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6 Reasons Your Website is Ineffective (WCOC 2016 Workshop)


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Do you ever feel like your small business website is not working for you the way it should? Even if you made a substantial initial investment into your site, there may be issues that still need to be resolved before it can become an effective sales tool for you.

In this workshop, we will go over the most common reasons websites do not perform the way small business owners expect them to and what to do to fix it. Each issue that is presented will have an actionable item you can take with you to solve the problem. If you have not built your website yet, you will be given sound direction to make sure your website is built to perform.

Published in: Business
  • I will be giving this presentation at WordCamp Orange County on July 9th, 2016. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (714) 662-2203. My business name Real Time Web Marketing and I specialize in working with startups, micro & small businesses.
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6 Reasons Your Website is Ineffective (WCOC 2016 Workshop)

  1. 1. WordCamp OC, 2016 “6 Reasons Your Website is Ineffective” Mike “Judah” Baker Companion Articles
  2. 2. Getting to know you 
  3. 3. What we will cover today - 6 common reasons websites are ineffective: 1. Lack of Quality Content 2. Lack of Direction 3. Lack of Focus 4. Lack of Usability 5. Lack of Performance 6. Lack of Momentum
  4. 4. What we will cover today - • Focus more on general design principles (think of this as a 1000 foot flyover). • Give you some guidelines that will help identify potential problem areas • Give you some actions steps to take to fix problems • Feel free to ask questions – this is a workshop
  5. 5. The problem isn’t always what you think it is! Credit:
  6. 6. Are you solving the right problem? “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and WRONG.” (H.L. Mencken) • An ineffective website is more often than not a complex problem that requires more than one solution.
  7. 7. Are you solving the right problem? Real life example - • Client came to me to do some SEO work for him • Few visitors, no conversions (no contacts from site) • Web pages were not ranking for any keywords • Built the site so it wouldn’t look like anyone else’s
  8. 8. Was he solving the right problem? Is the problem here SEO related or something more?
  9. 9. Are you solving the right problem? • There were a whole lot of “something more’s” involved in fixing the problems he had. • We began by taking a look at his core business objectives, market, competitors and defined his target audience. • Then I applied the holistic design principles we are going to cover today.
  10. 10. Effectiveness begins w/ holistic design Holistic = All parts interconnected
  11. 11. Holistic web design teaches us: • Websites are more than just graphic design • If you don’t lead, they won’t act • You need a target to hit a bullseye • Your site must be useable to be useful • Focus on the customer, all else will follow
  12. 12. What does ineffective mean? • Site invisible in Google searches • Not enough visitors (traffic) • Visitors don’t stay & interact (bounce) • Visitors won’t take action (conversion)
  13. 13. Because it isn’t making you money (no ROI)! Why does it matter if your website is ineffective?
  14. 14. Reason #1: Lack of Quality Content
  15. 15. Why quality content matters - Google’s Directive “ … content should be unique, specific, & high quality.” Content in our context here = Written text on web pages
  16. 16. What quality content will do: • Builds trust & credibility • Let’s Google know what pages are about • Engages visitors (read, click, share) • Effectively “makes the sale” for you
  17. 17. Characteristics of poor content: • Hard to read (contrast, reading level) • Focuses on features not benefits • Not customer focused • Is cluttered, unorganized, or wordy
  18. 18. How cluttered, unorganized content feels
  19. 19. What it looks like on a web page
  20. 20. Delivering Quality Content: • Understand, writing for the web is different Presentation (people scan) Optimization (Problem #3) Relevance (both platform & audience) • 3 areas of concern
  21. 21. Presentation: • Organized, easy to find main points • Readable font, good contrast, size • Headings, images & white space • Free of spelling & grammatical errors • Make important points early
  22. 22. Relevance (platform & market): Writing a tweet is different from FB Post Use the platform that reaches your market • Platforms (Twitter, FaceBook, Blog, Web Page) Writing a blog is different from a web page • Each platform you write for will include a unique set of guidelines.
  23. 23. Relevance (platform & market): “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” (Google “10 Things We Know” #1) Problem Solving: Can you fix it for me? Benefits: What’s in it for me? Investment: How much will it cost? • Know what your visitors want most!
  24. 24. Writing better content - Don’t fear the publish button! Take a writing for SEO course (Yoast) Read: “Letting Go of the Words” (Redish) Use writing tools (Hemingway, Grammarly) Install Yoast SEO plugin
  25. 25. Reason #2: Lack of Direction
  26. 26. “Why isn’t anyone taking action on my website?” • Did you even give them any direction? 70% of small biz websites have NO call-to-action! ( • Do you have a clear set of goals?
  27. 27. Why direction matters “ Closed mouths don’t get fed!” (unknown) Is your website this passive?
  28. 28.  Direction (leading) = Calls-to-action Q: Other examples of conversions? How do we speak up? What are we asking them to do?  Click, buy, subscribe = Conversion
  29. 29. Good direction using CTA’s will: • Lead visitors to most profitable items • Help visitors find what they came for • Get visitors to click, watch, buy, etc. • Help decrease bounce rates
  30. 30. Learn about leading from your grocery store Q: What item do people come in for most? Q: Where do they put that item? Q: Why do they place that item there?
  31. 31. Grocery store marketing on your website • Don’t put your most valuable stuff up-front • Add impulse items (related items) • Don’t ever waste traffic (capture, track) • Make them want something they didn’t know they needed!
  32. 32. Key to effective CTA’s The right element for the job + A compelling message + A good offer = conversion What does a CTA element look like?
  33. 33. Elements to drive action Buttons w/ leading text Countdown Timers Exit-intent or opt-in pop-ups
  34. 34. Using emotional CTA blocks
  35. 35. Giving better direction - First, KNOW what you want people to do! Opt-in forms / pop-ups (Opt-in Monster) Track w/ analytics (monster insights plugin) Read: “Neuro Web Design” (S. Weinschenk) Install “WP Calls to Action” plugin
  36. 36. Reason #3: Lack of Focus
  37. 37. Google on getting more focused: • Identify your audience • Create valuable content • Organize your site structure
  38. 38. Focus affects your website in 2 ways • How well & where your web pages rank (SEO) • How well your website accomplishes mission > Wrong focus = Unwanted results in SERPs > Wrong focus = Confuses visitors, misses target
  39. 39. Keywords, density & SERPs, oh my! • Just enough SEO to be dangerous • Can’t talk about focus w/o some SEO
  40. 40. Keyword = “ A particular word or phrase that describes content of a web page.” (Technopedia) Density = “% of times a keyword appears on a web page compared to # of words. ” (para. Wikipedia) SERPs = “ Search Engine Results Pages – Page displayed in response to a query” (para. Wikipedia)
  41. 41. Getting focused with keywords • Each page needs primary keyword (e.g. plumber) • Enforce focus w/ related words (unclog drains) • Related phrases (how to fix stopped up sink) • Density: Yoast recommends 0.5% - 2.5% (up to 4.5%) • Write for people | Don’t pack | Be natural
  42. 42. Getting focused with content • Use images / graphics that reinforce your focus • Use keyword(s) in a few headlines (not all) • Write content w/ target market in mind • Use content as a progression to a CTA • Each page needs a theme (focus)
  43. 43. The 4 phases of focus • Focus needs both continuity & consistency • Focus takes research • Focus takes careful execution • Focus takes planning
  44. 44. Sharpening your focus - Define target market, Keyword research SEM Rush, Google Trends & KW Planner Learn more about SEO (Yoast, Rebecca Gill) Install: Yoast SEO, All-in-one SEO Read: “Search Engine Optimization” (K. Jones)
  45. 45. Reason #4: Lack of Usability Hint This is Not Usable!
  46. 46. How do people feel about your site? It matters more than you think!
  47. 47. Usability in a nutshell - • User experience (UX) – About how people feel when they use your website. • User Interface (UI) – The stuff people interact with on your website (content, forms, etc.). “A person of average (or even below average) ability can figure out how to use a thing … without it being more trouble than it’s worth” (Steve Krug on ‘usability’)
  48. 48. What visitors want in a website (function) • Is it intuitive, are my choices clear? • Is it easy to navigate? • Can I find what I am looking for? • Do things work like I expect them to? • Can I use it on my mobile device?
  49. 49. Google’s own goal for usability “We create intuitive, simple, and beautiful designs that delight our users.” “Focus on the user and all else will follow”
  50. 50. Designing for a better UX • Make use of conventions in design • Make use of user friendly layouts • People are more willing to trust and use what is familiar to them. • Logical groupings, intuitive, leading • Performance, mobile, & accessibility too!
  51. 51. A word about convention in design Conventions are “Sets of agreed, stipulated, or generally accepted standards, or norms.” (Wikipedia) What is this sign telling you to do? Conventions are immediately understandable to most people
  52. 52. Improving usability - Keep design user-centered and predictable Watch people test your site, get feedback Read: “Don’t Make Me Think” (Steve Krug) Use convention where appropriate Read: “Rocket Surgery Made Easy” (Krug)
  53. 53. Reason #5: Lack of Performance
  54. 54. Evaluating website performance - • How quickly do your web pages load (on desktop & mobile devices)? • Any broken links, images, missing elements? • Are there any errors (JavaScript or other)? • Do all your processes work well (checkout, form submit, user enrollment, etc.)?
  55. 55. Why we care about performance - • Google uses load speed as a ranking factor. • 65% leave slow loading websites! • Visitors won’t stick around long on poor performing websites. • Sites that aren’t optimized for mobile miss out on over 50% of potential traffic!
  56. 56. Non-developery, non-rebuildy things you can do to improve performance Upgrade hosting (managed WP hosting) • WP Plugin: “Broken Link Checker” Check for broken links (link-checkers) Stream video, don’t host it! • Online:
  57. 57. More non-developery, non-rebuildy things Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) • e.g., WP Smush plugin Optimize / compress images Use a caching plugin • WP Super Cache, WP Total Cache • Comet Cache, Simple Cache
  58. 58. Performance insights - Test your website right away - • Google PageSpeed Insights • (great!) • Pingdom ( Fix what you can, ask for help if you need it
  59. 59. Reason #6: Lack of Momentum
  60. 60. Has your website run out of momentum? It’s time to start promoting it!
  61. 61. What I mean by momentum - • Rising, not falling, position in SERPs • People are sharing your content • People are linking to your content • Acquiring new, unique visitors and maintaining a low bounce rate
  62. 62. What does Google mean by this: “Democracy works on the web.” (Google “10 Things We Know” #4) A: “Google search works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value.”
  63. 63. Sure ways to kill your momentum - • Being anti-social on the web • Not keeping your website content fresh • Not driving people to your site with offers & compelling content • Not doing all the other stuff we talked about today
  64. 64. Why social matters - Q: What do you do while out and waiting? “70% of U.S. Population now has at least one social profile … worldwide social presence expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2018.” ( That’s almost 60% that show some direct impact from using social media
  65. 65. Gaining momentum - Get social & be active online Blog often for fresh content, don’t forget to promote it! Guest blog, contribute to forums Collect leads, email specials & newsletters
  66. 66. About that client in the intro … Ranking for 230 + organic keywords Averages 20-30 unique visits a day Referrals right from site coming in
  67. 67. Make sure you are solving the right problem Look at your website holistically – don’t be myopic “Focus on the customer and the rest will follow.” – Love, Google Your take-a-ways today -
  68. 68. Mike “Judah” Baker Companion articles Thank you for coming today!