Professional Services Website Emergencies
The Top 10 Mistakes Professional Services Firms Make Online
and How to Avoid Them.
I was honored to lead a breakout session at SMPS Heartland last week on website design best practices. Building upon our previous entry entitled Website Emergency, we pulled out the top ten website design issues we see in the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry.
We discussed web design best practices, reviewed writing for the web, explored the basics of SEO (search engine optimization), and much more. Our attendees all received a free website emergency checklist. If you’d like your very own, let us know.
We broke the emergencies down into three categories: content, design and SEO:
// Content Emergencies //
1. It’s all about us.
Does your site inspire visitors with compelling messages and fantastic photography? Does it offer them what they’re looking for, or does it focus on your firm’s history and go on about your mission statement? Yawn.
2. Relationship trumps image?
Most professional services are relationship-driven, but it’s not an excuse to have a dated, less than professional website. Existing clients may excuse a sub-par site, but they’re not your only potential visitors. And you know what they say about first impressions…
3. Poor quality content and photography.
If your photos and website copy don’t hold your attention, they surely won’t impress anyone else. Spend some quality time on what you’re saying, and only show off your best work.
4. Static content.
Some static content is okay, but you should strive to give visitors a reason to come back. Search engines love fresh content too. Does your site still say ©2007 or worse? Yikes.
5. One-way communication.
Are you providing avenues for feedback or conversation? What’s your call to action? News, blogs, and social media are great tactics to consider.
// Design Emergencies //
6. Too Much Flash.
If Flash intros are dead, having an entire Flash site or Flash navigation is worse. Keep in mind, if I have to struggle to find content, or if I’m using my iPhone or iPad, your site may be invisible to me. Plus, if your site is all flash, it may not be crawlable by Google.
7. What should I do?
What do you want your visitors to do when they arrive on your homepage? Get inspired? Contact you? Visit your blog? Sign up for your newsletter? Make sure it’s clear.
8. Avant-garde navigation.
Remember the first website you saw with navigation that floated around the screen? If visitors can’t find their way around, your navigation may be too clever. Your navigation isn’t an area to try something wacky on your website. Keep it simple and don’t make visitors work too hard.
// SEO Emergencies //
9. Is your site invisible to search engines?
Google your company or your service category and market (ie, Indianapolis Architects). Did you find yourself on the first page? Neither did your potential client. If you’ve got a legacy website, a generic company name, or an all Flash site, we may have located some potential problems.
10. What are your latest statistics?
Do you know how many visitors you average each month? What’s the most popular content on your site? How do visitors find you? If you’re not checking your stats, you’ll never know.
// BONUS Emergency //
11. I’m in marketing. The website isn’t really my problem.
Sometimes the biggest challenge is deciding who will take ownership of the website from a marketing perspective. That person will need to make ongoing decisions about how often to make website updates, if they should consider hiring a professional SEO Company to drive more traffic, and how to convert that traffic to qualified leads. The website needs a leader.
Who will lead your next redesign?
Request a free Website Emergency Checklist.