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Is a poor website damaging your brand?

Does your online identity reflect who you are and what you do? Let's look at trust indicators, and why you need a site that really represents you.

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Michelle
Posted by Michelle
18 March 2019
   

Maybe you've gone through a rebrand and haven’t got around to updating your website yet. Maybe your site doesn't quite represent who you are now, but you only had a new one a year ago, so it's not on the to-do list. Or maybe your website looks different to your LinkedIn company page… which in turn looks different to your Facebook page…

There are loads of reasons why you might not feel ready to update your website, whether you know it needs doing but time, finances or resources mean it's not a priority, or maybe you just don't think it's that bad. But what do your customers think? And why should you prioritise it?

Analysing current performance 

Firstly, is it that bad? If it's niggling at you, then you probably know it needs work. If it's over two years old, it's likely you'll be looking at a new one – and it won't be performing well if you've not updated it in that time either.

There are ways of gathering data to see whether you're dealing with a poorly performing website. If you use Google Analytics, that's a sensible place to start. Is it performing better or worse than it used to? An optimised website that's regularly updated with fresh, keyword-rich content should consistently perform better on search engines, which means more organic visitors. And then when they arrive on your site, do they bounce straight off again? What's your conversion rate like, and is that going up or down?

Look at metrics like your domain authority and keyword visibility – there's lots of online tools to help you do this, some free, some not. How does that compare to the competition?

How about some qualitative research to go with those figures? What is the quality of your enquiries like? Is that better than it used to be?

User testing is a great way of making sure your site makes sense. You set a user an activity to complete and you get feedback on what their first impressions of the site are, a narration of how they navigate around the task you've set, and why they choose to take actions a certain way. It can really help clarify whether your user experience (UX) is a positive one.

The look and feel

Is your website using your current branding? Is your logo correct, are the fonts and colours right? Is the user going to see this style no matter where they are, both online and offline? If it's a no, this needs addressing urgently, as it can damage your marketing efforts if you're sending out a beautiful new brochure with a link back to your website… that looks nothing like that beautiful brochure.

Your calls to action (CTAs) need to be well worded, well designed and well placed. Think about your target market. What action do you want them to take? Are you providing enough of an incentive for them to do it?

Download our guide to creating an effective user experience

Instilling customer confidence

You can't assume that users trust you or your website. All you can do is put good indicators in place that encourage trust.

One such trust indicator is a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. This is back to basics, but many people online are used to looking for the https:// or that little padlock in the address bar to confirm that their connection is secure. If it's not, they quickly hit the back button.

A well-designed site is another trust indicator. If you've put time and money into it, people are more likely to assume you're for real. And are they expecting to see real customers experiencing your products or services, or is that stock imagery enough?

Add content to your site. If you have a news area, use it regularly! Avoiding errors is an absolute rule. Make sure your site is word perfect and has no broken links or 404s (page not found).

Social profiles should be linked on your website, the profile and header images should reflect the website, and they should be up-to-date. Social proof includes reviews, endorsements and independent testimonials, which also fill users with confidence – people see that someone's had a good experience and they want that too.

Meeting basic GDPR requirements is another trust signal. You need to show that you take data processing and privacy seriously.

Quick fixes

If you don't have any or all of that going on, it's possible you'll be putting customers off. You may not appear to be an active, credible business to fresh eyes that have never dealt with you before.

Not all of these recommendations mean you'll need a new website. Getting an SSL certificate for your site, for example, is a very simple job for your developer and won't cost the earth. Sorting profile images for social that complement your site is not difficult. Updating content and changing logos, team members and service offerings to reflect your current day-to-day operations may take time, but it's a worthwhile investment – and much quicker than starting over from scratch.

It's your reputation

Your website is how the world sees you, whether it actually represents you or not. It's your shop front. Your digital reputation. It doesn't matter to that new user whether you will actually provide an amazing product or service if they can't see the proof, or they can't navigate to the proof because it's hidden in the depths of your website. They'll just go. Put the best stuff in the window for all to see.

If you have any questions about anything we've discussed here, would like some more in-depth recommendations tailored to your own site, or are thinking of starting over with something new, just get in touch and we'll get right back to you.

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