|I’d like to talk about a topic that most people avoid. It’s a taboo topic because most business owners are typically positive, upbeat individuals who tend to avoid the negative. Heaven forbid that any pessimism ever shadow the company! But… is it pessimism to admit one’s weaknesses? Absolutely not! So long as once the weaknesses are identified, the beholder of said information approaches these weaknesses with positivity and puts into place a plan to eliminate them.|
So then, when talking about websites, how do we find our weaknesses and more importantly what do we do to fix them?
It’s actually easier than you think. Here’s five suggestions to get you started:
- SWOT those flies!
If you haven’t done a SWOT analysis (more info: How to do a SWOT analysis & Excel template, SWOT analysis software), or if you are like I was a few years ago when one of my mentors urged me to perform this exercise, stop what you’re doing now and get started! A SWOT analysis is one of the most vital exercises business owners can perform in order to gain a better understanding of their strengths, weaknesses and identifying the opportunities available while recognizing the threats that may hinder success. If you haven’t carved a sustainable niche in your line of business, it’s vital that you start here. Try contacting your local centre for research and innovation to see if they offer a mentoring program. If you’re in Ottawa, then consider OCRI’s iProft small business mentoring program, they did wonders for us during one of our re-branding phases and I strongly recommend them to everyone.
- Location. Location. Location.
Start with search. Visitors to Google perform 2 billion searches every day and visitors to Bing and Yahoo! add another billion to the mix! If your potential customers can’t find your products or services when searching, you’ve identified your first weakness. You need to be in the top results, optimally the first 3 for any keywords that are targeted to your business. If you’re just getting started out, pay for your results. But be careful, don’t buy keywords that are too generic (if your customers are in a small geographical area, make sure your ads are limited to them).
- Interview yourself!
Pretend you’ve sold your business and moved to another city, but now you need the very same products and services that you once sold yourself! Now remember… your business doesn’t exist. Go to your website, would you hire yourself? Don’t let your competitors steal your customers!
- Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
Look at the websites of your competitors. Ask at least 10 trusted colleagues to take notes of any and all item(s) that your competitor does better, especially ones who don’t know your business. You should do this exercise yourself as well, but, don’t prioritize your own findings, you’re way too biased because you’re too close to your own business and industry. Put all feedback together, adding up the items that are repeated. Meet with 3 of the trusted colleagues and prioritize the weaknesses that are most significantly harming your rank against competitors. Tackle the top 3 items, don’t move down the list until they’re accomplished. Rinse and repeat.
- Easy as 1-2-3?
Ensure that your website follows the rules of the Secrets of Online Success (SOS). Your website must be consistent with your brand, visually appealing, simple for potential customers to find and purchase the product/service they are seeking, quickly and easly. Not sure how to make this clear? Compare with your competitors, which site is it easier to find information on? Remember, the amount of time it takes a website visitor to find the information they are seeking is infinitely more important than the number of clicks.
There are many avenues that you can explore to attract new customers and increase your revenue. Do not do this until you’ve ensured that your website presence is in top shape. I’ve witnessed hundreds of companies implementing numerous time consuming and expensive initiatives from paid ads to social media campaigns, generating impressive amounts of traffic to their websites, but, feeling disappointed when sales didn’t spike as much as anticipated. Would you go out on a date without making sure that you look your best? I didn’t think so! Your website is on a first date with every one of your potential customers. Within a few seconds of visiting your site, the first impression is set in stone and the visitor to your site has already decided if they will do business with you or not. Because first impressions are nearly impossible to reverse, it’s critical to ensure that you’ve set the right one.
So… are you going to accept the status quo or are you going to eliminate your weaknesses and take charge of your business to create your own success? It’s all up to you now. Don’t sit idle giving your competitors an opportunity to gain an edge on you, because believe me, if you are they may be narrowing that competitive gap quicker than you think.
CEO, N-VisionIT Interactive