The 6 reasons you f*&king hate your website (and it’s nothing to do with design)

Face it. No matter how much you tweak or fiddle with your website, there’s something about the sight of it that makes you recoil from it harder than Dracula from garlic.

When you launched your site when it was all shiny and new, you had big hopes for it.

But as time goes on, familiarity with your site starts to grow into contempt.

You no longer like how it reads.

You stop seeing what is good.

And, eventually, you can barely bring yourself to clap eyes on it.

You’ve become your own website’s biggest hater… though you may not really know why.

After critiquing over 100 websites for business owners and entrepreneurs we’ve discovered the 6 main reasons why you’re probably down on your website

(And it’s got nothing to do with its design)

Here they are:

1) Your website doesn’t do anything

Long gone are the days of seeing your website as simply an extension of a sales brochure.

“Sure, let’s whack it up online, see what happens and hope the leads come a-rollin’ in.” Said no sensible business owner in 2018.

It’s not your fault. When the website was built you may have had more modest demands for it. Maybe it was there for validation. Something a bit more substantial than a LinkedIn page for your prospects to check you and your company out before working with you.

But if your website is still stuck in that mode, you’re missing out.

At the very minimum your website should do two things:

  • Position you and your business effectively
  • Capture leads consistently

The key part of the first statement on positioning is “effectively”. That means so your reader instantly knows why you’re the best choice for solving the challenge they have.

The key phrases in the second statement on capturing leads is “consistently”. A weak “Join Our Newsletter” or “Register For Updates” just doesn’t cut it these days – unless you have incredible brand recognition and have a rabid following.

(Just in case you’re wondering about that last bit… you don’t).

That’s the bare minimum. There are more objectives your website may need to strive for.

These include:

  • Selling products/services
  • Offering customer support
  • Educating the reader
  • Signposting the reader to other sites

Depending on your business, what you choose for your website objectives is what should drive the wider company strategy. Each of these also have their own success objectives against which to judge whether your website is working.

Here’s the problem. If your website isn’t bringing in a return on investment, it’s not an investment. It’s a cost. It costs you to run it, to handle it and to deal with all the issues that come with having a website.

The answer: decide what you want your website to actually do or achieve

2) It doesn’t sound like you

If there’s one sure thing to instantly turn off readers it’s feeling like they’re talking to a corporate robot. (Or, indeed, any robot).

Why, oh why do some businesses insist on employing that voice on their website.

Nobody speaks like that.

So why does your website read with all the verve and personality of a parking ticket?

The problem is disconnect.

You spend ages getting your website up and running only to look at it one day and feel like it’s a stranger. It uses a voice that doesn’t sound like yours. It uses words and phrasing that is unfamiliar. It’s not your voice. It’s no-one’s voice.

And if you feel this way about how your website reads… think how it must come across to readers.

People like people. People like conversation. If the words on your website sound less than human, you’ll turn off readers.

It all comes down to something called tone of voice.

This is ensuring the language you use and the way you use it reflects your business, your brand and connects with the reader on an emotional level to build rapport and trust.

And, before you ask, no – it doesn’t mean you have to be chatty or unprofessional. It’s about finding the right way to communicate with your reader as a human.

The answer: nail the right tone of voice.

3) No-one is visiting

Remember, back to the time you launched your website. Ooo, the excitement.

The launch day approached (and probably got pushed back again a few times) until W-day was finally there.

And when you launched, remember the flood of visitors who were desperately waiting for the moment you hit publish poised to get a first look at everything you had to offer… no?

No. If you were getting a steady stream of visitors to your site already, that steady stream probably still continued. But if you weren’t getting any visitors before… well, not much changed did it?

Just because you had a shiny new website didn’t mean jack when it came to new visitors.

With so much effort required to get a website launched, it’s no wonder so few businesses consider what should happen AFTER the website is launched.

Your website is like a store along a dusty highway. You may get occasional footfall, by accident, but unless you have a plan to drive people to your store, you’re going to go out of business.

This isn’t 1991.

No-one is impressed you have a website.

Putting up a website and hoping people may visit may have worked back then. But now, if you’re relying on that strategy, you’re screwed.

Today, you have to work harder.

The answer: identify a strategy to drive readers to your website

4) You sound just like every other business

You know that analogy with the single story on a dusty highway. Forget about that.

Now you’re a store along a highway packed with more stores that look just like yours. Stretching out to your right into the horizon, and away into the distance on your left too. And don’t forget the other side of the road. A whole street packed with stores that look just like yours.

That’s what your reader sees when they look online for what you do:

A pile of businesses that look and sound the same… and who make no attempt to make it any easier for the reader to understand why they should use one over the other.

This is what it looks like in most markets.

EVERYONE looks and sounds the same.

The reason you hate your website is because despite your pretty little logo and the picture of you smacked onto the About page, if you covered those up you could be reading pretty much every other website from the businesses in your sector.

Go on, try it. See if we’re right.

From performing website critiques on hundreds of businesses, this is one point that comes through loud and clear.  

There is no clear point of differentiation between your business and every other (or at the very least it’s not well communicated on your website…)

Here’s a quick test: how long does it take for a reader landing on your site to discover why they should choose you?

Here’s where most businesses and brands get it wrong.

They think it’s the reader’s responsibility to find out all the different reasons why it’s worth working with you. They think the reader should take responsibility for understanding their business.

How arrogant.

It is up to you as a business to clearly and succinct communicate the answer to the ultimate question in your reader’s mind:

“Why should I use you over all the other options available to me right now?”

If your website currently doesn’t answer this question… or answers it inadequately by rolling out the same meaningless platitudes every other website offers (“personalised service” is our personal worst), it’s not doing its job.

Your answer to the question above should be clear and compelling so your reader instantly understands why you’re the option for them.

The answer: work on your positioning and communicate it clearly. Immediately.

5) No-one is reading

Looking at Google Analytics can be a bittersweet experience.

If you’re checking out how much sweet, sweet traffic your website is pulling in each month, running those numbers can be pretty ace.

But pair this with a high bounce rate or your average visit time being only seconds, and it’s enough to wipe that little grin off your face.

The good news is your customer is finding you; the bad news, they don’t like what you’ve got to say.

Fortunately, this is fixable and all it requires is to turn your attention away from your business and focus on the reader.

That’s right. As much as you love your little baby, your reader has a much more popular favourite subject: themselves.

If you’re not talking to your reader’s challenges and problems, then they’re not engaging.

Winning the trust of the person you’re seeking to help with your product or service begins with understanding.

Show empathy and demonstrate you understand what they’re struggling with or need help solving and you’ll win their attention.

Blab on about yourself or your wonderful widget without telling them what’s in it for them, and you’ll lose them.

The answer: turn your attention onto your reader

6) You’re not getting a single, damn lead

Let’s go back to those goals. What should every website seek to do (according to us)?

  • Position you and your business effectively
  • Capture leads consistently

It’s hard enough getting people to find your website and capturing their attention. If you achieve all that and then fail to make the sale or encourage them to enquire or pick up the phone, it’s a waste.

Don’t let visitors slip through the cracks.

Encourage them to leave their contact details so you can continue communicating.

Yes, yes – before you say it, we know GDPR makes this all the more difficult now.

But capturing data is hugely important.

If someone visited your website and was interested, they could be the perfect customer… yet the time may not be right.

When the time is right for them to buy, if you want to make the sale it’s important you’re in front of them.

You do that by building a relationship. And that all begins with them giving you permission to stay in touch.

Ok, ok, before you say it, we’re going to stop you there again.

That weasley little “Sign Up” here form tucked away at the bottom of your website really doesn’t count. Seriously, how many people have signed up?

If you’re serious about building relationships and making your website pull in leads, it’s time to shift your focus to encouraging readers to take action.

The answer: optimise your web copy for conversions.

And now, the good news…

The good news is you can easily remedy every single one of these points. And you won’t have to go through the pain of a re-design.

The first step is measuring where your website is right now.

Discover how your website rates in less than 60 seconds. Download the same badass checklist used to test the effectiveness of over 100 websites. Click here.