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Does WWW mean, What’s Wrong with my Website?

By Carl Weiss

So many websites. So little space. With Google owning more than eighty percent of the search market and more than a quarter billion websites currently vying for position, is it any w
English: www,domain,internet,web,net
www,domain,internet,web,net (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
onder that so many small businesses are having difficulty gaining exposure online? What many people do not understand is not only is the web getting ever more crowded, but it has undergone a sea change in the past few years that has fundamentally changed the benchmarks that search engine spiders look for in order to determine who gets on page one. In last week’s blog, I explored the new face of search engine marketing and what website owners need to do in order to generate Page One results.

The problem is that being on Page One is not the end of the rainbow by any means. Ultimately the goal of any successful online marketing campaign is to generate new business in terms of leads and sales. Even if you rank number one on page one of Google under a high traffic keyword, this won’t necessarily make the cash register ring. Browsing habits and online expectations have changed over the past few years. The old adage of “Set it and forget it” where a business owner could create a static site and walk away for two to three years no longer applies. So if you absolutely positively need your site to turn clicks into cash, here are the points you need to address.

1. What’s the Ultimate Purpose of Your Website?

The answer varies from site to site. Some sites are designed to sell directly to a national or worldwide audience, while others are lead generation machines where prospects are directed to fill out a form or pick up the phone. In order to accomplish either of these goals, the first thing you need to understand is that if someone’s first encounter with you is vie the Internet then there are several givens that you need to address. In the first place, they don’t know you. In the second they don’t trust you. Last but not least, there are thousands of other firms like yours with which to do business, many of whom charge less than you. If you are looking to instill confidence and avoid a bidding war, you need to show prospects up front that you are better than the average bear. The best way to do this is via video. If your homepage does not contain both an introduction and testimonial video, then don’t complain if you aren’t bringing home the bacon.

2. How Have User "Likes" Changed in the Past Five Years?
English: A business ideally is continually see...
A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps marketers adjust offerings to meet customer needs. Source of diagram: here (see public domain declaration at top). Questions: write me at my Wikipedia talk page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It used to be that prospects would come to a site and click through four or five pages looking to glean a little bit of information that would tell them whether to do business with you or not. This is no longer the case. Far from checking out subsidiary pages, most prospects are reluctant to click below the fold on page one. Sad to say, but you have less than two minutes to dangle the bait, set the hook and reel in the fish. That being said, you need to have the following five elements appear above the fold: your phone number, your videos, your offer, your Google map and an auto-responder form.

If you sell more than one line, you need to create a separate but branded page for each line. If the prospect comes onto the site seeking apples, then everything from the text to the video to your offer needs to talk about apples. If they come onto the page seeking apples and you are talking oranges, they are not going to take the time to look for the link that says “Apples.” They are simply going to go back to the search engine and look for another site. The secret to designing successful organic search engine campaigns is that you need to look at the keyword as the question and the landing page as the answer. Another key to credibility is accountability. If your site contains neither a physical address nor a phone number, why should anyone trust you. For many consumers, the letters WWW stands for "Wild, Wild West," where no claim goes unjumped and there is no Captain James T. West to police the frontier town. Every day the public is inundated with stories about savvy cyber criminals whose only aim is to dupe an unwary consumers out of their cold, hard cash. If you want a cyber-shopper to trust you, meet them halfway. Prove to them that you’re for real. Even if you don’t want to field phone calls you can set up a Google Voice number and then choose to either call back or text a caller.

 The alternative is that if you fail to instill confidence in a customer, don’t gripe when they fail to purchase your goods and services.

 3. Are You Trying to Make it in This Brave New World with a Site That’s “Old School"?

Two phones with mobile internet capability dis...
Two phones with mobile internet capability displayed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Another thing that wastes cyberspace is to pretend that it’s 1999. Go to your homepage and take a look at the first thing that grabs a consumer's attention when they encounter your homepage. What’s the first thing they see? Is it a nebulous graphic that could very well be a stock photo? Is it some elaborate Flash banner that tells the consumer nothing about your business? Where is your offer? What is your USP and is it visible above the fold? When was the last time you updated your website? Where are your intro and testimonial videos? Do you have easily identifiable links to your blog and social networks?

All of these things are important to the buying public. The public isn’t interested in graphically charged websites that fail to tell them what they need to know in order to make a buying decision. They didn’t come to your site in order to be dazzled by your layout. What’s more important is to hit them right between the eyes with your message. In a nutshell, what’s visible above the fold needs to answer these simple questions: Who are you? How long have you been in this line of business? Why should I do business with you as opposed to anyone else? The rest is just window dressing.

4. Why Don’t Visitors Return to My Site?

Expressen - little relevant content above the ...
Expressen - little relevant content above the fold?
 (Photo credit: Beantin webbkommunikation)
There is another conundrum faced by website owners: a lack of repeat business. The reason that many people do not return to most websites is simply because there is no reason for them to return. If your website doesn’t change from week to week, why should a consumer make a return trip? They’ve already been there and done that. If you don’t publish a blog on a weekly basis and don’t distribute online newsletters at least once a month, what possible reason does a consumer have to revisit your site?

The bottom line when it comes to creating a dynamic and effective web presence is to be willing to accept the fact that if what you are doing isn’t working, then change the paradigm. The most successful online marketers are those who are willing to embrace change and who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and start working the claim in order to make the most of this interactive multimedia broadcast station we call the Internet.

If you would like to find more articles like this type in your key phrase in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on

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