In online marketing, your website should be your top priority for generating leads online, yet for many contractors and small businesses, their website may actually be hindering them from attracting new customers. Here are seven common website roadblocks I have seen recently in my website reviews that could potentially stop you from bringing in new business.
1. Music, flash or auto-video. If you have music, flash or auto-video incorporated into your home page, please, for the love of God, remove it immediately! The music and flash is an outdated web marketing strategy that today, is super-annoying. Video can be used on your Home page, but set it so your visitor makes the choice when (if at all) he wants to view it. Don’t force it down his throat.
2. Unfriendly navigation bars. Your navigation bar should be easy to understand and uncluttered. Position it along the left side or top (never on the right) and use common terms – web navigational terms that your customers would expect to find.
Often contractors want to use different terms because they don’t want to be like everyone else. But here’s the thing: Your website isn’t FOR YOU. It’s for your potential customers. Save the fancy terminology for some other marketing tactic, and use terms and phrases that consumers expect to find when they look up a contractor.
3. CAPTCHA on the contact form. While I understand the theory behind using CAPTCHA(to prevent spam), let me ask you this: How much spam do you get from your contact form? If it is so much, perhaps you have a bigger problem with your website than what Captcha will prevent (and talk to your web designer).
If you feel compelled to use a Captcha on your Contact Form, choose a simple one. Remember, the harder you make it for potential customers to contact you, the less leads you’ll generate. People will give up.
4. Too much required information on the Contact Us Form. Your contact us form should be short, sweet and to the point. Don’t ask for too much information. If you do, many prospects will walk away – never completing the form. Only require their name and phone number. Certainly, you can ask for additional information and many will fill that out, too, but don’t make it a requirement.
5. Repeating pop-ups. I am all for building your email list, and pop-ups are great lead generation tool. But you must have them set up properly. If you have a pop-up for every page the person visits, they will back right out of your website and never return.
6. Hard to read websites. Select a font size and style that is easy to read on screen. Make sure your website is also mobile-ready, as the vast majority of consumers are accessing websites using their smartphones and tablet devices.
7. Requirements to gain access to more information. This, to me, is the most annoying website roadblock of all, and I’ve most often seen it being used by Realtors and new home builders.
The website is setup to only allow you to view basic information, such as basic property information. However, if you want any detailed information about the property, you must provide your name, your phone number, and other information such as the area/development you are looking into and promise your first-born (just kidding about the last one). This is just crazy (and stupid), particularly when there are competitors that will graciously allow you to view information about the property while you can remain anonymous.
Finally, the best way to generate more leads online is to approach your website as an ongoing activity. Website cannot be once-and-done. Today, search engines reward websites that provide visitors with fresh, original and relevant content on a regular basis. This is why blogging is such a critical aspect of your online marketing strategy.
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