Website Health Check 101

We’ve had a lot of enquires lately from website owners who are receiving plenty of traffic to their websites, but little in the way of sales or leads. There’s been so many I felt it would be a good topic for this month’s article.

The goal of any business website is to convert traffic or visitors into some sort of action whether that be to generate sales, leads, subscriptions, advertising, newsletter sign-ups, and so forth. The general wisdom is that the more traffic you receive, the more conversions you should achieve. That’s not always the case and here are just some of the reasons why this could be happening.

Does Your Website Convey Trust?

Offline we judge a business by it’s outward appearance – whether that be the location, storefront or premises or the appearance of it’s employees. These factors help us determine whether we feel we can trust that business enough to hand our cash over to them. Online one of the first ways we judge a business is by the look or design of their website. We look for “pointers” such as:

  • A professional looking logo;
  • A clean, well designed website;
  • Navigation that makes it easy for us to move around the site; and
  • Consistent brand identity throughout the site.

You can often get too close to a design or may be unintentionally focusing on a design that you like rather than one that suits your customers. For this reason it’s a good idea to take a step back and get some independent feedback on the design of your site. Focus on trust and credibility asking if the user would do business with you based on the site design.

Is There a Face To Your Business?

Again your website is the face of your business online and the more prospects feel they know you, the more comfortable they will be doing business with you. With this in mind it is important you tell your prospects about your business and the people behind it. I always recommend incorporating an About Us page that provides information about your business including history, strengths, testimonials and information on the key people behind the business.

It’s also important to provide contact details – at a minimum email, phone and postal information. If you are a shop front, I also highly recommend providing maps of your locations, opening hours and any other relevant information.

Are You Using An Appropriate Domain Name and Email Address?

If you are an Australian business targeting the Australian market, the best possible domain name to use is one ending in This signifies you are an Australian commercial entity. If you are targeting an international audience you may want to consider a .com domain – although bear in mind .com is generally used by US companies as well as international ones.

Your email address should use your domain name. For example if your domain name is your email address should be I see far too many businesses using an Internet Service Provider (ISP) email address such as There are many reasons why this is not recommended but the main are (a) you are promoting your ISP and not you, and (b) the email address is not transportable — if you change ISP’s you will have to change your email address, something you don’t have to do if you use your own domain name.

Domain names are inexpensive these days so it really pays to choose one that accurately represents your business.

Are Your Products and Services Professionally Photographed?

I see far too many websites that use poor photography to showcase their wares. Your products and services are what your business is all about so they should be enticing your prospects to do business with you. They should look professional, be the right resolution and display colours accurately. In a store you can pick products up for a closer look, so if you are selling products online make sure your prospects can enlarge the photo for a closer look and even view the product in different colours if applicable.

If you are unable to take professional looking photographs yourself it’s highly advisable to invest in a professional photographer who will ensure your products and services are showcased at their best.

Are You Asking For The Sale?

Online you need to guide people through your site encouraging them to take a desired action. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use Call To Actions (CTA’s). Call To Actions are words and/or graphics telling your visitors what to do next. Examples of these include:

  • Order Now
  • Buy Now
  • Add To Cart
  • Checkout
  • Contact Us
  • Subscribe

As well as providing relevant information about your offerings make sure you guide your visitors to take the desired action by implementing strong, enticing CTA’s.

Do You Provide Clear Shipping and Returns Policies?

If you are running an e-commerce website it’s vital that you make your prospects feel as comfortable as possible when giving you their credit card details. For this reason clear, easy to find shipping and returns policies go a long way to make people feel comfortable doing business with you.

You should also consider making it easy for customers to return or exchange items easily. One of the big drawbacks to buying online is not being able to see and “test drive” the product prior to purchase. Time and time again I’ve seen sites double their sales by being flexible with their returns and exchanges.

Are You Targeting The Right Keywords?

Just because your website is receiving lots of visitors, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right visitors. A poorly researched keyword strategy could mean that you are targeting a market that is not looking for what you are selling.

I always recommend reviewing your keyword strategy on a regular basis to make sure you are focusing on the right keywords and are not missing any vital ones.

The above issues are just some of the major stumbling blocks that could be stopping your website from converting visitors into customers. If this is happening to your website it’s worthwhile reviewing the health of your site with an eye to the issues addressed here. It might also be a good idea to get an independent review of your website – it’s amazing how a few tweaks can make such a difference to your bottom line.

Don’t Make Them Think

You’ve got about 3 seconds to capture your prospect’s attention. That’s it.

In that time they have to work out what your site is about and what’s in it for them. The more complicated your message the more difficult it is for them to work it out – and the easier it is for them to hit the back button.

A few tips:

  • Design each page to have one main objective. Make it big, make it bold.
  • Keep your navigation labels (Services, Contact Us etc) simple and self explanatory. This is probably a little outdated these days (well I hope so) but don’t use obscure  images in place of text. We call that mystery meat navigation.
  • Make it easy for your prospects by making sure clickable links look like clickable links. Online, an underlined word signifies a link. If it’s not a link don’t underline it.

There’s enough competition out there without putting your prospects off before they’ve had a chance to become your customer.

How Not to Treat Prospective Customers

I recently decided to take the ClickTracks Hosted free 14 day trial. Imagine my surprise when at one of the sign up screens I’m told it’s a 61 day trial. Wow that’s even better, enough time for me to really figure it out and enough time for them to really hook me in.

After sign up I received my first “invoice” which again stated I had a 61 day free trial. So off I went trialing it.

To cut a long story short, as I’m known to ramble, after 14 days I receive the thanks for trying our software, to continue using it you’ll need to pay email. So much for 61 days!

I decided to email them querying the dates and whether I was entitled to the 61 days as my invoice stated. I also suggested that hooking me in for that long makes my continuing all that more guaranteed.

3 or 4 days later I got a email saying the 61 days was an error and it’s actually 14 days. At least they thanked me for bringing it to their attention LOL.

Now ok it was a mistake, but where I come from if you make an offer which for some reason is incorrect you must honor that offer. With the internet being global I guess the same laws don’t apply. The laws of customer service do and for me as much as I like the program it’s left me feeling a bit pissed off. How hard would it have been to say we were wrong and we’ll honor what we told you. What would it have cost them? And I guarantee I would have been hooked after using it for 61 days.

Right now I think I’m gonna keep looking around.