Your Website Is A Waste Of Money – Here’s How To Fix That
Alright, yes, the title of this article may seem a little inflammatory – and a very strange thing for a digital agency to say – but in certain circumstances, it’s absolutely true.
We’re all about honesty at Odin – so here’s a quick rundown of exactly why your website might be a total waste of your time and money.
Think about what your website is, in a functional sense. If you imagine it as a flyer on a wall – like something you’ve pinned up at the local community board, in shop windows, or even posted through letterboxes on the occasional promotional run…
You aren’t getting anywhere near the return you should be.
That’s because, while a website is one of the single most powerful marketing tools you can have in the digital age, its success is dependent on how you use it. In the real world, a simple flyer with a couple of pictures, a phone number, and a few words about quality work can never be as powerful as a full storefront and active sales staff.
That’s just common sense, isn’t it? Of course, for local trade services (for example) you’re unlikely to have a fully operational store on the high street where customers can come in, speak to a salesperson, see sample work, and close a deal. That’s outside of the means (and needs, frankly) of most.
But there’s nothing stopping you from turning your website into the digital version of such a storefront. In fact, that’s exactly what you should do – if you want your site to be more than a simple waste of cash.
How to maximise financial return on your website
We’re going to get a little technical, and use a bit of marketing jargon, here – but bear with us.
One of the first things to keep in mind when it comes to your site’s money-making performance is statistics. Yes – boring old statistics. Sorry!
On the simplest level, you want to keep an eye on your traffic levels and conversion rates. What are conversion rates? That’s the number of people who end up either contacting you (picking up the phone or filling in a form, for example) or making a purchase after they visit your site.
So if 1,000 people visit your site and 10 make a purchase, you’re sitting at a Conversion Rate of 1%.
You can even split this, so you keep an eye on multiple conversion rates. Let’s say your site has two major functions: bringing you leads (people interested in hearing more/talking about your services) and sales (closed deals).
While out of 1,000 visitors, if you landed 10 purchases for a 1% sales conversion rate, you might have also been contacted by 80 people wanting to know more. That’s an 8% lead conversion rate.
Two different types of customer – and two very important, and unique, goals.
When you track these statistics, you gain the power to gauge how well your website is performing against these goals. Armed with that knowledge, you can actually go about making the small improvements that bring those rates higher and offer you a greater return on investment. Simple!
But if you don’t pay attention – if you treat your site like nothing more than a digital flyer stuck to a filthy old wall at the nearest supermarket – your money is going to waste every single time you renew your hosting costs.
So the first point is: make friends with statistics.
Next on the agenda is user experience. Remember when we spoke about the difference between a single-page flyer and a fully operational storefront? That’s what turns a bog-standard, useless website into a sales-generating business asset.
To start with, think of the differences in experience between picking up a flyer, and speaking with a sales rep in a store. The first – the flyer – is a totally passive experience. Unless the flyer is exceptionally written or gives an offer so irresistible you’d be a fool to pass it up, there’s little chance for your business to engage the prospect in a conversation.
Your website doesn’t have to be that way.
Technology is advanced enough that you can design websites with all kinds of astoundingly fancy mechanics – and they now offer a whole range of ways to engage with visitors as if they had just walked into a store in the real world.
Think of a combination of the following:
- Multiple pages on site that deal with specific customer needs
- Strong promotional writing
- Questions and answer sections
- Offer-based landing pages
- Automatic messenger/customer service bots
- Automated quote generators
- Stylish portfolio sections
- Instant online checkout/deposit payments
- Downloadable lead magnets
- Email marketing lists
You don’t have to use everything listed there, but it’s an example of what you can use to turn your website into a fully interactive experience for visitors.
To maximise the money made as a direct result of your website, treating it like a flyer simply isn’t good enough. We’re far beyond the days of people being satisfied with “this is what we do and here’s our number.”
Instead, take the storefront approach: engage, converse, entertain, showcase, provide value, and answer questions. Sell.
A Word of Warning
Now you might have just looked at that list of things above and thought “I don’t know what any of that is – and if I did, I don’t know how to make it work on my site.”
That’s fine. You’re probably not a web designer or experienced marketer. That’s why you look to the professionals for help!
And so there’s another tip we have to stress when it comes to getting the most return from your website:
Beware of Rogues.
Just like anyone else who’s on the lookout for professional help, you need to keep your wits about you. How many times have you had a customer come to you for help after some unscrupulous character has left them in the lurch with unfinished or shoddy work? After they’ve run off with the money, too, right?
It’s that age-old story everyone knows. People pick the cheapest quote – usually from someone who talks a good game but has absolutely no clue what they’re doing – and a couple of months down the line they’re staring at you from the TV on an episode of Rogue Traders.
And as a responsible business owner, you’re shouting at the telly to tell them that this nightmare could have been avoided by paying for quality work in the first place. It’s frustrating – and we share in that frustration too.
So do be aware: the same is true of your website.
If you pick the cheap guy down the road that does websites as a hobby in his spare time, chances are you’re chucking money to the wind.
Why is that? Think back over the content of this entire article. That cheap guy is likely geared up to build you a digital flyer – usually thrown together in a couple of hours using standard templates and bland, pre-packaged writing that does nothing to make your business stand out.
Look at the bullet list of confusing technical assets you just saw. Does this cheap guy have an understanding of marketing and how it ties to user experience? Can he run through that list and explain what each of those things does and whether your particular site could benefit from them?
Does he know how to track conversion rates, and how to help you continually refine and improve your site’s layout, visuals, and language, so your financial return is always improving?
Chances are he doesn’t have a clue about what converts people into customers. Sure, he can build a web page – but what you end up paying for is something that sits there and does nothing to help grow your business. That defeats the point and wastes your cash.
This type of thing is usually a “hit and run” kind of business – one low payment, a website produced, and the designer then takes the money and disappears from the picture entirely. If you want your site to be a true asset that continues to improve and produce real, measurable results for the life of your business, consider going with an agency that offers an ongoing service – monitoring, updating, tweaking, and staying by your side like a true partner.
That’s how your site transforms from a money-sucking waste of time to an essential revenue-generating tool that offers an incredible return on investment.
And if that sounds good, why not get in touch with us HERE to see what the all-knowing power of Odin could do for you.