Why Your Company Website is Costing You Business

By Mark Borkowski

The company website: For many executives, it’s considered an unnecessary business expense. It’s there because “everybody’s got one and we better have one, too.” These are websites that were created, launched, and largely neglected after that; a huge mistake.

The company website is now the single most important way for a prospective consumer to vet a company. People who need a product or service are deciding whether to do business with companies based solely on the impression they get from the websites. They are doing it on their own time, when you don’t even know it is happening.

Here’s a hypothetical situation. A satisfied client gives your company a rave review to a potential client looking for the same product or service. Trusting the person, the prospect decides he or she will check out your website before actually calling. Now, looking around at the site for a minute or two, they say to themselves, “Let’s keep looking.” And away they go.

“This type of scenario is far more common than one may think,” says Andy Bush, founder and principal of Bush Marketing, a leading web design and SEO agency in Toronto, Canada. “It is a huge problem for the company—and many CEOs don’t even know it.”

“A website, with the right strategy and execution, helps to generate and persuade prospects for the company. Conversely, a neglected or poorly executed website can drive those prospects straight to the competition.”

Bad Website = Bad Salesperson

If a website is poor in quality, if it is convoluted, difficult to figure out, and if the user experience is bad, the website will cost you a lot of business. Just like a salesperson that doesn’t know your product, dresses sloppily, shows up late for meetings, and doesn’t really care about the prospect—and lets it show.

User Experience is Everything

“The key term here is User Experience,” stresses Bush. “A website needs to be simple yet sophisticated. Everything on the website must serve a purpose. The site should identify the prospect’s need, offer solutions, explain why those solutions are the right ones, support them with testimonials or case studies, and then tell the visitor how to take action.”

While creating an effective, sales-oriented website requires carefully thought-through strategy, all modern websites have the following features:

– Mobile Responsiveness
– Optimization for Google
– Minimalist Design
– Professional Copywriting
– Brand Consistency
– Fast Load Times

Are You Mobile?

“The most recent and possibly most important requirement of modern websites is that they are mobile responsive, without question,” states Bush. “Roughly 65% of website visits come from mobile devices, including tablets and smart phones. If visitors can’t view your website properly on their device, they’ll simply move on.

“A website needs to be designed so as to fit all different screen sizes. That is what is meant by responsive. If a company executive isn’t sure whether their website is mobile responsive, they should find out and take action,” he continues.

Next Steps

As technology advances, so does the way a prospect finds information about a company. Typically, a website that is well-tended has a shelf life of about five years before it needs replacing or revamping. That is simply a factor of time moving on.

Knowing that and with the list of features common to effective modern websites, you can assess your site to see if it is worthy of your business. Remember, the purpose of the site is to prevent prospects searching any further and to contact you—not to drive them into the arms of your competition.

Once you’ve conscientiously assessed your company’s website, you may find yourself thinking, ‘Maybe it’s time we started taking this seriously’.

Mark Borkowski is president of Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions, a mid-market mergers & acquisition brokerage www.mercantilemergersacquisitions.com

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