Here at Click & Repeat, we often get clients saying they need a new website – their current one just isn’t working for them. Sometimes it’s true… they have an old, outdated site and the easiest fix is to scrap it and start again with a completely new build.
But sometimes, their website just needs some TLC or a few tweaks.
If you have doubts about how well your website is working, this one’s for you. Today I’m going to explore where your website woes lie, and what you can do about them.
Troubleshooting: Is your website working?
First, you’ll want to do a website audit on your current site. For each page, ask yourself these questions:
- Who will visit this page?
- How will they get here?
- What do I want them to do next?
If you can’t answer these questions, visitors may be getting lost and confused! And confused people don’t usually stick around too long. Once you have the answers clear in your mind, start checking your site for these common problems:
1. Missing (or Ineffective) Calls to Action (CTA’s)
A CTA is a button or link that moves your visitor onto the next step in their journey towards their ultimate goal (buying from you!). Check that you actually have CTA’s on each page and that they all work, are clear to find and explicitly state what you’d like your visitor to do next.
2. Provides a poor user experience
If your site isn’t easy to navigate, people can’t find what they’re looking for. If menus are hard to find or read, and the design is messy or confusing people won’t hang around to struggle. Make sure your web pages, especially your home page, follow common conventions and the design is clear and uncluttered. That often means choosing not to use cute labels for things like your contact page (aka no “bark at me!”) or services pages. We want clients to immediately be able to find what they’re looking for!
3. Doesn’t work on mobile devices
More and more people are spending their online time using mobile devices. According to Statistica, approximately half of all web traffic worldwide is via mobile! Always check that your website works properly on mobile phones and tablets. You want to make sure your site’s design, layout and menus all look good even on a small screen!
4. The website makes your business look unprofessional (or just gives clients the wrong idea!)
A website reflects the business it’s promoting. If it looks unprofessional, then the implication is that the business is too. Again, you’ll be turning visitors away, not just from your site, but potentially also from your business in the future. We don’t expect the website for the dollar store to look the same as a the website for an upscale home goods retailer — think about how the design matches (or doesn’t!) your expectations for those businesses, and then consider what your website may be implying about your business!
5. The information is out of date
Out of date info is not only frustrating, it can lead the visitor to wonder if your business is still up and running. If you do nothing else, keeping the information on your site up-to-date is critical!
In fact, this is why we always include a documentation page on the websites we build with ‘how to’ videos embedded, to show our clients how to make the updates they’ll need to do most often.
6. The forms don’t work
If you’re not getting people signing up to classes or contacting you, the first thing to do is check your contact forms work. It’s an easy problem to overlook – how often do you fill in one of your own contact forms? Probably almost never! So go ahead and tests those if you find you’re having a slow month — I’ve been surprised how often this seems to be an issue for small businesses.
7. The copy doesn’t sell your services or answer clients’ questions.
Of course, even the best design can sell your services by itself. Make sure your website’s copy is also working for you. As a rule, phrase your copy to be ‘all about them’ – your client needs to be the star of the show. And remember, outcomes trump methods. Most owners want to know you’re effective first, and how you train second.
Include proof of your skills! Social proof, or things like testimonials, before and after videos and blog case studies, will all go a long way to helping prospective clients trust you can do what you say you can… AKA fix their problem for them.
Troubleshooting: Your Website is working… but you’re not getting any traffic
And sometimes the problem isn’t the website at all! Sometimes it’s the lack of traffic that’s the issue. A website can’t work for you if no-one is visiting it.
If you’ve ticked all the boxes on the points above, the next thing to look at is how much traffic your site is getting.
There are 6 ways for a potential client to find your website – are they working for you? Check through the following list and see which ones you have covered, which are missing, and which you can improve upon. Remember, your site can’t convert visitors to clients if it doesn’t get visitors!
1. Direct traffic
Direct traffic is when someone sees your website address somewhere (usually offline) and then types it directly into their browser.
Do you have any ‘hard copy’ advertising in place? Things like flyers, business cards, or print adverts in local papers? These days it’s not expensive to create business cards or flyers to leave at your local pet stores and veterinary offices.
2. Organic search
Almost everyone, at some time or another, has searched for a business, product or service online – a ‘Google search’. You can take advantage of this by ensuring your site is Search Engine Optimized (SEO) for your local area so you come up when someone types ‘dog trainers near me.’
3. Email newsletter links
Do you send out a regular email newsletter? If so, be sure to always include links to your site. Not just to your service pages, but to blog posts and news or events updates.
(Want to know how to write effective newsletters? Just click here.)
4. Referral links from other websites
If you ever do any work or events for outside organizations or businesses, make sure to ask them to link to your website in their marketing material! Not only does it expose your website to a new audience, it’s also good for your SEO.
5. Paid advertising
By paid advertising I mean things such as Google Adwords and Facebook ads. Any type of paid advertising will include links to your website. Paid ads can be a good way to grow your traffic — and is often one of the quickest ways to increase the number of visitors to your site.
6. Social media
Social media is a big area where people fail to include links – we spend a huge amount of time and effort creating posts but then forget what they’re supposed to do! Try to include a CTA on all your posts – and often, that CTA should point followers back to your website. The whole idea of social media for businesses is to drive traffic back to your website where strangers can be converted to clients.
You can find out more about each of these strategies here. Once you up your game in these areas you’ll see an increase in traffic – and a corresponding increase in clients – which is probably why you invested in a website in the first place, and will help get your website working for you!