13 Signs your Online Presence Sucks

If you’re wondering whether your website needs an update or whether you need a bit of constructive feedback, this post if for you. While every business is different, as is every target audience, there are a few blanket rules that apply to almost all industries. If you disagree with something I’ve said, I’d like to know why and what your experience has been. Leave a comment below and we’ll have a discussion.

Otherwise, enjoy. I hope you get something out of it.

Reason 1: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

If your site hasn’t been updated in 2 years, it probably sucks. I’m sorry. In the digital world things change fast and if you risk waiting until your website looks out of date (a reflection of your company and of the way you practice business), you’ve probably lost out on a bunch of leads or sales. Just think – in 2 years, tablets have exploded, mobile purchases have far overtaken desktop and laptop sales, responsive websites have gone mainstream, hundreds of new social networks have been born, Pinterest has taken the spotlight as the fastest growing site in history when it comes to members. So…it’s probably time to think about a revamp. Update your website.

Reason 2: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

Your users have to press Ctrl + to read your content. Small text is not sexy. It’s frustrating and painful and it’s not cool. I’m not saying your font has to be size 72, but a good 16 is readable by all (see Smashing Magazine’s font size guide).

Reason 3: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

You can’t find anything wrong with it. Yup, that’s a problem. Just for a few minutes pretend to be your customer. Fill out all your online forms, search for a product via your on-site search or via the navigation. If you really can’t find anything wrong, you probably don’t know what you’re doing. There is no such thing as a website that cannot be improved in some way. That’s what user experience and conversion rate optimisation testing are all about. Constant tweaking. Learning. Changing. Making the journey better. A website can always be improved. If you need help figuring out how, speak to us about conversion rate optimisation.

Reason 4: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

Someone Google’s your business name and you do not show up near the top of the first page of Google. Or worse, bad things show up –bad reviews, pictures of places you shouldn’t be or things you shouldn’t be doing, poor public feedback, a bad newspaper review… Clean it up. See Lifehacker’s guide for more information on tidying up your online presence.

Reason 5: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

Your homepage doesn’t make it clear what your business is about. It’s like having a real-life shop sign that says ‘Vegetables Washing Machines Services’. Who is going to venture into your store unless they’re desperate? Make sure your value proposition and what you do are obvious the moment a user lands on your website.

Reason 6: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

You are a social recluse. Believe it or not, people WANT to like your business. Why? Mostly because it makes it easier for them to stay on top of whatever you are doing without having to go to your website, but also because they like to stay in the know. People don’t like to feel they’re missing out on something. This will probably be especially true of your current customers. Help them stay in the loop by making it easy for them to like you or to find you elsewhere online. Remember also that one person’s cup of tea may not be another’s. You may find that half your clients keep up with things on LinkedIn while the other half prefer Facebook and Google’s own increasingly popular Google+.

Reason 7: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

Your website looks like something from the 1990s. Okay, so that’s only er…20 years ago but, that’s also the beginning of the internet age which means it’s actually about 200 years ago! Plus, back then websites looked like badly formatted word documents. It’s okay if a high school kid made your site, but if you mean business (and you do if you’re reading this don’t you?) do yourself a favour and get a real digital agency to put a grown up site together.

Reason 8: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

You’ve got a website and a Facebook page and that’s about it. Today and probably tomorrow as well as for the rest of 2013 at the very least, your online presence and how far-reaching it is, is largely down to the content marketing you do. If you’re not present in enough places, you need to change that. Sign up for additional networks, create online portfolios, create a YouTube channel, register on sites like Vizify, About.me, Flavours.me etc.

Reason 9: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

Music or a video starts playing the moment your homepage opens. I’ve referenced this in another post as well just because it’s one of the most horrendous things a business can subject its users to. Please give people the choice to play or not play your sound bites. Don’t’ guide them down YOUR path, let them choose their own path – most of the time they came to your website for a reason, not to be given a reason. Nothing says ‘exit’ faster than instant noise, especially if your user is browsing at work.

Reason 10: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

You’re getting no traffic. This probably means you don’t know what SEO is or even worse, you’re doing it all wrong. There are some simple things you can do to increase traffic to your website fast including: linkbuilding, on-page seo and PPC advertising campaigns. Also, don’t forget to check for errors – do all of your pages load? Have you got a warning in your Google webmaster tools? Is your website still ranking? Make sure you have not been penalised by the latest Google algorithm update (here’s a good place to stay on top of search ranking updates)

Reason 11: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

You’re getting traffic but no sales. This is a big warning sign that the traffic you’re getting may not be relevant. Make sure any PPC campaign advertisements are targeted to the correct location and use relevant keywords. Also, be sure that your referring sites are industry or topic relevant. Take a look at how long your visitors are spending on your site. If your content isn’t working for them, it’ll probably be a very low number.

Reason 12: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

Your site is slow to load. Google doesn’t like this. Users don’t like this. It’s easy enough to check your page speed – either via Google’s Page Speed extension (if you’re using Chrome) or using any one of a number of similar extensions. Personally, I like Pingdom.

Reason 13: Your Online Presence Sucks if…

Your website isn’t mobile friendly. At the moment you might still get away with a site that isn’t responsive/tablet-friendly, but if your site doesn’t adjust to suit a mobile, you’re in trouble. This is especially true for ecommerce sites. You’ll see what I mean if you use Amazon’s app versus browsing the non-mobile version of amazon’s site on your mobile. I can guarantee that you are far more likely to buy on the mobile version/app than you are on the online storefront. The scary thing: most people are still not optimising for mobile-viewing. Don’t wait to be the last.

Now what?

So, you’ve either learned that your website needs a few updates or you’ve established that it needs a real upgrade/redesign. If you’d like a bit more help get in touch with us. Xanthos specialise in ecommerce web design as well as web development, creative website design and digital marketing. Contact us to find out more.