Would you buy an 80 grand Mercedes and fill the petrol tank with Coca Cola? Would you buy a new house and camp out in the backyard in a tent? No? Then why would you spend money directing traffic to a website that people can’t view on mobile and still contains content that was written in 1984?

I get regular requests from clients, old and new, wanting to increase traffic to their website and improve their search results on google. These clients are more than happy to throw buckets of money at ‘SEO’ and various Google campaigns, because their brother’s friend’s son’s girlfriend told them that’s the best way to get more sales.

But they don’t understand why my first suggestion is to refresh their tired old website that uses a logo designed by a blind 4-year-old armed with a Crayola and content that was written while they waited for the 5.15pm train on Wynyard station 9 years ago.

It is possibly the largest waste of money I’ve ever experienced in the marketing world. Read on to find out why.

Getting people to your website is only half the battle

So, you’ve found someone who has used the latest tips and tricks to magically get your website on the first page of Google. They’ve even spent extra time to get your little dot on the Google map so that people can see where your business is. Great!

When your potential customers do a Google search and see your business name in the top search results, they click and are directed to your website. Google Guru’s job is done.

This is where it all goes south

Your customer was out shopping when they searched for you on Google, and they’re using their smartphone to browse the web. They click on your excellent Google search result, and are presented with either:

  1. Your website takes 12 minutes to load the flash intro from 1998 that you paid a small fortune for, and after 36 seconds they’ve hit the back button and selected the next search result down the Google page.
  1. A website with 36 useless menus that isn’t mobile responsive and has a text size of 5 pixels on a mobile screen. They persevere on their smartphone and try enlarging the page, then get sick of the horizontal scroll and tiny menu items that don’t respond to their fat fingers, and after 1 minute they hit the back button and select the next search result down the Google page.
  1. A website that is magically responsive, but has images taken on an iPhone that don’t fit the header section correctly, buttons that may look good on the desktop website but when converted to a mobile site take up the whole screen and have hyphenated text, and the afore mentioned content that may have sounded good in 1984 when fluoro leg warmers were in fashion, but now just sounds all ‘salesy’ and infers they’re a complete moron. They spend 2 minutes scrolling down the never-ending homepage that asks them 12 times to BUY NOW but doesn’t tell them what they are buying, before they hit the back button and select the next search result down the Google page.

Even if they were at home and searching for your business on their desktop computer, your badly designed website with a video as the main content on the homepage or pictures of your office as the most enticing content are not going to convert this visitor into a sale.

First impressions last

Would you turn up to a business meeting in your pyjamas? It’s not a great first impression, is it?

For a lot of your customers coming in from a paid or unpaid Google search, this is the first time they’re “meeting” you. If they’re presented with an old, shabby website that you ‘had a go at doing yourself’, you’re presenting your business as a half-assed sort of shindig that might get back to their customer emails by 2019 (this potential customer would have called, but your phone number is buried somewhere between the 42 paragraphs of ‘about our company’ that no one has ever read and the blurry pictures you ripped off a Google search).

The customer journey is important

When people come to your website, they don’t want to have to search for vital info, such as your contact details or location.

These days, they have experienced so many wonderfully designed websites, that when people find themselves playing detective on a terrible website, it doesn’t take them long to give up and look to your competitors for answers.

The customer journey is important, which means the content they’re presented with, and the order it’s presented in, makes a difference.

A well-designed website, with customer focussed content is an experience. Your customers should arrive at your homepage and begin a pleasurable journey that has them end up exactly where they need to be.

Your menu structure should be easy to use and contain only relevant pages, content should be focussed, short and informative, your contact details easily accessible, and the whole event should be wrapped up in imagery that feels good, colours that reflect your brand and design that shows your product in its best possible light.

A good website will perform well on its own

It’s not the only SEO solution, but a website with keyword focused content will get you better, long term search results than your current website with minimal content and lots of iPhone pictures on the homepage. Professionally written, keyword rich content not only improves your websites ranking, but it’s working double time as when your customer arrives at your new website, they’re reading your content and it’s improving their customer experience.

Design really is everything

It’s simple –  people prefer things that are pretty. We’ve pointed out in previous blog posts that fluro green and purple are not a good match, and blurry images of your product are not going to convince people that you’re the best person for the job.

White space, well-defined sections and thought out imagery really do make all the difference to a potential customer. Humans are, at the end of the day, fickle creatures, and if your website makes them feel good, chances are they’re going to read on. So, it goes without saying that if your website makes them squint their eyes and recoil in fear… well, you get the idea.

In conclusion

Well, here we are at the end, where I’m extremely happy to see you! Clearly, if you’ve made it this far, the content was engaging and relevant and I didn’t make you fall asleep. See, content is important!