Thanks to the hard work of the Web Pages That Suck team, we’re never short of examples of truly awful sites:
- Here’s one that instantly alienates. It requires your email address just for the privilege of viewing the homepage. No thanks!
- Go on, we dare you to try and navigate this“artsy” mess.
- And this thing is best described as simply crazy-ugly.
WPTS’s vote for worst website of 2013? Hands down, the crash-prone HealthCare.gov.
Maybe your website doesn’t suck as much as HealthCare.gov, but if yours isn’t addressing the interests and concerns of your core audience, you deserve a place alongside all the others in the Hall of Shame. We focus a lot on healthcare websites and healtchare marketing here since several of our clients are providing services in this arena but all of this applies to any business website intended to meet some type of business goal. The days of a website functioning as nothing more than an online brochure are long gone. Most of our clients have come to us during their efforts of figuring out why their online presence just wasn't bringing them any notable success in generating business or managing existing business.
If you’re laying lots of money into web design and development, the last thing you need is a lot of pretty pictures hiding the fact that your site is empty of decent content. Talk about a lack of ROI.
Worse, if you’re laying no money into your website – e.g., you’re using an (ugly) free template or having your amateur brother-in-law design it – the results will brand you as low-end, and could even compromise your credibility. This is especially true if you face a lot of direct online competition.
IS YOUR SITE GUILTY OF...
- “Me-centric” content? If your website is about you, it’s failing. It’s supposed to be about the people you serve: first, foremost and forever.
- Bad nav? If your web visitor can’t even figure out where your office is located or how to book an appointment… that’s a navigation fail!
- Gimmick overload? Do not be taken in by Flash animation – it’s bad for SEO and isn’t compatible with mobile devices. Video is nice, but “auto-load” is just plain rude, and possibly embarrassing to someone logging on from work or a public place. Ditto auto-loading sounds – startling at best and useless at worst. Stop thinking of your website in terms of the old outdated offline advertising tactics.
Is your site even on anyone’s radar?
By now, you realize the need for a robust, patient, client or customer focused website to establish your business as one that’s worthy of attention and consideration. Having your entire marketing team - inhouse or oursource or both - working together using inbound marketing strategy is crucial to success!
But having a nice website is one thing; getting people to it is another. These days, if your site isn’t supported by inbound marketing strategy, you may as well not even have an online presence. Because without that top level strategy tying things together what you end up with is a disjointed collection of online tactics that usually waste business resources.
On the vastness of the Internet, it’s impossible to winnow through the untold millions online at any given moment. For your website to make an impression, it must be the destination for your target audience. Just imagine how your bottom line might look if a small fraction of the people who visit your website become customers purely through what they could find when they visit it.
Creating customer (or patient) personas is the way to identify the people most likely to want your services. Once you have a handle on your target’s particular concerns or interests, you can begin creating content to address those needs. For healthcare marketing there should be content discussing the problems you can treat, how you approach things and what patients can expect when they work with you. If you're providing a service the same thing applies - address actual problems that your customer's care about with the content on your website and then make it easy for someone to get help from you via your website. No, just giving them a phone number and/or your email address there isn't enough - remember, they are finding you online so put as much in place as you can to help them become customers through that channel (hint - landing pages, call to action alongside relevant content for every stage of the buying process are the elements that fix this problem). Please don't be guilty of thinking "all we need is to get 'em on the phone so we can talk them into coming in".
Content really is king
Blogs, videos, white papers, infographics, interviews, case studies … all high-value content serves to raise your profile among the people who matter. Promoting your content on social media, where today’s customers are likely to hang out, helps you be discovered.
From there, your content drives visitors to your site’s landing pages, where they may turn into qualified leads. For physicians and healthcare marketing professionals the content is geared toward the ailments they help treat, for business to business that content speaks to the business problems you solve and for business to consumer it is discussions on the problems your product solves.
Doesn’t sound like the advertising you’re used to? Good! Yesterday’s “outbound” tactics, like display ads, radio and Yellow Pages, are all in steep user decline. So, continuing to do what you've always done has probably impacted your bottom line in a negative way. Now you understand why!
How not to suck
Sucky websites may be fun to pick apart, but low-value content, bad navigation and no inbound marketing support will ultimately do their damage to your online marketing efforts.