A bad website design that is killing your business is a powerful hook! It should at least make you ask yourself the question.
But you may not think that you have a bad website design at all. Yours looks fa-bu-lous! It's got a really eye-catching image and tells your customer all about what you do. How could that possibly be wrong?
Many of the business owners we talk to complain that their website isn't generating the leads and enquiries they expect. But almost all of them fail to realise that they are suffering from bad website design
The clue is in the job title - a web designer’s specialty lies in the design of the website. Now, don’t get me wrong, the design is a critical element that provides the first WOW! when a human arrives at your site. However, a sexy website does not automatically mean it is successful at generating enquiries and customers.
In fact, a bad website design often results in no visitors and no enquiries. Read our real life examples...
1. A website design that doesn't help visitors to find you
Most web designers know very little, if anything, about making a website Google friendly. Today's trends focus on minimalist designs where the main event is often a captivating image. You've got to remember that the website's copy is part of the design. You need text that informs Google of the website's purpose.
- Google wants words not pictures - her bots only crawl code
- After the initial wow!, humans don’t want to think - they need answers put in front of them fast
A bunch of cool images just isn't enough! With no words for her bots to crawl and no SEO - the meta titles and meta descriptions on each of the pages that Google reads to get clues - it's hard for her to understand what your website is about. If she doesn't know what you do, she can’t send anyone who is searching for the answers you're providing. Your bad web design has just become a disaster.
An engineering company came to us with a website that wasn't getting any enquiries. After charging £500 for SEO, the website designers had used a Lazy SEO plugin and none of the pages had the right meta titles and descriptions for Google to understand what the company did. After Lollipop took the time to manually add the right information, the company have never been so busy.
A professional services company asked us to improve the quality and quantity of traffic to their website. First off they needed a mobile friendly, responsive website and then some keyword research and optimisation. After managing a careful transition from the old site to the new, within a few days of the site going live, he was receiving enquiries specifically related to the types of work that he had wanted to target.
A quick way to find out if Google truly understands your website is by using one of her free tools. Search Console will tell you which keywords she's showing you for.
2. A website design that doesn't help your ideal customer to choose you
Once someone lands on your website, the words they see must:
- Answer the question that your visitor typed into Google
- Tell them what to do next - find out more or BUY
- Make it simple for them to trust you so it is easier for them to choose you
A fire and security installer came to us with a website that had visitors but no enquiries. This situation was resolved by changing the language and wording on the service pages to answer the questions that their target customers were asking. Making these changes resulted in a marked increase in the number of site surveys being booked.
Your website is a tool to bring in more business. If you ignore Google and your target customer, you will end up with nothing - no visitors, no enquiries and no customers!
Can a bad website design come good?
Most business owners update their website with a new design every 3-5 years. In most cases they give the developer a few pointers about the look and feel but leave the bulk of the work to the 'expert' with the latest design and template trends. Then they let it stagnate until the next redesign years later. Ask yourself, what would happen if you left your sales team or other essential business process to stagnate for years? So why let your website rot?
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that a bad design which pulls in very few leads and customers will need to change sooner than that. However, if you don't measure the number of enquiries that you get and track whether they become customers, you will never know how successful the design is... or when to make some changes.
The truth is that an effective website design needs to continually evolve, driven by the way that visitors are interacting with the site.
If no one is monitoring those interactions, then you're going to end up with a permanently bad design and a website that is holding your business back. The first step is to make Google Analytics your friend! I know it's difficult to use but we have a training course if required. The information provided by Analytics is superb and will mean you're not guessing or putting all your trust in experts who may not understand how Google conducts herself...
Conclusion and what to do next!
The critical point is that, while your website may look beautiful if it's not helping the right people, your ideal customers, to FIND YOU and then trust you enough to want to CHOOSE YOU over the competition, it will fail!
In simple terms minimalist design looks lovely but Google needs words to understand who to show your website to. This post has provided lots of examples when a poorly executed design failed a business. Nice design is lovely but customers pay the bills!
Here's what you can do to see how well your website is working:
- Google's Search Console will tell you which keywords she's showing you for.
- Try a simple user test to highlight friction on your website
- Book a 121 training course on Google Analytics to learn the skills required to check whether your website is helping your business to grow.
And perhaps the best place to start is to download our eBook, which will take you through a six step process to check how well your website is doing. It's quick and easy to use. Give it a go and see how to improve your website.