It’s been four years now since the GBW website has been live.
In that time I’ve learned a little bit about how people interact with small business websites.
I know your small business is unique. Every small business has something slightly different about it, but there are also things that are the same across just about every business.
I’m going to go through the reason I think visitors leave and have left the GBW website over the years. I think it can provide some insight into your website too. Give it a look and see if that’s the case.
I hope it helps.
Reason #1: You Don’t Tell Them Where To Go Next
We all read through our website content. Usually for small businesses, the owners are the ones that write the content so they know what’s on the site.
That’s great, but the problem is that we’re so immersed in our business that we take for granted the things we know that our customers don’t know.
I’m not saying that customers aren’t smart. They’re very smart and you have to think that way. But you also have to remember that you work in your business every day so you’ll know more.
This is why it’s good to have someone to read the pages on your site. Have them read a page and when they’re done ask them where they want to go next.
You’ll get three possible answers.
First, they’ll want to go to the page that you want them to go. That means you did a good job with your call to action.
Second, they’ll want to go to a page you didn’t expect. This gives you insight that you might need more content on the page or that you need to rework your website flow, which is the sales process your visitors take on your website.
Third, the person won’t know where to go next. This is the dangerous one. This is usually when people leave your site. It means you have to do a better job of intriguing them with the content on the page so they want to go to the next page, which might be the services page, the about page or the contact page.
Reason #2: They Don’t Find Answers
Your target customers go to websites looking for answers. Depending on where the person is in your sales cycle they’ll start their journey at a different page on your site.
We like to think that a blog post is at the very early stages of the sales cycle. Someone has a general question relating to the industry. They find the answer on the blog post and from there they can explore the website, learn about the company and what it offers and make their way through the sales process.
A customer also often lands on a company’s home page. This usually means they’re a little deeper into the sales process. They have an idea of what they want and what they’re looking for. But they still have questions.
Your task is to figure out the questions your customers want to know so you can make a sale.
And it’s not as hard as you think.
You’ve probably sold your services to customers in person. I would bet that nearly all of those people had questions before they said they were ready to buy.
These are the questions you have to include on your website. If your customers have questions in person you can bet they have questions when they’re looking on your website.
Many companies create a frequently asked questions page for questions, but you need to answer questions throughout your site.
The homepage answers:
Who you are and what you offer.
The about page answers:
Who you are and what you stand for.
The services page answers:
What you do and how that helps your customers with something.
It goes on from there and there is usually more than one question per page that needs answering.
Identify the questions your customers ask. Answer them on the appropriate pages on your site. For each page, prioritize the questions and make sure the most important is the easiest to find. That will keep visitors on your site.
Reason #3: They’re Confused
Like I mentioned earlier, sometimes as business owners we get too caught up in what we do. We start speaking our own language with all kinds of weird jargon and industry-speak. That can go over the heads of visitors and that’s not a good thing.
Sometimes visitors will come to your website, they’ll read your content and they’ll be confused. It might be the way you explain something or it might be that they’re not really sure what you can provide them.
I can’t tell you how many websites I go to that I really don’t know what the business offers. They speak vaguely and that confuses visitors and they end up leaving because they don’t really know why they came in the first place.
You have to be to the point with your website. Explain exactly what you do and provide in simple terms. I try to do that with GBW, but I’m always looking for ways to make it even clearer and easy to understand. I realize that people are busy. They don’t need me wasting their time trying to figure out what I’m saying.
Reason #4: They Don’t Trust You
It’s hard to earn a person’s trust. Some people are more willing to give people they just meet a chance, but if you start asking for things right away or if you present yourself in a way that isn’t comfortable then you’re going to push people away.
Design is also an important part of trust. Your design has to match the environment that your customer is most comfortable in. If your customers are just regular people with regular jobs they’re probably going to feel awkward if your site is fancy and upscale. But they may also feel uncomfortable if your site looks trashy and flashy with lots of spammy-looking images.
Look at your competitor website and look at other business websites that your customers use. Get a feel for the design they’re comfortable with and make your design similar so you can earn a customer’s trust.
You’ll also earn trust by showing your expertise and knowledge on subjects. You do this by answering common questions.
Outside of these things you’ll just have to earn trust over time with your reputation. Everything you do is being watched by your future customers. Make all decisions like you’re trying to keep someone’s trust.
Reason #5: Your Site Is Too Slow
This one surprises some people but people don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to site load times. I would place the quality of your host at the top of the list of things you need to take care of with your website.
A good host can make your site fast. There are some things with your website that factor in as well like the size of images and the way your developer sets up the code on your site.
Get a good host.
Get a good designer.
And get a good developer.
There is nothing more frustrating than getting your ideal customer to your website only to have them leave. Follow the steps above to make sure you’re keeping your visitors on your site. You’ll be getting more customers.
The other thing to remember is that you have to get the right people to your website. But we’ll save that for another post.