The 7 Biggest Mistakes IT Firms Make On Their Website

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Introduction

Spend your time running your business, not your marketing.

Your website is like your office or storefront for potential customers and it should be professional, uncluttered, and prepared to accommodate any request. On your IT company's site, specific elements are necessary in order to ensure the user finds what they are looking for quickly and effortlessly.

The 7 Biggest Mistakes

Your website should swiftly guide site visitors to where they need to be. This allows your IT firm to build credibility with site visitors and will ultimately lead to more leads and a higher customer acquisition rate. Generally, when some one comes to your site, they are looking for answers to their questions, researching a potential purchase or collecting data on industry trends.

In addition to actually providing this type of useful content, there are several elements of your website that will further accommodate site visitors. Many IT firms ignore or forget about these elements completely, significantly hurting their chances of reaching their target audience and building their business.

Mistake #1: Establishing a brochureware website

First, what do we mean by a "brochureware" website? Brochureware websites, according to Wikipedia, are business websites that are updated rarely and, in its simplest form, consist of a series of existing printed promotional materials that have been quickly converted for the site. Brochureware sites are typically built on a small budget and are used simply to gain web presence but not to actually build an e-commerce or otherwise interactive website.

These types of websites are not engaging and will not result in quality leads nor will it help to build a strong brand.

Solution

Leverage the capabilities and technologies available today in order to build an interactive and engaging site. Include valuable, educational content for customers and prospects. In order to do this, you will need to listen to your customers, understand what their needs and wants are and deliver the appropriate material. The goal is to not only provide them with the information they need, but to encourage them to come back by showing them you are a thought leader in your industry.

Mistake #2: Misplacing content or not including a clear navigational hierarchy

When a home page does not clearly explain the goals and objectives of the company or site, when the navigation is confusing and not user-friendly and when random pieces of content are peppered throughout the site that simply do not belong, it causes people to become confused, annoyed and ultimately leave the site. Misplaced content and confusing navigation give the site a cluttered and messy feel and makes it difficult for visitors to find what they are looking for.

Solution

Create your home page such that it takes just 5 seconds for the visitor to know exactly what you do. Avoid heavy text and use images to support the content. Place your brochureware content, such as the awards you've won, client testimonials, frequently asked questions, contracts you've been awarded, acquisitions, and company announcements in an appropriate place like the About Us or Support sections.

Such material should not be highlighted on your home page as it will distract your site visitors from interacting with your brand and making a purchase. Instead, create a clear navigation so that people who want to see this level of detail can find it easily.

Mistake #3: Lacking in educational material, case studies or informative content

These Internet users have come to your website in search of solutions. If they don't find what they are looking for with 3 clicks of the mouse or approximately 30 seconds, they will leave to find a website that can answer their questions.

Solution

Create a "Resources" page on your site and provide as many educational materials as possible. By including white papers, ebooks, guides and instructional manuals you are immediately building your IT firm's credibility as a trustworthy and knowledgeable business.

In addition, one of the most useful pieces of online media today is video demonstrations. Adding a video to your website will speak volumes to your site visitors as it allows them to actually see and hear how your service or product is used. This powerful piece of content will often answer many of their initial questions and likely encourage them to dig deeper into your site or contact you directly.

Mistake #4: Not updating the website regularly with new material

Technologies are changing everyday and advancements in the industry are made without notice. As soon as one technology is introduced, a faster and more efficient version is already in the making to replace it. With the ever-constant changes taking place in today's marketplace, if a company fails to keep up on the trends, they will quickly fall behind.

Solution

Stay on track with industry news, competitive analysis and maintain a forward-thinking attitude. The quicker you can get to the latest trends, data or statistics that are relevant to your audience, write about it and market it, the better. Let people know that you are the source for up-to-the-minute information. Regularly updating your website with this type of valuable information will not only help you rank higher on Google through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but will keep people coming back for more.

A blog, for example, is a great medium to use in order to regularly distribute useful content. Blogging is a major way to share your expertise, offer solutions and advice, and keep in regular touch with customers as well as prospects.

Mistake #5 Burying contact information somewhere on the site

Many sites make it extremely difficult to contact them. How can you expect to qualify a lead, make a sale or build honest relationship customers if you can't be reached by them?

Solution

There should be a designated point on your site in which you list your company's contact information. Some sites have one page, "About Us" for example, with the sole purpose of accommodating their contact details. Others use the footer of their site, allowing visitors to see their contact information on every page, while others still subscribe to both methods, making it as easy as possible for people to connect with their company.

The contact details should include a phone number, email contact and physical address of the company. If your firm has a support line, include that as well. Additionally, a contact form sent directly from the site can be helpful in the event an email gets caught in a spam filter.

Mistake #6: Not providing a newsletter sign up form

One of the best, not to mention simplest, ways to nurture the leads that are not quite sales-ready is through a newsletter sign up form. Companies that do not include this significant element on their site are missing out on a monumental opportunity.

A newsletter sign up form prompts site visitors to take an action. This is a form of "pull marketing," which requires the user to engage with your brand versus "push marketing," which is the company literally pushing their brand on to prospective customers through radio and TV ads, print marketing and the like.

Solution

Integrate an email newsletter sign up on your website today.

Mistake #7 Not taking advantage of search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a competitive area to be in but is absolutely crucial for IT firms whose entire business is centered around online sales and distribution. For IT service companies who are not taking advantage of SEO, they will soon get lost among the countless firms who are involved in it. SEO allows you to get found on the web by your target audience.

Solution

Become familiar with the various elements involved with SEO. Understanding how to research and identify the right keywords, seeking out inbound links to your site, designing and structuring your site in such a way that Google finds you faster, HTML tagging and more are all critical aspects of building a strong SEO strategy.

As previously mentioned, frequency and recency of updates is a key element in getting Google to rank you well.

8 Questions to Ask When Building or Revamping Your Website

Is my website easy to use?

Navigability is an important feature for any effective website. If you want your online IT marketing to pay off with sales, customers that find you in cyberspace must be able to work through your website efficiently and easily.

To ensure your website is easy to get around, begin with your main navigation, which should clearly list each of your website pages and what they do. Next, add additional navigation throughout your website with sidebars and related articles throughout.

Does my customer know what my business does by perusing my website?

It may be straightforward to you, but a customer entering your website for the first time may not have any information about what your business is all about. An important part of a successful IT marketing campaign is information, so make sure you are providing sufficient facts to your customer. Your website should cover your business philosophy, the services you offer and your level of experience in your industry.

Is my website transparent?

Customers should feel like all your information is out in the open, from the origins of your company to your methods for protecting client information online. If you request information from a customer on your website, you should inform them precisely about how that information will be used and protected from others.

The more transparent your website, the more confidence potential customers will have in your company.

Does my website promote confidence in my company?

In addition to the need for transparency listed above, your website is an important tool for building confidence for your IT marketing in other ways as well. For example, you might list former client testimonials that attest to your professional service or reasonable pricing. You might also include recommendations you have received from other businesses or major companies that have been your clients in the past.

Does Google like my website?

Search engine optimization is crucial if you want potential customers to actually find your website. Cultivating an effective keyword list should be an initial step in any effective online IT marketing campaign. Once those keywords are established, they need to be used — in your content, your product descriptions and even your URL.

Am I living in the past on my website?

When you read through the content on your website, does it sound like you are living in the past? Try changing all of the past-tense verbs on your website to present-tense words and see how much differently your content reads. By transforming your website into one that lives in the present, you are exuding an up-to-the-minute attitude that suggests your firm is modern, dynamic and very much "today."

How old is my content?

Like your website, your content should not live in the past. While you may have a few "evergreen" articles that can remain in your archives indefinitely, most of your content should be updated regularly to use it as effectively as possible in your online IT marketing. If you don't have the time, resources or talent to write your own content, hire a freelancer for this purpose.

Do my customers know how to contact me?

If you are not getting many contacts from customers, it could be that your contact page is either too hard to find or not providing sufficient information to potential customers. Contact pages should include a physical address, toll-free phone number and email or live chat access. When you are contacted by a customer, it is essential to return the email ASAP to let your customers know that you are completely accessible to them.

Your website is your online image to the rest of the world, so make sure it is offering a good first impression to potential clients. By considering each of these questions as you build or revamp your website, you are much more likely to end up with a website that is attractive, professional and very effective in your overall IT marketing campaign.

Conclusion

Your website is used by site visitors to research and collect valuable insight in order to make informed decisions. Updating and maintaining your IT firm's website with useful content is a critical piece of your marketing strategy in order to stay competitive, position your firm as a trusted source and increase quality leads.

By including useful content that helps your site visitors answer their questions and including all the necessary elements on your site you are increasing your changes of them filing out a lead form, calling you directly or requesting more information. Ultimately, this is what any IT firm would want - a stream of interested site visitors coming to you rather than you pounding down their door.