Every website, in one way or another, is a recruiting website: You could be recruiting for job seekers, or consumers and shoppers, or for those seeking knowledge and information.
Organizations pour immense resources of time, effort, and money into their websites, because this is a digital world where the internet is now the main highway for every imaginable activity. But just like a physical highway, consumers choose stops along the way based on their first impressions, and if a website doesn’t impress them quickly, or repels them right away, they move on quickly.
You need to ask yourself, “How appealing is my website?” Then study the analytics to find out how much traffic your website generates and what the bounce rate is. Otherwise it’s likely that you’ll under-leverage and undervalue your website traffic.
Sarah Yanning, an independent web consultant, says, “The appearance of your website is crucial in driving traffic to it. It doesn’t have to be an amazing bells and whistles type of thing, but it should look like it was designed by experts, have easy-to-grasp information clearly displayed, and a coherent call-to-action button that engages the viewer immediately. Then with the use of Google analytics and other tools you can evaluate the traffic flow and abandons to start tweaking for maximum effect.”
Learn From Your Competition
Yanning continues: “One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to ignore or denigrate their competition’s website efforts. It’s the equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face. When you study a competitor’s site you get the benefit of all their research and work without having to spend a dime yourself. You see things that are clearly not working, so you can avoid them yourself. But more importantly, you’ll pick up bits and pieces of their strategy and process that would make a great contribution to your website — and these you adapt to your own needs without any costly R&D.”
Don’t Confuse Your Viewer
According to Jon Fenwick, creative director at Website Solutions Inc., “We often work with businesses that are so anxious to get their complete sales pitch across on one screen that they wind up defeating their own purpose by creating a crazy quilt of chaotic and confusing graphics that explain everything but tell nothing. And then they come to us wondering why their website’s abandon rate is so high! I try to teach each and every client that a simple and elegant landing page will draw in the viewer and encourage him or her to click to the next level, where the real call to action and/or marketing can begin.”
Flowers don’t stay fresh in a bowl of water forever. They turn brown and wilt, becoming unattractive. The same holds true for your website content. Don’t be satisfied to leave your content the same for months at a time — otherwise it too will turn brown and wilt, at least to your viewers who’ve grown tired of seeing the same old thing for such a long time.
Instead, keep your copy fresh and updated; be especially aware of any time-sensitive material you’ve included on your website. Nothing says “We don’t care” like a website with expired offers on it. You also need to make sure that your website is up-to-date with any industry certifications or compliance guidelines. For instance, when you prevent PCI compliance issues you can assure your customers that your website is safe and secure because you have kept up with industry safety changes.
Customers who are confused or are met with stale content or security issues are not likely to return to your website. If your competitors are getting certifications or displaying safety certificates or using a virtual shopping care that is better than yours, it’s time to take notice and get your website back in the game.
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