engine when looking for content.)
- Proper keywords used in title tags and other meta tags.
- Easy to understand site structure and navigation
- SEO-Friendly URLs. Examples:
2. Is Google Analytics and Search Console installed? And are you receiving regular reports?
Google Analytics and Search Console are free tools offered by Google to help you analyze and improve your website’s traffic. Google Analytics generates a wealth of actionable information. Search Console helps you ensure Google is crawling and indexing your website properly. Make sure you’re getting regular (I recommend monthly) reports from your website company or internal website team. Along with hundreds of data points, the reports can show:
- Who visits your website (demographics)
- What’s working with your content and what's not
- How you acquire visitors to your website
- How people engage with your site
- What pages attract the most visitors
In short, not having website analytics is like hiring a salesman and having no idea if they’re actually selling anything.
3. Is your website loading too slowly?
A slow website hurts you on a couple of levels. It makes people leave your website and it hurts your Google rankings. Find out if your site is lagging. Perform a quick Google speed test. If your test shows 3 seconds or longer, you should call the person responsible for managing your website and tell them to investigate.
4. Does your site have a clear Call-To-Action?
When people visit your website, they should never have to click around to figure out how to make contact with you. Make sure your website has a strong call to action (CTA) to help turn your website visitor into prospect. Your CTA should be a clear visual cue that encourages a certain action. It might be a “Contact Us” form, a “Sign up for Our Newsletter” email capture box, or a “Get a Quote” button. Feature your CTA prominently enough so that it’s impossible to miss.
- Are your phone number, address, and social media links easy to find?
- Do you have a clear value proposition on your home page?
Your website should clearly communicate who you are, what you do, and who your customer. For example, something like “We are ABC Company…we build widgets or provide XYZ solutions for companies in the _________industry.”
5. Are your phone number, address, and social media links easy to find?
Make sure people can easily, quickly find your contact information, and can link to you on social media.
With all the things to juggle in your business, your website might seem like an afterthought. But if you expect your website to generate leads or be considered a resource to your customers or your industry - this checklist has to become a priority on your To-Do list.
Your website is a long-term investment. Set it up for success today, and it will pay dividends in the years to come.