Wasting money

Since the advent of the commercial Internet, I’ve collected tens of thousands of data points that have given me the ability to identify the top 8 Money Draining Website Mistakes. These are the things that literally cause a business website to leak serious money every day in the form of lost sales.

The good news is that business owners can immediately stop the cash drain. You can also do it on your own without any technical skills. The result outcome will be more visitors to your website, more leads, and more sales.

Here are 8 money draining website mistakes:

Mistake #1: No baselines or goals

When I ask a business owner, “How much of an increase in unique visitors would you need to see in order to hit your revenue goals?” the typical answer is, “I don’t know…we just need more.”

Don’t fall into the trap of “just needing more.” Instead, dig into your Google Analytics account and create baselines for vital metrics like unique visitors, current conversion rate of visitors into leads, and current conversion rate of leads into sales.

Then, use these baselines to establish S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive) goals. Next, take your baselines combined with your S.M.A.R.T. goals for revenue and work it backward. That way you’ll know by how much you need to increase site traffic, leads, and conversion rate to reach your revenue goal.

Mistake #2: Lack of distinction

What are you uniquely qualified to provide and to whom are you providing it? Clearly define what makes you different.

Complete what we call the X-Y-Z exercise. My friend and mentor Darren Hardy, publisher of SUCCESS Magazine taught me this valuable exercise.

• We do X (x = your products and services)

• For Y (y = your customer profile)

• So they can Z (z = the result outcome your customers are seeking)

We do X, for Y, so they can Z.

For example, our X-Y-Z is: “We do digital marketing by applying our patent-pending Predictive ROI Method for companies with $1 million to $30 million a year in revenue so they can increase their online return on investment by 200 to 500% or more, guaranteed, or it’s 100 percent free.”

Make your X-Y-Z short, concise, and packed full of value for your customers.

Mistake #3: High bounce rate

When someone visits a page on your site and immediately leaves without making a single click, that’s called a bounce. The typical business website has a bounce rate between 50 and 60 percent. Track your bounce rate in Google Analytics. Your goal should be 30 percent or less.

Reduce bounce rate in three simple steps:

1.) Place your X-Y-Z message on the left side of your Home Page, above the fold so visitors can quickly understand what you do

2.) Eliminate visual clutter on your content pages

3.) Present clear calls-to-action

Bounce rate tends to be the most expensive money drainer but, the easiest to fix. Why is it so expensive? Assume you have a typical conversion rate of 2 to 4 percent of unique visitors. If your bounce rate is 50 to 60 percent, you’re losing nearly 42 percent of your potential revenue. That may represent $250,000 a year or more in lost sales for some small business owners!

Mistake #4: Poor search engine optimization (SEO)

Good SEO requires the creation of content your visitors will thank you for but also content that revolves around what I call “Predictive Keywords” or keywords that are searched for every single day in Google and are relevant to your business. Here’s how you find them.

Create a free account on SEOBook.com and use their Keyword Selector Tool. The tool will show you the number of times a particular keyword in Google is searched for every day. Awesome data!

Then, do an exact match search in Google (place the keyword in quotes) and develop content pages that focus on the keywords that have fewer than 1 million competing pages in Google.

Mistake #5: Not knowing your customer

Are your typical clients in school? Are they parents or retirees? What are their hopes, dreams, challenges, and fears? What keeps them awake at night? Answer these questions and you’ll have a “client avatar” or client profile that you can reference.

For example, we call our “client avatars” Sally and Harry. They’re business owners who are ambitious, want to learn new things but sometimes feel like they don’t know what they’re doing and that they are missing out on opportunities when it comes to digital marketing. They have been burned in the past by so-called experts but yearn to trust someone who can deliver on promises.

Having these avatars or profiles will help you serve your customers better and tailor your site content to meet their needs in a relevant way.

Mistake #6: Bad customer experience

You may not even realize that your site is difficult to navigate because what seems clear to you may be confusing to a visitor. Ask yourself what your avatar is looking to do — make a purchase, ask a question, download free advice, etc. Be sure your site includes easy-to-follow instructions, simple forms that only ask for the necessary information to begin a relationship, and other cues to guide visitors toward your calls-to-action.

Mistake #7: Too much institution speak

Your content should sound like it comes from you — a real person. It’s a problem I see far too often. Remember, you’re trying to make an emotional connection with your customer. You’re not just trying to “wow” them with facts, stats, your knowledge of industry jargon, or your impressive facility. Be you and your visitors will reward you for it!

Mistake #8: Ambiguous calls-to-action

Each page of your site should have a clear call-to-action, along with easy steps visitors can take to move forward and hire or buy from you. Consider adding three simple steps as a place to start:

1.) Download your latest eBook

2.) Register for your upcoming webinar

3.) Buy or call you now

Eliminate these 8 Money Draining Website Mistakes and you’ll see more visitors, more leads, and more sales!

What are some things that have worked well and not so well on your website? Tell me below.