Surviving the cut as a small business owner is challenging, both for brick and mortar businesses and online businesses. Around 96% of businesses fail by the ten-year mark. If you’ve noticed your failing site is not meeting your expectations, there is no reason you have to fall prey to these statistics. You can turn things around with a bit of hard work and savvy marketing. Don’t worry — no duct tape required.
You can fix your site without spending a fortune, too. In fact, you’ll likely be surprised at just how easy it is by following these tips.
1. Study Your Own Site
If your website is failing, the first thing you should do is study the statistics of your website and determine the problems with it:
- Pull up Google Analytics and see where traffic is coming from. Where and when are people bounding away from your site? Is anyone is stealing your bandwidth, such as hotlinking to images on your site?
- Review your online income models. If you host an ecommerce website, do you have a ton of people visiting, adding items to their carts and then abandoning them? Do you have no idea if that’s happening? Dig into this. That’s lost revenue. How can you improve your funnel or pages within your sales funnel to convert?
- Test the speed of your site. If a page takes too long to load, you may see visitors are bouncing away from your site out of frustration.
The first step to fixing a failing website is to have a good grasp of what is wrong.
2. Create Landing Pages and Test Them
If you send all of your incoming traffic to your home page, then it is impossible to track visitor response and the success of various marketing campaigns. Instead, utilize different landing pages with different target demographics:
- Create a specific call to action (CTA). Aim to convert the target audience from that marketing campaign with a creative call to action that applies to that audience.
- Use a service like Optimizely to conduct A/B testing. This tells you how your site visitors respond to everything from the wording of your CTA to the color of the button you use. Try different scenarios and find which ones work best for your site.
- Feature specific discounts or offers. Customize those discounts to the audience you are marketing to on that landing page.
- Optimization is key. Making sure your site is as fast as possible is a huge factor in determining if your audience will stay and/or ever come back.
By conducting some A/B testing on your landing pages, you’ll be able to decipher what tactics work best with your site visitors.
3. Get Outside Input
No matter how savvy you are at studying analytics, getting outside input can better help you see where your site is failing:
- Ask family and friends to go to your site and click through links. Ask for honest impressions of the site. Is anything difficult to navigate? How are the load times?
- Use GradeMyWebsite to find out what areas of your site need the most work. This free service will offer SEO tips to boost your search engine rankings.
- Hire people to help you improve your site. If you have a small budget, hire a consultant to help you fix any coding issues that are holding your site back in the search engines. Hire an SEO-trained blogger to help add valuable content.
While you can discern a lot by studying your own website, you’ll never be able to spot everything of concern. A second set of eyes is vital.
4. Build Trust With Your Audience
If your site is failing, it could be because your audience has lost confidence in you. In order to not only gain but to keep potential customers, you have to build trust. Intelligent people are more likely to trust others, and you attract intelligent readers by posting in-depth content:
- Post on a consistent schedule. If you post one article a month, make sure you post it on a reliable schedule and that it is high quality.
- Apologize for mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, publishes something that isn’t as well researched as you first thought, etc. The key difference in a site that readers trust and one they do not is whether or not you admit to those mistakes, apologize for them, and take steps to improve the error so it doesn’t occur in future.
- Finally, be the best at what you do. Whatever your niche, you need to know more than anyone else, look at it in a unique way, or have something to say that no one else does.
Creating a sense of trust with your readers is not an easy task. Typically, the people coming to your site don’t know you and thus will not start off trusting you. However, with consistency, they will start to rely on your expertise in your niche.
If you are worried your site is failing, following these fixes can help improve any problem areas on your site. Be patient, keep providing high-quality content, and eventually you should start to see a turnaround in your website stats.