Saturday, April 28, 2012

Epic Website Fail

For this post, let's look at an epic website marketing fail:

Flash website fail.


Open this website, and then come back and read the rest of this blog post. The website took a 63 seconds to load on my machine and my internet is usually pretty fast. On the web, where even patient people have A.D.D., that is about 60 seconds too long. The bounce rates on this website must be really high (close to 100%). In that minute, most people are probably thinking 'I haven't waited this long for a website to load since the days of dial-up internet. This site must be really good'. But, if its on this blog...

It could use some work. The load time is the first issue. Here are some others:

  • After the load screen, you are presented with a bunch of numbers and its difficult to know what to do
  • Then the music starts...
  • The homepage contains a lengthy history lesson
  • About us is a picture of a tradeshow booth with a bunch of servers/technology
  • There is a section about horses and Equestrian (it's an IT security company)
  • Products page is a very difficult to read networking diagram
  • On the contact us section you cannot click on or copy the email address
  • There is a timestamp to show when they updated the site. Some pages date back to 2009


Here are the top 5 tips to ensure your website does not end up on Epic Marketing Fails:

1. Don't make a flash website
Flash sites can look great. I've seen some beautifully designed flash websites. The problem with them is usability. If your site doesn't load in under 5 seconds, you are losing visitors. If you are losing visitors, you are losing customers and money. Not to mention all of the iPhone and iPad visitors that are now gone.

2. Design your site for your visitors, not you
There is a fantastic story behind every business, but people are not coming to your website for that - they could care less. They are coming to your website to figure out how they can solve their problems, and are trying to decide if you are the right person to help them do that. Your homepage should clearly tell them what problems you solve, and point them to other pages that help them make their decision.

3. Keep it updated
People want to know that they are looking at recent information. Having at least one section of your website (a Twitter feed is a good one) that is constantly updated at least gives the sense that you care about your website and the people coming to it. If you are not updating your site on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, remove any timestamps that show when it was last updated.

4. Make it easy for people to get in contact with you
Your website should make it easy for people to engage with you. Don't make them search your contact information that is buried on one page. If possible, have chat functionality where people can reach a live person at any time. If you have a CRM system, use a form so you can track exactly where your leads are coming from. If you can't support chat or a form, at the very least make your email address hyperlinked so it automatically opens someone's email application.
5. Create a lead generation engine
Websites are no longer one way vehicles to get your information across. With CRM systems like Salesforce and marketing automation like Marketo, you can transform your site to start generating leads for your business. Offer your prospects something interesting of value, and in turn get their contact information to start a relationship with them. Giving people information is great, but getting theirs in return is even better. That way you can help them along their buying cycle and accelerate their purchase. Not to mention making your business look good and establishing your company as a thought leader in your field.


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