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Your Corporate Website: Four Deadly Mistakes

By: Guest | March 26, 2013 | 
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Your Corporate Website: Four Deadly MistakesToday’s guest post is by Laura Click.

When developing marketing plans for clients, an overhaul of their corporate website often tops the list of recommended tactics.

Why?

Because so many websites do a poor job of telling the company’s story and, ultimately, driving leads and sales for their business.

And no, I’m not just talking about aesthetics. There are plenty of sites that look good, yet fail to hit the mark.

Why are they so bad?

I see four deadly mistakes in many corporate websites.

Your Corporate Website Needs Help

1. Bad navigation.

If visitors can’t quickly find information they need, they’ll move on to a site that can deliver.

For instance, image-based navigation looks really cool, but if I have to hunt around to determine which image takes me to the next page, I’ll move on in a heartbeat.

That’s why your navigation menu should be clearly labeled. In other words, call your “About” page just that instead of “The Inside Scoop.”

You can still be creative with navigation, just don’t make it too hard on your visitors. Include a search bar and other navigational cues to make it easy. Traditional navigation works for a reason; people know where to look.

2. Poorly written copy. 

Businesses pay a lot of attention to how their corporate website looks. But sadly, the copy gets left to the back burner.

I’ve seen all sorts of problems in this area:

Your website needs to tell your story. It’s your one chance to show how you can solve your customer’s problems and answer their most pressing questions. It’s your opportunity to show why they should pick YOU.

If you don’t have the talent on staff to get this right, hire someone to help. After all, well-written copy is just as important as the design. Don’t skimp on this.

3. Zero personality.

A website is the digital storefront for a brand. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, inject some personality into your website and give me a reason to take a look.

Don’t try to mimic everyone else. You need to show your special sauce and what makes you different.

That means you should use images of your company and your team instead of stock photography or cartoons. I want to see your smiling faces and the people behind the business.

Or, integrate video into your website content by interviewing members of your team, offering how-to guides answer questions as Gini Dietrich does with Facebook Question of the Week.

Dare to be different and give people a reason to connect with you and your brand. It will pay off.

4. No calls-to-action.

What do you want people to do when they visit your site?

If you sell products, you want them to buy. It you are a service-based business, you want them to contact you or sign up to receive your premium content, such as an ebook, white paper, or other lead-nurturing content.

But most websites do a poor job of leading you down that path.

Each page of your site should have a call-to-action. Make it easy for the visitor to know exactly what you want them to do on that page.

This requires both strong call-to-action copy and design that draws attention to the button or design element.

You’re in business after all, so make sure the corporate website is helping you drive the results you’re after.

This list doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface of problems with company websites, so I’ll turn it over to you. What are the biggest problems you see with websites?

Laura Click is founder and CEO of Blue Kite Marketing, a Nashville-based marketing firm that builds and implements marketing strategies for small-to-medium B2B and service-based businesses. You can connect with Laura on Twitter or by  checking out her blog.

129 comments
lauraclick
lauraclick

Hey Gini - I just noticed that all of the comments here are gone! Is it just me or did they really disappear?

ArleenH
ArleenH

You are so right about Pages laced with corporate jargon and industry lingo. We were using our industry lingo for promotional products. Most people do not understand what we were talking about. I LOVE it too much French copy (we). People do not want hear us, they want what will work for them. We just revamped our website and many of the ideas you have suggested we are using. The biggest problem I see with websites that are sells products is that if I can't find a 800 phone and it is not easily accessible of where the company is located I leave. The other problem is navigation.

http://www.garrettspecialties.com

 

lauraclick
lauraclick

%s Thanks for sharing, Sarah! BTW - did you say you're coming to %s? I can't remember. Hope to see you!

GhostbloggerMarie
GhostbloggerMarie

Laura, great content, good enough that all I can say is, I'm so glad I read it and wish I'd written it!

GhostbloggerMarie

Sean McGinnis
Sean McGinnis

May I please add not considering search engines or searchers when writing copy? Sorry. it's the SEO in me.

 

People don't search for "About Us."

 

Develop a robust content strategy for your site that takes into account key word research, what you can rank for given your current state of SEO and then writing for those in your marketing copy and blog.

 

Looking forward to seeing you next week Laura!

belllindsay
belllindsay

I just scanned through a corporate website that shall remain unnamed - so many errors and typos. Sigh. 

lauraclick
lauraclick

 @rudee Excellent points - especially the part about how people want to know how you are going to solve their problems. Sharing that is WAY more important than talking about yourself on your website. I'm glad to hear your new site implements many of these ideas. Good work!

sarahsmason
sarahsmason

@lauraclick You're welcome, Laura! Was hoping to make it to but won't be able to this year. Will I see your presentation online?

EdenSpodek
EdenSpodek

@ginidietrich No clue. ;) Another pet peeve is companies driving traffic from Twitter with pop-ups on their (mobile?) sites. Blech!

JeffSheehan
JeffSheehan

@lauraclick Laura, you're quite welcome. I always try to Tweet informative content. Have a great afternoon and evening in Nashville.

Tony_DWM
Tony_DWM

%s - That's great news, Brian. %s & %s are the keys to success! cc: %s your article made a real difference ;)

lauraclick
lauraclick

 @Sean McGinnis YES! Great advice. Definitely worth adding to the list.

 

I think a keyword strategy is important, but it needs to be written for real humans. There is nothing worse than heavy handed SEO copy. After all you don't want to be reading along and see "Chicago SEO services" every paragraph.

 

And yes, can't wait to see you next week! YAY!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

 @Sean McGinnis I have been working harder to ensure my blog posts have more phrases and terms that people will search for. I also feel brands fail to look at the bigger picture of the market ecosystem they are in. If you include copy that has content or terms from the market verticals it is possible people searching for something above or below where you sit might have you pop up in results.

lauraclick
lauraclick

 @belllindsay Blergh! But sadly, I'm not surprised. A little attention to detail goes a long way!

 

Thanks for having me on the blog, Lindsay! :)

lauraclick
lauraclick

 @ginidietrich Sorry to hear that! I had a similar issue when I changed blog hosts.  I just wanted to make sure it wasn't just me...and if it wasn't, that you knew about it. Thanks for letting me know! 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@EdenSpodek I just read a study that shows, while pop-ups drive marketers nuts, they're very, very effective. Most click on them.

lauraclick
lauraclick

@JeffSheehan I'm having a great day here in Nashville - the sun is back! How are things in Atlanta?

Sean McGinnis
Sean McGinnis

 @lauraclick Agree completely. Write for conversion FIRST, then ensure your keywords are present and in the proper places on the page.

Latest blog post: Learn From Us

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @lauraclick My pleasure Miss Laura - you knocked it outta the park! Come back anytime. :) 

EdenSpodek
EdenSpodek

@ginidietrich That may be so but they're annoying and unreadable from mobile devices. So annoying, especially from a mobile company.

melissa_agnes
melissa_agnes

@lauraclick Especially in terms of online reputation management. One needs a strong base before any sort of online attack\/crisis.

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