Useless websites are killing your lead conversion and sales pipeline.

Have you run into useless websites in the past week? I deal with this every day, clients ask us the following questions:

  • How do I get more website traffic?
  • How do I capture leads and nurture them, automatically?
  • How do we create content that is interactive, fun, informative and get the readers excited enough to take actions and share?
  • What are useless websites?

Over 70% of clicks go to organic searches that rank on the first page of Google. Does this matter to you at all?

Ranking on the first page of Google can be the deciding factor in making your business thrive online. You probably already know that, right?

While we have all heard about B2C e-commerce soaring in popularity over the past couple of years, the lesser-known B2B digital commerce has quietly been creeping up in importance. Businesses haven’t caught the trend, as it seems that useless websites are still running rampant.

Over 70% of clicks go to organic searches that rank on the first page of Google. Does this matter to you at all? Click To Tweet

This leaves proactive executives with an opportunity to overtake their competition in a key business segment. Utilizing a customer-centric website is a differentiator almost as important as a company’s value proposition (no, you won’t be the lowest cost provider forever).

CEB’s Digital Evolution Report spoke to an impressive statistic. The average B2B buyer has completed 57% of their purchasing cycle before your company has made initial contact.

Ideally, they’ve been gathering practical information about your business that is well thought out and leads them closer to purchase.

Fast and Painless – Website Redesign

The Result? A beautiful, fast, SEO tuned and mobile friendly website.

So what is your organization doing about the sales crunch? If the answer is nothing, then you’ve lost a substantial amount of deals, and your team doesn’t even know. To have presentable digital material is only the tip of the iceberg.

Harvard Business Review found that in the average B2B transaction there are over five stakeholders who have final input. Everyone one of those influencers is looking for different pieces of content. None of them digest the material in the same way. So, how do you reach them?

internet explorer browser

Certainly not like this… though it seems Internet Explorer hasn’t received any good reviews from users since 1998.

Website design has made some remarkable changes to clean up useless websites

To say website design has changed considerably would be a serious understatement. It’s important to truly identify what makes a website useless in the first place. Just take a look at Adobe’s State of Content Report, three of their key takeaways were:

  • Consumers are multi-screening more than ever before – optimize your content for it.
  • Consumers’ higher expectations = lower patience for sub-par experiences.
  • Consumers are willing to share information but expect a return on value.

If you want a website that generates leads, then you have to do more than just worry about aesthetics. Smart website designers understand the importance of good looking aesthetics, a layer of value, all matched with best SEO practices.

It is a give and takes an approach that mashes together the needs of a business and the wants of their consumers. Useless websites pop up when companies don’t take into account the overlapping desires between themselves and prospects.

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 1.50.22 PM.png

Most common myths and assumptions about useless websites

 1. I don’t need to user test my website

Using a logical road map is crucial to the success of a website. Having great aesthetics will do nothing for your business if the information behind those aesthetics is vague and hard to follow.

A user test can be as basic as throwing together a few mock wireframes and asking friends how intuitive the design is. More likely though, you should put some time and money into market research- try to find out what industry competitors are doing.

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Either way, using a wireframe tool will come in handy. Try MockFlow, they provide a free version for single project users.

2. Navigation has no effect on user experience

I thoroughly enjoy the term “Mystery Meat Navigation,” coined by Webpagesthatsuck.com. It is used to describe a navigation menu that is hidden until the user hovers over it with their mouse.

The intended idea is to create a clean look in the header section, although it leaves the visitor confused and looking for a reason to stay on your website.

That is not something a company wants to encourage when the average page duration for a B2B site is already under two minutes. A website is useless without clear navigation.

Certainly not like this… though it seems Internet Explorer hasn’t received any good reviews from users since 1998.

Straightforward and concise navigation will reduce the chances users will turn and run. The basic premise is this: what is your customer’s goal when visiting the site?

That goal can be something like booking a reservation, making a phone call, or trying a demo. If they can’t figure out the path to their goal, then they will leave in a heartbeat. Good navigation starts driving users down the decision process.

3. People can find my contact information in one spot

Wrong! Put your contact information in the website footer, contact page, and anywhere else it feels natural. 

Kissmetrics conducted an interesting A/B test that involved one contact page with minimal contact information and the other with every detail included. The results were an incredible 53% more form submissions on the page with easy access to contact information.

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Ease of access is the most important factor. Add your phone number, email, contact form, address, and map and a friendly line like, “Want to chat?” to your contact page.

A bonus would be putting some – or all – of this information above the page fold. There is some debate on the validity of the fold content, but I am a believer that the easier it is to find contact information the better results you will have.

4. More visits are better than the right visits

This conversation often comes up when business owners get excited about vanity numbers. Site visits are important, that is indisputable, however, they don’t show the whole story.

A company that tries to serve everyone will end up helping no one. Defining a target audience and buyer personas allow you to engage directly with the people who need your services.

Fast and Painless – Website Redesign

The Result? A beautiful, fast, SEO tuned and mobile friendly website.

It might be a smaller, more refined audience but their propensity to buy will skyrocket. You will start finding the sales process shortening and close rates increasing. Don’t focus on vanity metrics, focus on creating a functioning sales funnel by shoring up, and kicking out the uninterested leaks.

5. Social media isn’t important for my industry, right?

Everybody is using social media. It’s a free and easy way to amplify your business’s message. Every market has a chance to connect and engage with their prospects on one social platform or another.

The problem is most organizations don’t take the time to differentiate which channels are driving their social metrics. Make sure you are easy to connect with on social media and include social sharing widgets on each piece of content.

A perfect example is Rainmaker Platform; they found a niche market in the software crowd using Google+ to drive the entirety of their social effort. Since that discovery, Rainmaker has limited other social channel usage and focused on creating the most value out of their Google+ audience.

Even more importantly social media does have indirect effects on your website’s SEO. It isn’t connected in the way most SEO specialists think. Nonetheless, it is an important traffic indicator when planning the design of a website.

6. Screen size variation is all about mobile phones

In 2014 mobile web usage surpassed desktop usage. This change is a well-known fact in the marketing world. For some reason, many marketers forget that tablets and medium-sized screens are used almost as frequently.

Users need to be able to access your website from any device without hindrance. Google’s somewhat recent algorithm change has put a high value on responsive website design and it doesn’t look like that will change in the near future.

Responsive Website Design

32% of businesses have not fixed their unresponsive websites and useless website.

Try Google’s Mobile Readiness Test and see if your company’s website meets the standards.

7. Intricate page design attracts prospects

This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are over padding your web pages, it will eventually reduce the load speed. By that point it won’t matter how beautifully you’ve designed that page, the average viewer only waits for 2.5 seconds for a page to load before they leave.

The bottom line: page speed is the gatekeeper. Pages that are too slow will be forgotten. Google Developers offers a free page speed test that can provide insights into which web pages need a quick tune-up and which ones need a complete overhaul.

8. Pages can be static and unconnected

The idea that your website is a static document without interconnectivity is outdated. Every visitor click should be guiding them down the purchasing path. A stranger will be in a different buying mindset than a qualified lead and therefore will be looking for different types of content. If your bounce rates are through the roof, interlinking web pages can aid in website navigation and ease-of-use.

Inbound Methodology

There are both technical and user benefits to creating a dynamic site:

  • Outdated content is given less relevancy weight when crawled by search engines.
  • Engaging visitors with content that is personalized towards their interests drastically increases conversion rates.
  • Useless websites don’t interlink pages that have content indexed by search engines less often.
  • An xml sitemap tells search engines about the website hierarchy and allows for more intelligent indexing.

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9. It’s okay to fly blind, but you will end up with useless websites

If you don’t have a Google Analytics – or a similar product – installed on your website put it in right now. It’s free for crying out loud, and there are plenty of “how-to” tutorials that will help you get started with custom dashboards.

If something isn’t measured, then it can’t be improved. All website initiatives need to be monitored so that teams can set goals and obtain them over any given period.

useless websites

10. Forms just need to work for useless websites

Every time we take action on a form we have to justify the cost is worth giving up our information. If the call-to-action isn’t clear, concise, and exactly what I’m looking for, I will not find value in the form’s offer. Show your viewers the value of clicking that CTA.

Even the form’s button text has importance. It seems the default form button is “submit,” but the data supports that using submit will drive your click-through-rates into the ground. Try to use something that is actionable and clearly defines where the user will be headed.

7 Website Optimization Mistakes that Kill Lead Conversions

Are you making these mistakes with your website optimization? Are these mistakes limiting your website conversions to leads?

7 Website Optimization Mistakes that Kill Lead Conversions

11. I don’t need to showcase my services; my sales guys will do that

A website acts as your storefront; it’s the first place people go to gather information. If prospects can’t find out exactly what you do or sell they will be dissuaded from engaging. Without a dedicated product or service page, your website lacks transparency, and you’ll watch conversions drop.

Drive leads by creating a thorough service page. Stick to these five must-haves:

  • Quick overview – what are you selling?
  • Define the target market
  • Clearly layout prices
  • Customer testimonials
  • Relevant form / CTA
web clients

12. The design is all there is to it

Most web designers are creative types. They know how to produce beautiful designs and manipulate pages into masterpieces. What they often miss is a balance between design, content, and on-page SEO. A sleek page with minimum word count might look nice. However, it will never tell your audience what they need to know, and it certainly won’t generate any organic traffic.

Useless websites become abundantly clear when they are weak on content strategy.

13. If we build it they will come and you will have useless websites

There seems to be a perception that viewers will magically find your web presence. While some businesses get lucky, most will realize that hard work needs to be put into driving traffic. That is where search engine optimization comes in. There are dozens of indicators that crawl bots take into consideration when deciding which pages should appear on search results.

SEO is a hard nut to crack. Algorithms are always changing, and no search engine works the same. If you need help boosting search rankings, Quicksprout has compiled the best SEO guide I’ve ever seen.

Website Design Template Paks

Templates include draft blueprint, goals template, budgets, timelines, and more.

14. Complex features keep users on-page longer

Think about the prospect’s ease of use; that intricate calculator or custom plan creation tool may have been designed with the right intent in mind.

The problem is, a user has no one to hold their hand and walk through a complicated feature, so simplicity is your friend and context is key. It’s hard enough for some people to make a purchasing decision so don’t convolute the process with distracting elements or too many options.

Stick to the basics by eliminating unnecessary features. Nothing more, nothing less.

Context and Content

15. We don’t sell online; we don’t need security is a useless website

Even the biggest websites get knocked down sometimes and turn into useless websites. That doesn’t make SSL security – or any other security measures for that matter – irrelevant.

When a visitor arrives at a website and sees HTTPS in the URL, there is no doubt about the reputableness of your business. Additionally, SSL security is another SEO indicator that Google’s algorithm takes into account when ranking pages.

16. Customer testimonials aren’t effective. People don’t take the word of a stranger

A customer testimonial acts as social proof and validation that your company does what you claim to do. Nobody likes to be the victim of a scam, that is why review sites, like Yelp, are so popular. By reducing skepticism, you will inevitably reduce the time it takes to buy.

Take a look at Matrix Marketing Group’s latest example: customer testimonial.

Fast and Painless – Website Redesign

The Result? A beautiful, fast, SEO tuned and mobile friendly website.

17. Pop-ups don’t work

Yes, you will piss some people off, and yes there is plenty of pop-up blocking software on the market, although for some reason pop-ups have legs. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably seen at least one pop-up lead form appear on the page. These are by far our most successfully converting forms on Matrix’s website.

They appear in the visitor’s line of sight and are often simpler than the average offer. If you are looking for a way to create pop-ups, Sumo has developed a great advertising tool that integrates with most CMS and email platforms.

FREE MARKETING ASSESSMENT

Get your comprehensive analysis of how your digital marketing programs are performing.

There you have it, I have created a list of the top 17 useless websites that will, in reality, lead to useless websites. If your site needs some work, this list might feel like a lot to process.

That’s okay, start with the items that come easiest to you and outsource the rest. There are countless web design critiques to make, and nobody has the perfect site.

Wrap up on useless websites

What would you add to this list? Web design is always pivoting and evolving to meet user preferences, often times the line between right and wrong is blurred. I would enjoy reading your opinion, so leave a comment below.

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