My Website’s Broken: When Bad User Experience Hurts Lead Generation

why your website isn't generating leadsAs we all know (or at least really should know) at this point, your website is vital to the health of your organization. It’s your online home. And if you are spending time and money trying to reach the right audience, a busted website can really put up roadblocks.

Ok, so let’s talk about why your website’s broken. Last time I covered how a website that is far too content heavy can really hurt lead generation.

Let me introduce our second scenario: your website has a terrible user experience.

Generally speaking, this is the ease of usability for your audience to navigate their way through your website. There are a few specific examples I’d like to cover. I see these issues frequently and they all deserve a little more explanation as to why it’s hurting your website (and your lead generation).

Your website directs people away from your site.

This happens more regularly than you’d think. If your website has a separate store, blog, or portal that isn’t within your site and makes me click away, we have a problem.

You may have broken up your site development or added your blog later. I understand the reason behind having a website and separate store or blog; if I am leaving your site, though, chances are I’m not going to come back. My focus has been redirected and now you are asking me to take more steps to find my way back to your homepage.

This scenario will likely result in having a high bounce rate as your audience navigates from your homepage off your site (and chances are on to the competitions’ site).

How can you fix this? Think about how and where you want to direct visitors. Are they a prospect? Turn them into a lead. Are they already a lead? Get them to convert again and move them further down the funnel. Are they already a customer? Then maybe it’s OK take them to your store to buy more stuff.

You make it difficult to find what I’m looking for.

“The information I need is in here somewhere, I’ll keep searching until I find it!” Said no one, ever. Your website should be wide, not deep. Below is a graphical representation of a wide sitemap versus a deep sitemap.

Deep website navigation vs. wide website navigation

By making information easy to find and navigate to, your audience will be more likely to spend additional time on your site and become a lead.

If you need a little guidance, follow the 3-click rule (disclaimer: this is a rule of thumb and not necessarily set in stone). It should take no more than three clicks for your audience to get to the information they are looking for. How can you tell if your website is hard to navigate? Again, look at the bounce rate. If people are leaving soon after coming to your website, chances are you have a problem.

You aren’t targeting the right audience.

Your website should speak directly to your target audience (aka buyer persona). As I mentioned in my last post, it needs to speak to your audience in terms of content, but also in terms of user experience. Don’t build a site for Dr. Dre’s audience if you’re trying to sell enterprise software. A website designed to a for gen-y female audience is very different from a site which is reaching oil and gas executives.

Every business should have their own approach unique to the industry and audience they are reaching. Define that visually and according to your site navigation and you’ll improve your website’s ability to generate leads.

Your site uses antiquated technology.

Flash. Videos. Voice overs. Dancing babies. Oh my! When well executed these can still work - unless your visitor is on a smartphone (a growing number). But chances are they are making your site look out-of-date and ruining the user experience. Or even worse, I am distracted by your site and have given up and left.

It’s important to keep up with website technology (though not necessarily every trend). If your website looks like a clunker from the 90s or is over stimulating (so many colors and videos), your audience is going to get confused and leave your site. What you don’t want to do is distract your audience from getting to the information they are looking for, make a purchase, or reach out to you. Make it easy for them to get to the point without the barrier.

Your website should be connecting your business with its audience, by making it easy for them to get to the right information and right actions it will be a lead generating machine. When poor navigation, confusing layouts, or bad technology get in the way, your numbers will be negatively affected.

By focusing on your buyer personas and keeping current, your site will stay competitive within your industry and be an asset to your organization.

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