High School Dating

Your Website’s like High-School Dating: Part 1

3 Common Mistakes People Make with Their Websites

I remember my high-school years. Going to Art & Design High School, in New York City, was an amazing opportunity. However, I came from a poor family. So my first year, I didn’t dress the very best. I looked like what I was—a poor kid from the barrios of Brooklyn, dressed for functionality and not much else. Not very attractive. However, in my second year, I got a job at Herman’s Men’s Clothing Store and I was in haberdashery (men’s clothing and fashion). I not only was earning money, but I would be able to buy my clothes at wholesale and had a teacher who taught me fashion. Well… it wasn’t long before I was looking GOOD! Plus, looking good gave me confidence, so I was able to communicate well—and I wasn’t shy about asking for the date. The end result was three wonderful years!

Your website is just like high-school dating and many website owners are suffering from the same issues they had in high school, because we just don’t know—YET—and so you muddle your way through, until you either crash and burn, or figure it out. The problem is, by the time you figure it out, it may be graduation time and you lost the opportunity.

So let’s cover these points and see if you can have a wonderful prom!

Mistake one: Looking good, but not asking for the date.

teen looking goodThis is very common. After all, in high school, when you wanted the girl (or boy), you would dress to impress. People would be attracted and say, “Wow! Look at (fill in the blank)!” But you were too shy to say anything. So you would smile and say something dumb like, “Wonderful weather. How about those Yankees? (I was in New York after all.)”

I’m here to tell you that looking good, but not having much to say, gets you nowhere. Many sites suffer from this problem. They create a good-looking website and add little to no content.

Now, some think it through and hire a professional content/copy writer, and have wonderful content. However, they have no way to capture the identity of the person who visited the site. There are no conversion forms, other than the contact page. This is the equivalent of not asking for the date; just dropping your phone number on the table, scribbled on a piece of paper and hoping he or she will pick it up and decide to call.

The number one goal of a website is NOT to make a sale; that’s the number two goal. The number one goal is to capture the identity of the visitor. Why? Rarely does anyone buy anything on the first visit. They are typically doing their homework. However, they leave and forget. You have to maintain the conversation so that they get to know you (courting or wooing), so that when they are ready they move to the next step—dating. IF you don’t have a way to capture the identity of visitors, you only have a brochure website. Brochure websites not only don’t ask for the sale (believing people will WANT to buy just because your/the product is SO good); but get lost in cyberspace. Since there is no new content after it was created, Google sees it as an abandoned website and will give it no SEO relevance.

Mistake two: Being slovenly and asking and getting turned down.

The opposite is true as well. If you dress like it’s not important, you give the impression that:

  • You have no pride (what would it be like to be in a relationship with you?).
  • You have no money (dating you will be no fun).

Each is equally disastrous. If you have no pride, then what will the quality of service be like? Most people will think it will be subpar.

If they believe it’s because you have no money, they will wonder, “What if I have a problem, will they have the resources to be able to fix it?”

Therefore, you can have all the conversion forms in the world (blog subscription, membership area, social media, “have a question” form, etc.), you push your prospects away with fear and uncertainty. Like the guy wooing the girl while looking like what I looked like in ninth grade: a slob.

Mistake three: Dressing like everyone, being a “me too” site.

When I was in high school, Michael Jackson was all-the-craze (I’m showing my age). So many guys got into the Michael Jackson hairdo, penny loafers, tight pants, hat and jacket, and would try and dance like him. The first person that did it got all the attention (Oscar). But after that, it got old and the girls would roll their eyes, because everyone was the same. There was no originality. Everyone was screaming, “ME TOO!”

Many companies, when building a website, hunt down the competition or other companies in their genre, to see what they did. While there’s nothing wrong in seeing what the competition is doing, to mimic it is disaster. It positions your company as a “me too” company, as Al Ries says in his book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate them at your own risk.

First of all, no one said the competition is doing it correctly. For all you know they smell like roses and are pulling their hair out trying to figure out why their marketing isn’t working. Second, when a prospect is looking for what you have to offer, there’s nothing to differentiate you. Why should he or she choose you over your competition? This puts you in the position to have to compete on price. This is NEVER a good place to be, because you will always be lowering your prices and having a sale just to bring in business. This leads to lost revenue and limited growth.

Disgruntled web surferThere is already too much noise today. It’s even worse with social media bombarding everyone on their cell phone. Therefore, people filter and it takes a lot to get their attention. Your website has to provide the very best user experience it can (good is not enough) in order to make people blink when they see it. User experience equals:

  • Looking and smelling good (what I affectionately call “the smell test”)
  • Being easy to navigate
  • Having good content
  • And asking for the date with well thought out conversion forms to capture the identity of the visitor.

However, this is not enough. There are still two very crucial parts: the ongoing conversation. After all, what girl says yes to a date when she just met you? You have to court her, woo her and let her know you are worth it.

So stay tuned for part two next week. Until then, take a look at your website with these three points and ask yourself, “If I could only change one thing to make my site more effective, what would it be?” Start there, then ask it again and again, until you have no more answers.

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