A Bad Website is like a Grumpy Salesperson: 9 Ways Your Website Could be Sabotaging Business Growth
Not sure if your website is contributing to your company’s growth goals? Consider your own experiences conducting online searches.
You land on a website that appears outdated, amateurish, unprofessional, fails to show value for customers, contains spelling or grammatical errors in the content, or appears neglected.
People draw some assumptions about a company from its website, and sometimes those assumptions are not good.
When a website is outdated, neglected, or lacking a professional edge, people form opinions:
- This company must be incompetent
- This company must not be in business anymore
- This company doesn’t elicit trust
- This company is wasting my time
Then they click out of the website and resume scanning other search results.
In today’s highly competitive digital marketplaces, an outdated website or a website that doesn’t immediately offer value for customers is not only failing to generate leads; it’s disrupting growth and hurting the organization’s reputation.
What a poorly performing website does do is drive business directly to your competitors.
Research shows that it takes just 50 milliseconds for potential customers who visit your website to form an opinion about your business. That’s right, you get 1/20th of a second to make a first impression. That first impression will determine whether visitors stick around and explore your products and services, or leave to check out other search results that include your competitors’ websites.
The consequences of an ineffective or outdated website are many and ruthless. Here are some of those consequences:
1. People get the impression you’re out of business
An outdated or neglected website is like hanging a ‘Closed for Business’ sign on the door.
When potential customers land on a website that hasn’t been updated in recent history, they immediately question whether or not the company still exists. A neglected website that lacks updated content will turn visitors away and cost your business dearly in lost revenues.
2. Your credibility is diminished
You may have the best products and services and the most qualified, knowledgeable, seasoned staff in your market, but if your website is lacking, no one will know. Your website is integral to gaining new customers and growing your business unless it’s hurting your credibility.
If your website doesn’t include timely, informative content that engages potential customers or if it contains errors or outdated information, visitors will question your organization’s competence.
3. The quality of your goods or services is called into question
Prospective customers judge your business’s ability to meet their needs through your website. When they get the impression that you haven’t invested any resources in your website for months or even years, why would they consider giving you their business? The decision to request more information, schedule an appointment or give you a call is based on the impression they get from your website.
New visitors may also make the assumption that if your website is neglected, you probably don’t invest much in the people, procedures, or methods necessary to deliver quality products or services. If your website fails to give prospective customers a positive impression of your company’s ability to provide value, they are not going to risk trusting you with their business.
5. People assume you simply don’t care
Has it been a long time since your website was created and launched? Maybe enough time has passed since then that your content does not reflect current information or lacks contemporary visual appeal.
When your website appears neglected, outdated, or just plain old, it sends a message to potential customers. That message is:
- You’re indifferent to customers’ expectations
- You don’t have the most current solutions to their problem
- You’re indifferent to other areas of your business
• . You don’t care enough to make an impression that earns trust
When a website appears neglected, most people waste no time searching for other companies that offer what they need.
6. Stakeholders are embarrassed
Do you or staff members avoid referring people to your website? If it’s old, outdated or neglected, this is what happens. Telling people you’ll be launching a new website soon does nothing to increase leads or performance now.
When employees or management cringe every time they’re asked for your web address, it’s because they know the website fails to showcase the company’s true capabilities and experience.
7. Competitors look terrific
A bad website makes your competition even more appealing to shoppers. When a visitor lands on your website and does not immediately establish your company as a trustworthy or credible contender for their business, they’re going back to Google to search for your competitors’ websites. When they come across other websites that look better, offer better information, and establish trust, you just lost a potential customer to your competition.
Check out your biggest competitors’ websites. If they provide more up-to-date information that answers readers’ questions, and if they present this information in a more appealing format, you might as well be spoon feeding potential leads directly to the competition.
7. The organization appears obsolete
People want to do business with companies that appear innovative, professional, and customer-centric. A high value is placed on websites that give the impression that the business is on top of the latest trends and developments in its industry. Websites that include a well-maintained, engaging and informative blog produce 67% more leads than those that don’t.
If your business meets all the criteria, but your website doesn’t reflect that fact, you have a serious disconnect that is costing you valuable leads and hindering growth. Potential customers will assume your company is out of touch and look for more contemporary sources for the products or services they need. Think of your website as your company’s most important source of validation for convincing target audiences that your business is the most qualified to earn their trust and meet their needs.
8. Reliability is lacking and potential customers are confused
There is no excuse for retaining outdated information on your company website unless your goal is to frustrate customers and aggravate employees.
If your website contains outdated Information relating to your address, phone numbers, email addresses, team members, products, services, etc., how reliable will people think your business will be?
A business website must provide current, factual information and resources that serve customers and staff.
Websites that continue to list former employees or fail to list new ones do a real disservice to their company’s credibility. Such practices can impact employee morale by making staffers feel undervalued and unappreciated. Customers who request information on outdated or expired coupons, products, special offers, and services or show up at an outdated address they got from your website, you’ve blown any chance of providing a good customer experience.
9. Your Google ranking is so low your business isn’t visible in online searches
Google search results are the bread and butter of online visibility among target audiences. Google is continuously working to improve the quality of search results to produce the
best websites and resources to meet the needs of searchers. Keeping your websites ranking up requires constant content updates and refinements that will help improve the quality of your website’s search results. Unless your website’s content keeps pace with Google algorithms for search results, you’re invisible to target audiences
Some significant ranking factors that affect old websites include:
#1 – Lacking mobile-friendliness. Websites that are not mobile-friendly are penalized with lower rankings.
#2 – Lacking fresh content. Adding fresh content to your website consistently helps boost Google rankings. A blog is a great way to use new content to boost ranking.
There are more than 200 ranking factors involved in Google search results.
Websites that adhere to current ranking practices routinely are most likely to achieve higher ranking and therefore better visibility in searches. Websites that do not adhere to current ranking practices find their ranking and traffic failing over time.
In addition to these 9 ways your old, outdated or neglected website could be hurting your business, there are other less obvious problems such as slow website speeds, poor user experience, security vulnerabilities, sales inefficiencies, and other shortcomings that lead to multiple missed opportunities and lagging growth.
How to tell if your website is too old
Here are some other factors that can tell you if your website needs updating or replacing:
Outdated Website Design Elements
- It uses Flash
- It is not mobile friendly
- Flashy, garish, cluttered page backgrounds
- Annoying animated text
- Auto-play videos
- Background music
- Misaligned images
- Small font sizes
- Multiple font colors
- Fancy or hard-to-read fonts
- Inconsistent font types
- Huge uncompressed image files
- Distracting image borders
- Slideshows with too many images
- Excessive use of stock photography
Outdated Website Content Factors
- Low word counts on key pages
- Long paragraphs of text
- Excessive keyword stuffing
- No recent work samples
- An incorrect address, phone numbers, email addresses
- Services or products no longer available
- Former employees still listed
- New employees not listed
- Excessive use of stock photography
- Outdated images
- Doesn’t answer common questions
- Expired coupons or specials
- Old or neglected blog/news section
- Broken links to or from the website
- Pixelated or blurry images
- Inability to update easily