Your outdated website is repelling potential clients. Perfectly good leads (despite your unoptimized webpage) are magically stumbling onto your website, only to determine that you will not be a potential partner for them. Ouch – the sting of rejection.
An unorganized or outdated website is enough to push a prospect to your competition. Think about it; there are dozens of other options at your prospect’s fingertips. Your website might be their very first impression of your company. If your website is difficult to navigate, read, or understand, in less than 30 seconds your potential buyer can be evaluating another option.
While you might think that this is a no-brainer, I’ve seen so many B2B organizations devalue the impact of their own website. Some business owners might consider an optimized website a luxury rather than a commodity, but the numbers disagree. In fact, 81% of buyers will do research online before making a purchase and research shows that websites influence 97% of clients’ purchasing decisions. For many consumers, visiting a website is the first step to considering a new vendor. Consider your website a 24/7 virtual salesperson; are they equipped for the job?
From establishing your brand voice and building credibility to educating your consumer and overcoming objections, your website should be a heavy-lifter. Effective websites aren’t idle landing pages, collecting dust on Google’s bottom shelf. The best websites work for you by generating traffic, capturing leads, and establishing trust.
In this blog post, we’ll outline some of the common mistakes B2B SMB’s make on their websites that hurt their credibility. This isn’t the blog post for how to optimize your web presence, but how to evaluate the cracks (or gaping holes) in your existing website. If you know your website needs work but don’t know where to start, keep reading. While you may not have the resources for a full website rebuild this quarter, small changes can make a world of difference for the experience of your prospects. Let’s dive in.
3 Ways Your Outdated Website is Hurting Your SMB’s Credibility
Readability is the ease with which a reader can absorb information on your website. It includes both legibility, which is based on the arrangement of fonts and other design elements, as well as understandability, which is based on sentence length and word choice.
In my humble opinion, readability is one of the most overlooked aspects of SMB websites in the B2B space. In the age of DIY website design and a desire to save a few dollars, so many non-designers and non-writers are left in charge of creating a website. The result? This blog post.
It goes without saying that your audience must be made to read and understand your content. (Otherwise, what’s the point?) And yet, awkward spacing, bold fonts, brightly colored hyperlinks, and overcrowded paragraphs can distract a reader so much, they opt out before the first sentence.
The same goes for your copy. Not understanding what a reader finds valuable leaves them skimming through too much information. Not hiring an actual writer will likely result in run-on sentences and paragraphs fumbling to make a point. Poor readability even impacts your SEO performance. Increase readability, increase your website performance.
I recently stumbled upon a business’s website and right in the middle of the homepage was a company photo, circa 2005. The haircuts, outfits, and even poses pointed to simpler times at the turn of the century. My first thought was ‘Is this company still in business??’ This is the impact of outdated visuals.
On a similar excursion, I found a website of a company selling software….and featured on the company’s ‘About Us’ page was a stock image of birds in flight. Interesting choice.
Every single space on your website holds the opportunity to tell your story and resonate with your buyer. There’s no such thing as useless space or filler photos. Your audience will infer your company’s values, mission, brand, and voice through its visuals and ability to tell stories. If your photos don’t represent your business, they’re diluting your message.
Not Enough Information
Finally, a trend I’ve witnessed among B2B websites for SMBs is simply a lack of direction for their consumers. Whether it’s offering limited information or including only jargon-packed-one-liners, I’ll find myself asking ‘but what do you do?’. If a consumer can’t look through your website and know who you are, what you’re offering, and why it’s important, you’ve missed the mark.
Remember, your website is helping you to sell your service, often before your sales reps intervene. From this vantage, does your website actually include the collateral you need to pitch your product? Even the basics?
If not, it’s time to evaluate the purpose of your website and how you can best equip your prospects for the next step in the buying process. An effective website conveys your benefit while encouraging your buyer through the funnel. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to offer value for your prospects.
There’s a lot to consider when designing or refreshing your website, and we haven’t even gotten to things as important as UX and SEO optimization – that’s for another blog post. But don’t let the magnitude of the project keep you from starting. Small, intentional changes can make a huge difference in the experience of your buyer.
The quality of your web presence can make the difference between a disinterested prospect and a warm lead. When evaluating the opportunities on your website, keep your focus on the purpose of your presence: to be a resource for prospects and clients. From educating your prospects to offering solutions to common problems, your website is a platform that speaks for you. Make sure that your online voice is aligned with your mission.
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