Commonly Neglected Areas of Websites – an Action Plan for Improvement

If you’re going to have a website, you want it to be working for you, right? Producing results? There’s a number of places where websites can be improved for impact – and likewise, areas that are commonly neglected, and impact the traction you get from your site. Below are a list of the most common problem areas on websites.

We’ve created a step-by-step spreadsheet for you to evaluate these important items on your site and create an action plan! Click here to get it.

What Makes You Special Isn’t Clear

Your website needs to make it clear what you do, why you do it, for whom you do it, and why people should listen to you / buy from you / hire you >> and, what makes you different from your competition. You want to clearly articulate your value proposition and/or show how you uniquely solve visitors problems – and that value proposition needs to be made clear on the front page, on your about page, and woven into your other page text.

The action item:
Open your homepage and your about page. Is your value proposition front and center, clear, and written in such a way as to be attractive to customers? If not, it’s time for a rewrite and repositioning of the value proposition. Steal our ‘value propositions for websites’ script and the spreadsheet for the rest of this exercise here.

Poor Quality Content

Many websites on the internet suffer from poor quality content, for a few reasons. The first is that the person in charge of producing the website’s copy probably wasn’t very excited about having to do it, produced the copy without a lot of enthusiasm, and content was created without your business goals and strategy in mind. The other reason may be that, with the advent of content marketing, many businesses focus on churning out content for the sole purpose of improving their search engine rankings, with a focus on using the right keywords enough time. The problem with this approach is though: what happens when someone lands on your page – you can have the right keywords, but how are you going to convince someone to become a customer with drivel?

If your page offers nothing valuable to the visitor, they will simply click off of your website and move onto another. Because poor quality content offers little to no benefit to anyone – you waste your time or resources creating it, and you waste the time of whomever is on your site, trying to make sense of it. With poor quality content, you’re just presenting your audience with words on a screen, and that’s bad for your credibility, likeability and can repel future customers. Want to read more about what content wins for websites in 2017? Read this.

The action item:
Download our spreadsheet for this exercise, and list out all the pages and posts for your website. Evaluate each one: does it present enough information? Is it relevant to your customer? Does it engage, answer questions, provide value? How many words are on the page? (Download a word count extension for your browser to find out – the highest ranking content in google is at least 1,000 words long, because google cares about quality, and length and quality are related.)

The worksheet has conditional formatting, so as you fill it out it will highlight which pages need fixing and for what issues.

Unfocused Content

Perhaps you have a bunch of your content on your site – because you’ve heard all the advice about how important content marketing is – but the content that is there is unfocused – it doesn’t relate to important business initiatives or align with your business goals or public persona. A great rule of thumb is to ask: why is this relevant to my reader, and how does this serve my business goals to share it? Unfocused content confuses both your visitors and the search engines.

The action item:
Ask of each page on your list – Is the content relevant to my business goals? And then, is the content relevant to the reader? (Is there a reason they should care?) Then decide if the content should be reworked so that it does relate to goals, or if it should be deleted.

You Don’t Give Visitors Enough to Do

Every page, every post of your website should have a goal in mind, and serve that goal. You want to guide your potential customers / readers to take actions while visiting. The best websites are an interactive, not static spaces like a magazine. So don’t waste the space – use every page to encourage people to take an action that is in line with your business goals.

The action item:
Ask of each page on your list – Is there a clear action for the reader to take? If not, give the page an action.

Too Much Flash and Trash

The attention of your visitors is precious. People are busy, time is short, and you’ve successfully attracted them to your website: so don’t redivert their attention to other things once they’ve gotten there. This means, if a prominent feature of your site doesn’t guide visitors towards your main goals, get rid of it. So flashing banners, Pinterest widgets, ads, award badges, etc. all should go. If a feature doesn’t serve your audience or direct them towards the actions you want them to take, the feature is a distraction that is taking their attention away from what you want them to be doing / reading – time to remove it. (Not that social media feeds are terrible – as long as they’re at the bottom of the page. The key here is to not distract people with shiny flashy things in the middle of the page.)

The action item:
Ask of each page on your list – is there something on this page that could distract the reader from the clear action you want them to take / or the goal of the page? If so, remove it.

‘Field of Dreams’ Syndrome: If you build it, they will come

Ghosts appearing out of thin air after Kevin Costner builds them a baseball field to play in in the movie Field of Dreams. Note, ghosts rarely appear from thin air to visit a website just because you’ve built one.

Many, many websites suffer from what we like to call ‘field of dreams’ syndrome, after the Kevin Costner movie. The underlying belief when you have Field of Dreams syndrome is that if you build, it they will come. That all you have to do is build a website and suddenly people will be finding your business online organically, naturally, automatically. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. There are billions of websites now on the internet. If you want people to find yours, you need an inbound marketing strategy using social media, email, and perhaps ads. Your website also has to be optimized for viewing on mobile devices, be optimized for search engines, and have lengthy, meaty content in order to show up in Search Engine results. Website are the key element in your digital strategy, but the journey does not end once your site is live on the internet.

The action item:
So let’s take some preliminary action on spreading the information that is on each page. In the spreadsheet, list what phrase or keywords someone might google to find the information on that page. Then check to see those words or phrases are included on the page – and if not, add them in. Finally, think of some way you could further the reach of this page (appropriately). Could you share it on Linkedin? Via email to your colleagues or potential customers? On twitter?

We hope this is useful for you in helping to clean up some of the neglected areas of your website and streamline your website to be a lean, mean, goal oriented machine. Have other thoughts about website neglect? Tell us about it in the comments.


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