Entrepreneur Magazine has recently asked its Facebook fans about their biggest headaches when it comes to managing a website. Here are the most common responses from business owners and a few tips from PDR on how to resolve these issues.
Finding time to manage and update the website, create new content, update online inventory, learn HTML tricks or WordPress is a tough challenge. The truth is, as a business owner, you have more important things to do. You should be out networking, meeting with clients or giving interviews to media – not sitting at your computer trying to figure out how to upload a photo to your website.
If your website requires frequent updating or other maintenance, we recommend hiring someone to do the job in-house or outsource it to your web designer/online marketing expert. Remember, all the updates you failed to implement because of the lack of time? This could adversely affect your business and give your competitors an advantage.
Not understanding your target audience
Who are the people who buy your products or services? What motivates them to buy? What catches their eye? These are the things you need to know in order to attract the right prospects. How do you answer these questions? Research, research and research!
If you have a fairly established business, start with profiling your current customers. Collect all the demographic information you can, such as gender, age, location, education level, as well as their needs and purchasing intentions. There are a few ways to do it from observing to surveying. After you have collected basic data, combine it to create your customer profiles. This will help you to better understand who your customers are and what motivates each customer profile to purchase. Incorporate elements within your website that communicate a solution to each customer profile’s needs or wants.
Getting traffic and managing SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
Similar to the physical world, where an office/store location might be the key to your success, high position in the web search results can help your business get noticed. If you struggle with getting the right people to visit your website, you have two options:
Online marketing involves search engine optimization (SEO), PPC advertising and many other tactics. Optimizing your website for the right keywords will help bring quality leads to your website; these are people who are already looking for products and services similar to yours. However, online marketing requires dedication and a great deal of your time. Unlike print ads or promotional materials, online campaigns need to be continuously maintained and adjusted. Consider hiring a pro to do it for you.
Offline marketing: let people know that you have a website by including your business name and the site’s URL on all of your business’ marketing materials. This could be your business cards, brochures, invoices, product packaging, receipts, menus, coffee mugs, t-shirts, even company vehicles.
Getting interaction and engagement from the users
Having people visit your website is half the job; the second half is getting them to take an action. If you want more interaction and engagement from website users, first decide what kind of engagement you are looking for. Some of the examples include:
- Purchasing your products online
- Commenting, sharing or otherwise interacting with your blog
- Leaving product reviews or testimonials
- Using the chat function or calling you, etc.
Once you set your goal, answer these questions to make sure your website is optimized for engagement:
- Are there clear calls to action throughout the website asking visitors to engage in the way you’d like them to?
- Are there convenient means for visitors to engage (think social sharing buttons, comment section, submission forms, etc.)?
- Does everything work properly? May be you are not getting any comments on your blog because the comment plugin is broken.
- Is there a motivation for people to take an action? Experiment with a reward system by offering a discount or other reward for completing a certain action.
Deciding on the look, feel, wording and layout of the website
Sometimes, the abundance of options makes it even harder to figure out what you want your website to look like. Consider this before settling on a particular style:
- Think about your business and what makes you different from your competitors. Convey this unique selling proposition throughout the website.
- Think about your customers. Who are they? What do they want? Make sure they’ll be able to understand the language you are using and easily find what they are looking for.
- Keep it simple. Don’t make customers jump through hoops to make a purchase or find out more about your business.
- Look at other websites in your industry. Use them as a base model and aim to make your website stand out.
- Trust your web designer: he or she will know how to make your website attractive yet functional.
- Limit the number of decision makers: the more people are involved in choosing the look of the site, the harder it is to come to an agreement.
Finding a reliable web designer
As a business owner, you need to find a web designer who understands your vision, knows your needs, meets deadlines, does quality work and is invested in your success (and all of it on a tight budget). And if no one in your circle of friends and relatives can give you a good referral, you end up shooting in the dark. We’ve recently published a post with tips for choosing a good web designer, so feel free to use them!
Resisting the urge to overload website with info
Content is good: it helps search engines determine what a specific page on your website is about and whether it is relevant for a specific search query. With that being said, your website’s content needs to be relevant, properly formatted and placed in the right spots. More content is not always good as it may confuse the customer and discourage them from purchasing.
Here are some tips to help you decide which content is necessary:
- Product/service description is a good place to get into details, especially if you don’t accept returns.
- Diversify types of content: include a video or infographic for visual learners and text for readers.
- An “about us” page is definitely not the place to be vague. Rather than using generic phrases, write a concise, yet detailed history of your company and feature staff profiles to help build credibility.
- Introduce a dynamic section of a website (like a blog) to share additional content with your website visitors.
- Create a FAQ page to answer various questions your website visitors might have.
These were just the most common difficulties business owners have come across while managing a website. There are many other troubles you may encounter from security/hosting issues to plugin updates that throw off the entire website’s formatting. If you find that managing, updating and marketing your website leaves you with no time to actually run your business, let us know. We’ll be happy to help out with advice or take this load off of your shoulders, so that you can get back to what’s important.