You need to fix your website. Sorry, but it’s true. Websites are finicky things. They require constant care, yet you ignore your website at your own peril. It is estimated that 75% of customers judge a company based on its website, and that’s before they ever talk to you. If your website is outdated, ugly or does not function properly, it could be costing you money. Here are five website fixes to perform now.
1. Be mobile friendly. Considering that studies show the majority of internet users surf the web on a mobile device, your website must be optimized to run on smartphones and tablets. This is called responsive design. Basically, your website “responds” to the size of the user’s screen. If your website is only built to be viewed on a computer monitor, mobile users will have difficulty navigating your website. To test this, grab your cell phone and visit your website. Is the navigation (Home, About, Contact, etc.) really small across the top of your screen? If so, it’s probably not responsive, which also means that it’s likely time for a website redesign.
2. Fix broken links. Go through your website and click on all of the links, buttons or calls to action. Do they all work? If you click on a link and are directed to a page that says 404 Error or it goes to some other unintended page, it should be corrected. In addition, be sure all of your social media accounts are linked on your website using the appropriate icons (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Click on the icons and confirm that the links go to your account pages, not just to a Facebook login page, for example. To help keep on top of minor issues, it’s a good idea to have a web-savvy staffer or your web developer perform monthly maintenance to fix links and other issues.
3. Get secure. About two years ago, Google Chrome (the top web browser used to surf the internet) implemented a policy that all websites have something called an SSL certificate or be flagged as “Not Secure.” Without getting too technical, the SSL certificate indicates that your site has a secure connection. Go to your website and look in the upper left corner of the URL bar where your address is. Does it say “http” or “https”? The desired address has the “https” to indicate a secure site. Do you see the words “Not Secure”? Then you don’t have an SSL certificate. Sites marked “Not Secure” serve as a warning to your customers and, frankly, makes your site look risky. Contact your website hosting company, which is the server where your site lives, commonly GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator, WP Engine or others. Some hosts include the SSL certificate for free or at a nominal cost. Your web developer can also do this for you and install the certificate.
4. Get up to date. Today’s modern websites generally have an edge-to-edge design with lots of photos and sparse text. If your website design has a box around it, not many photos and reads like a dictionary, it’s likely time to redesign your website. Outdated information, photos of former employees, blog posts or news items that haven’t been updated in years also indicate a neglected website, which casts a negative impression of your company.
5. Hyperlink your email address. If your email address is published on your website, you’re making yourself a prime target for spammers who can flood your inbox with unsavory offers and dangerous phishing emails that, when clicked, could damage your computer systems. Instead, create a contact form on your website that allows customers to send you a message. A dropdown on the form can direct emails to specific staffers. If you must have a list of emails on your site, hide them behind the word email that, when clicked, serves as a hyperlink to your email address.
I urge you to consider your website as your 24/7 salesperson on the internet who must deliver the latest information to potential customers. Take care of it. It’s that important.
Got a marketing question? I’d love to hear from you. Send me a note through my website’s contact form at: whatsyouravocado.com/contact.Stacie Zinn Roberts is an award-winning writer, marketing expert and founder of What’s Your Avocado? Marketing and Public Relations, Mount Vernon, Washington, which specializes in green industry marketing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org