This is part two of our two part series on Boring Website Syndrome.. Part one can be found here, http://cdl.lc/two-cures-for-boring-website-syndrome-part-1-fashion/
When approached by new clients, there are a few common opening statements, requests, and complaints we hear, such as:
- I need “Help” with my website.
- I need a complete “Redesign” (which a lot of the time has more to do with engineering than design).
- I need “something more ‘current.'”
But our favorite opening statement—and perhaps the most honest—is this one:
“My Website is Boring.”
The Boring Website Syndrome is our favorite because it presents an opportunity for further diagnosis. We have the opportunity to get to know our client better and probe for unique needs relative to the business they’re in.
15+ years experience in internet consulting have taught us that Boring Website Syndrome breaks down into one of the following two categories, and often both:
1) The website looks old.
2) The website doesn’t offer or do anything . . . it doesn’t engage visitors.
Today we will look at #2 My Website Doesn’t Engage My Visitors.
Have you ever thrown a party, only to see your guests milling around for just as long as they felt necessary to appear polite—and then bolt for the exit? More than likely, these people didn’t feel engaged.
On the Internet, failing to engage your visitors means they’ll be leaving . . . immediately. Let’s look at what it takes to keep your visitors hanging around longer:
The first issue is content. It’s possible to have an incredibly ugly website that offers good enough content or functionality that the bad design does not interfere with its popularity. Some long-tail blogs are like this [“long tail,” is a term coined by the book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.].
Want examples? Click this link to see who carries Google’s #2 ranking for “growing habenaro“. Or look at Authorize.net’s members’ section. Although slightly updated in past years, the Internet’s most prominent credit card processor has lived through poor organization and design inconsistencies, but it always “did the job”.
The point? With incredibly valuable content (here content refers to words and functionality), it is actually possible to overcome poor website design (outdated fashion). However, it is the rare & very fortunate company that can simply say, “Click here to buy my stuff, and that’s all you need to know,” or, “Your eyes will just have to tolerate the pain of horribly designed site if you want my brilliant information.”
The point is, to attract and keep visitors you must offer something valuable, words or tools, and in return they give something; their time.
It can be as simple as offering specific, detailed information about your offerings, or as advanced as leveraging your hard-earned, de-facto, “expert blogger,” position on a topic.
Everything above discussed the “words” or “content” part of what a website offers. Now let us look at functionality.
All of the “stuff” that can be done on a website is a comprehensive enough topic for a week of articles. So for now, let’s just list a few website functionality ideas than will engage your visitors, and maybe even get them to return. Consider:
- How easy is it to give you money? Do you take credit cards? E-checks? Does your business accept these 24x7x365, from any computer or mobile phone, via an automated, no-staff-intervention-required method?
- Do you accept reservations and appointments via an online scheduling system? Make it fast and easy for people to schedule with you from anywhere/anytime!
- Are you taking advantage of an online store front?
- Are you collecting inquiries from your website? This is the easiest way to convert curious visitors into customers.
- Does your website include a Help or FAQ section? This brings customers back to your site, helps them solve problems, and converts them into repeat customers.
There are even more advanced offerings that are surprisingly easy to add to your web site, like live, online support, incident tracking/trouble-ticketing, optimizing your products into search-engine specific feeds, and creating password protected areas for “special people.” And people love when you make them feel special.
“Boring Web Site” means out-of-fashion, out-of-date, and/or non-engaging. The solution? Consult with a web firm about content, functionality, and style overhaul, using the above list to beging the brainstorming process over what your website should offer visitors.
You can even use CDLLC if you like . . .