One of the top-rated classes at this year’s Users Group Meetings was a marketing class where members of the HCSS marketing team conducted live company website audits for volunteers. Below are the top mistakes found during the popular session.
Websites not built correctly for Google search
Try this experiment. Go to a computer, open a private tab, and do a Google search on your city, state, and main type of work (e.g. “Austin Texas asphalt paving”). Does your company website show up on the first page? If not, you may be making errors on how your site was built for search.
One of the top errors found for search was improper page titles. The page title is what is displayed on the search results page, and it’s what Google uses to understand what content is on that page. The title is also what is displayed on the search results page. If your home page has the page title of “Home,” you are basically telling Google that your page is about homes and that it should rank highly when users search for the word home. Another common mistake is having only your company name in the page title. However, that’s only helpful when people know to search your company name. It won’t help if they search only your type of work, like asphalt paving.
To check your title tag, go to your website’s home page on a computer, hover your mouse on the tab at the top of the web browser, and look at the words that pop up in the box. If your page title is simply “Home” or just your company name, you are likely hurting your rankings in search.
Websites not built for mobile phones
Another common error is having a website that isn’t built to be viewed on a mobile device. There are now more people on the internet using smartphones instead of desktops or laptops, so your website has to work well on a phone. Go through your website page by page on a smartphone. If the font sizes and images aren’t easy to view without zooming in, then your website isn’t built well for mobile. Google has started penalizing websites that aren’t built for mobile viewing by giving them lower search results, and your prospects may soon do the same.
Websites telling instead of showing
Another error that almost everyone made somewhere on their site was having too much dull, corporate-speak writing. If you say the word shark to someone vs. showing them a picture of a shark, you get a drastically different experience.
Here’s one final experiment. Print off one of your main pages and read it out loud to a friend. If they aren’t the words you would use to a friend, and if a picture would work better than words, then you should change your website. Use the billboard approach – eye-catching images, a few words as a headline, and minimal text – as users tend to go through websites as fast as they drive by a billboard.
To learn more about marketing, make plans to attend the February 2018 Users Group Meeting, where we will have an entire marketing track of classes focused on websites, video techniques, recruiting, social media, and other cutting-edge marketing techniques.