Sniff. Sniff. Does your website stink?

What’s that smell? I hope its not your website:)

Here are 5 common mistakes we find on websites during our “Rescue My Website” evaluations:

1 – No opt-in email capture mechanisms

Opt-in email capture mechanisms come in many forms, including special reports, newsletters (See #2) and squeeze pages. Squeeze pages are a last resort vs the other 2, in my mind. A squeeze page is a page that requires you to enter your first name (usually) and email address before you can view any information – often including the sales pitch. While they are effective, they can annoy people.

2 – No sequenced email autoresponders

This one more or less requires #1, because without #1, it cant work because you have no email address. Once you get an email address, you should have a sequence of INFORMATIVE emails on a regular basis – for lack of a better term – and email newsletter.

3 – No mechanism to capture an address for print newsletters and other mailings.

Roughly the same as #1, but remember – the internet is just another media. Remember when broadcast fax was outlawed? Remember when the Do-Not-Call list was put in place?

If you only have ONE means to communicate with your prospects and some lobby-intoxicated elected official decides to shut down that media, you’re out of business. Get the mailing address. Offer a CD, a small book or gift. ANYTHING that will get you the address so that later, you can offer them other items, information, etc. Worst case, a postcard from Hawaii.

4 – No audio or video

It’s the 21st century folks. Video and audio aren’t geek toys, they are yet another media that is better than printed words for many people. Audio that your prospect chooses to start, not that annoying automatically started audio that makes you reach for the volume on your PC (or the X button to close the browser).

Ditto for video. You can provide SO MUCH MORE information via video. Don’t use it as a toy, use it as an effective way to get your message across. You don’t need a $15000 camera and a professional studio to make good web video these days. A cheap digital camcorder from Walmart will work if it has to.  Video and audio allow you to establish a personal relationship with the prospect. Remember, companies don’t buy things, PEOPLE do. Even at companies.

5 – No contact form

Spam is getting worse by the minute. The last thing you need is another 300 Viagra emails or hot stock tips. If your email address is on your site in plain text, spammers can find it. Provide an easy to use contact form on your site so that people can contact you without opening their email program. You need to be careful with these, because of something called “injection attacks”, but any coherent web person or website portal software should have this under control by now.

Food for thought

Look at your site as if you have never heard of your product, service or company – or anything like it. What is missing that someone who has never seen your product simply has to have? Hint: here’s the perfect opportunity for a free report that requires an email or address capture.

Remember why your site is there. To inform/educate, to communicate what you offer to the prospect and to allow them to contact you. In the case of an online store, to do all that and lead the customer down your marketing funnel to make a purchase.

Do you have goals for your website? Concrete, measurable ones? What are they? How are they measured?

What are you doing to market the site now?

How does information get from your web store to your internal company systems? Same question, vice versa.

I could go on, but I suspect you already have work to do. I know I do.