Understanding Unsuccessful Websites

Warning! Rant ahead!

At Spot On Digital Marketing, we have a mission — to educate small, local business owners on what it takes to have a successful digital presence that really does the work, by bringing in clients who are so crucial to the growth, and sometimes survival, of their business.

This might sound a cliché, I know. But the reality nowadays is that so many businesses have an UNSUCCESSFUL online presence, and they have no idea why things are not going well. They don’t understand why no one can find their company online. Or why no one bothers to call or email when the site does get found (very often, the answer is quite simple: The website visitor couldn’t easily find a phone number! See, I’m ranting again!)

All too often I see a website that was built by somebody who unfortunately does not know what they’re doing. The result is a real disaster for the business owners who get stuck with an impractical, unworkable website and lack the tools and knowledge to fix it.

Some of the complaints I hear when I first talk to such business owners are:

  • My website used to rank high in Google search results but no longer does. Can you do something about it?
  • I used to get a lot of new clients from my website, but I no longer do.

And then we go and take a look at the website. All too often, I’m appalled at what I see and can’t understand how it was ever useful.

The following list is taken from an email I sent a business owner earlier this week. He has a local construction-related business that serves the Greater Vancouver area.

General on page issues

  • Text formatting: Headers should be marked as H1 (header 1) and are instead marked H2.
  • Images are not optimized for the keywords relevant to your market.
  • Title tags are not optimized and do not contain keywords.
  • No XML sitemap.
  • There is no custom 404-page handler.

Local SEO issues

  • Your business phone number and address do not appear on each and every page.
  • The names of locations around lower mainland are rarely mentioned on the website.

Site Content

  • The homepage does not have a clear call to action such as “Request a quote” or “Call us now.”
  • Page content is not optimized for local searches.
  • No rich snippets are being used.
  • There is no blog.

Off-page optimization

  • Domain Authority (DA) is 12 while most of the competitors have a higher of 18+.
  • Very few backlinks.

The thing is that the website looks OK at a first glance. I did some digging behind the scenes and found out the website was developed by a local videographer who decided he too could “help small and local businesses that have little or no online marketing experience get more customers.”

Hmmm…how’s that working?

The business owner thought a Band-Aid solution would do the trick. He actually asked me, before he saw the above list, “So what do you think we can do to improve? Maybe we should do some video marketing?” — I kid you not, this makes me feel like screaming.

My answer was: Video marketing can help, but first you need to have a good, well-optimized website and web presence. Let’s get started with fixing the areas on the list, and then we can talk about the advanced stuff.

Spending a ton of time on something more advanced, like videos, is pointless if no one is going to come across your website in the first place.

If your website is not preforming well and you would like to know why, feel free to contact us. We will be glad to perform an in-depth audit and provide you with a list of suggested improvements.