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Failing website: The real reason your website isn’t getting traffic

The real reason your website is failing is that you don’t know what to do with it… There, I said it!

Getting websites turned around will always require a ‘ripping off plaster’ moment. There is that epiphany that draws a line in the sand that everything needs to be different and a new approach has to be taken.

We have been developing websites for the past 15 years using a range of platforms from straight HTML and CSS to WordPress, Magento, Shopify and my personal (not) favourite… Wix. We have been tasked to ‘fix’ websites too along the way but more often than not, its easier to rebuild from scratch and migrate the good stuff over to the new site… If there is any.

OK, I will stop being mean about your beloved site… Well, no I won’t, I will talk to you less about the problem and more about the solution, How about that?

Here goes…

User Focus or User Experience

When you built your site, you were focused on what you wanted it to look like, now, there is nothing wrong with your taste, but there is a wrong way to build a site. That way is anyway other than with a 100% focus on the wide range of users that will be coming to your site. User Experience or UX is a major thing with Google now, and you will be ranked lower for having a site that is distracting and especially hard to navigate. There an old rule where your site visitors have to be able to find their target info or item in 3 clicks or less, this is a good rule to go by. What experience will you target users have when they arrive? Are you so user-focussed that you will be the answer to their Google prayers (or search query)?

Methodology

You have to start with a brilliant concept I came across years ago called ‘DMMT’ or ‘Don’t Make Me Think’. Simply put, you don’t want your users ‘thinking’ and making them try to figure out your site. It should be super simple to figure out with easy flows of text, images that make sense (not just what you want to promote straight away). The best way to approach this is to treat you users like they are dumb (at the risk of offending more people than you, my wonderful reader). Treat them like a 5 year old who has just discovered the internet and make no assumption that they will be able to find a product or article with ease unless you help them.

UX Practicals

  1. Firstly, build your mobile site first. and desktop version second. I can’t say this enough. Your mobile site needs to be fast, easy and clear!
  2. Clear dummy-proof menus. You must have a clear simple menu structure that easily leads to the right locations and categories. The menu must be in the expected place with the expected options. Check the text size, check links works. Use tried and tested hamburger menu type for mobile.
  3. Fast loading! The site must load in under 3 seconds. Or you will be ranked badly by search engines and your audience will lose patience and head back to the search engine for better user experiences. Use a CDN as well as caching if you can to speed up your site. Also, make sure that your images are compressed so they keep their quality but are small in file size. Remember, over 65% of your website traffic will be on a phone that is using 3G or 4G, more often without full reception because they are in a building somewhere. The mobile version of your site should
  4. Make sure colours contrast properly, having yellow text on an orange background, or light brown on dark brown that are too close in shade is just common courtesy. 
  5. Create actual profiles of the key demographics that will be coming to the website, think about how tech-savvy the least savvy person in that demographic is, think about how much time they have, what their decision-making process is and what information they really want to see and place it at their fingertips.

The goal of having the best user experience is definitely to create the best chance to convert visitors into customers. The other value is that you get great SEO out of it which in turn generates more traffic for your website.

Your market offer

For some, it’s simply what they are offering to their target demographic or a mismatch in who they want to sell to.

There are times where us entrepreneurs are so eager to create something of value, we actually create problems so we can solve them… The idea of a TV embedded in a coffee table that was pitched in Dragon’s Den comes to mind. 

The ‘inventor’ could not be discouraged, but half the dragons had seen this ‘innovation’ before and had the research to back their decision that is was a bad invention that hurt peoples necks after watching for ages.

It could be the case where you haven’t profiled your target demographic correctly. One thing I have been sharing with entrepreneurs and digital marketing clients is that you need to have such a specific description of your key customer that you feel like you know them as a friend. You will know the TV shows they watch, where they should, their age, their job, their favourite foods and even more granular information that allows you to find them easily online, speak their language AND address their needs, merely converting sales is not enough. We as business creatives need to truly offer something of value in exchange for peoples hard-earned cash.

Bad SEO

I touched on this earlier; bad optimisation means Google and all the other search engines people use have got your website on page 78 where it will never see the light of day.

You MUST use long-tail keywords in your content and website as supposed to just short-tail keywords.

“What is this longtail keyword” thing you speak of, I hear you say – Well its is just what you need to focus on when creating content.

Well, let me take that back, great content is what you need to focus on, and then optimise it beautifully using natural phrases that people are searching for within your sector.

For example; a short tail keyword for a dentist is ‘dentist’ or ‘London Dentist’. A long-tail keyword for a dentist is ‘highest rated dentist in south London’. Can you see how the second option may well not be used by the leading SEO’d dentist who has spent £10,000 getting a professional to SEO the crap out of his or her site?

The best part of this is, Google, and possible the other search engines also will rank the second, longtail keyword, better because it’s more specific and as such highly likely to be a better quality website with better more suited information for the searcher. It doesn’t matter is Amazon is the best dentist with the best short-tail SEO ranking, the longtail ranking takes preference and will be list on page one, most likely at the top of the page!

The Basics

SEO basics include the below checklist:

  • Alt tags on images
  • page title matching page URL tail
  • metadata
  • good layout using H1, H2, H3 and paragraph tags
  • posting QUALITY content with some sort of frequency

The more you post that is well written (yes Google can read AND tell the difference between a well-penned article and recycled, re-spun garbled junk that you got a random AI bot to rejig online). Keywords must be naturally used and need to fit the sentence, you CAN overdo keywords by having too much keyword density. Google knows when you are trying to game the system and it will blow up in your face like a sulfuric fart!

Relying on product pages to sell instead of landing pages

This is by far one of the most common mistakes I see and in large amounts!

A product page is just that, an info sheet on your product. its the final confirmation that your prospect wants to buy and he or she should have been convinced further up in the sales funnel!

Just so we’re all on the same page, a sale funnel is a journey that you take your prospects on that feeds them information step by step while they make their buying decision. It’s a great way to build the internal confirmation that the prospect needs the item of value you ave on offer and weeds out the time-wasters. It also lends itself as a great place to build your email list — which, by the way, its YOUR GOLD DUST! Marketing to an email list that has subscribed to you AND given you permission to market to them (all in line with GDPR of course) is first of all free for the most part and historically gets the best result and best ROI, but that’s for another article altogether, let’s get back to the chapter at hand — Landing pages.

A landing page is a stripped down, very focus page that you drive campaign traffic to. It has one job; To convince your prospect to buy…

How does it do this?, I hear you sheepishly ask

All this page contains is; 

  • one product image, 
  • one product message, 
  • a clear focused and concise list of benefits, 
  • social proof from other purchasers and any accreditation that promote your authority for people that don’t know your brand. This is either social media messages and reviews of past or current users.
  • NO MENUS OR OTHER DISTRACTIONS
  • ONE BUTTON… THE ‘BUY NOW’ or ‘SCHEDULE A CALL’ button.

Absolutely everything on a landing page is geared to driving one action from your prospect while dealing with all their possible objections and building trust.

The buy now button takes them to the product page — only if your landing page can’t complete the transaction, if it can complete the transaction then great, that makes the sales from more frictionless which is what you want. 

Not having a payment portal on your landing page isn’t too bad, it’s more of a UX thing so users have very smooth buying experiences without going to too many stages. Google doesn’t often read landing pages cos they are usually disposable so you won’t be ranked down for these.

So to summarise landing pages, this is the customer journey:

  1. Advert (AdWords, social media, Whatsapp, email, carrier pigeon, whatever) leads to…
  2. Landing page (no distraction, sell sell sell… Videos and human or AI chat boxes work phenomenally well here), everything points towards the ‘buy now’ button.
  3. Grab contact details… Ideally email — you don’t even really need their name.
  4. Product page — this is where the transaction completes if it doesn’t you at least have an email to send more information that may bring about a sale later on.

Paid Traffic Fails

Another major reason is you don’t know how to generate paid traffic, its easy-ish but definitely not straightforward. Depending on your source of traffic; Whether its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube or even TikTok you have to optimise the posts for each platform properly and follow each network’s conventions. This comes back to quality posts which are highly relevant to your niche and target demographic. 

The other area most website owners fail in is paying too little for their ads and expecting miracles. spending £3 a day might get about 1,000 impressions but remember, there is a conversion rate or percentage that is a minuscule amount of overall impressions.

Case in point, out of 3,000 impressions, you will get about 30 click-throughs, out of 30 click-throughs maybe 1 will be credible and a serious candidate for your target demographic who will likely buy IF the offer is presented well, on the good fast loading site with great UX.

In reality, you want about 100 possible prospects to be likely buyers, so you need to up your ad spend to £20-£30 per day. You can’t put in bicycle input and expect Mercedes-Benz outcomes, we don’t live in a cartoon.

In conclusion

Please do take my abrasive tone with a pinch of salt, life is too short to drink bad wine, so I like to nail a point hard; Cos there is always someone somewhere that has got a smart alec comeback with a rare unicorn scenario and puts it forward like the norm. This is the same guy who’s campaigns tank but will still try to give you advice on running digital marketing campaigns.

I have worked with too many entrepreneurs who have burnt all too much money on bad information. This is why I write these articles is such a sharp way. I’ve gotta get the message in a way that gives even unknowing entrepreneurs the ammunition to dispel half-truths and money-wasting codswallop!

On that very happy note, do reach out to us here at TheOkelloGroup.com if you would like us to support your digital campaigns, web development and building strong sales funnels that turn traffic into real money in your bank accounts.

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