Crickets or Cha-Ching? The True Cost of a Bad Website

True Cost of Website Mistakes

How does your website work for you? I mean really WORK… Does it lead to the sound of “crickets” in your business, or a steady flow of awesome client inquiries who become beloved clients?

TRUTH: Your website is the key link between your holistic practice and all the lovely people out there who would love to work with you but just don’t know about you yet.

HARD TRUTH: If your website design, content, or functionality aren’t working for you, those lovely people either can’t find you, or don’t feel inspired to take the next step. Ouch, I know.

Have you ever visited a website that just left you feeling Blah? Maybe the design feels dated. Or it loads so slowly that you have zero desire to stick around and wait to see what they do. Or it takes you a bunch of clicks to find what you were looking for, and even then the information isn’t entirely clear? Or you can’t see simple key info like where they are located, business hours, or how to contact them?

We can ALL relate to the common website issues above, but strangely sometimes have difficulty seeing them within our own website. Sometimes when we spend SO many hours looking at and working on our own sites, we forget to keep track of what’s working – and what’s not.

I was talking with a client yesterday who hired me for SEO help. Her site had been built by a local designer/developer 5 months ago and she had seen a curious drop in client intakes. While she wasn’t truly happy with the design, she never would have imagined just how much this new site was impacting her business. Not only is the user experience on the site awkward and lacking in conversion elements, it was entirely missing any SEO settings! In fact, since this new site by a “professional” designer had been launched her traffic and client inquiries had reduced to zero.

Common website mistakes you need to know:

When meeting with a potential client I am always thankful when they themselves identify that their website is “bad”. Believe me, I’ve seen some doozies! Sometimes, however, a client doesn’t even realize the issues with their website – it may seem “good enough” in their eyes, but at the same time they have a sense that they are missing something and are curious enough to know what their options are.

Often potential clients hope I can help them upgrade their existing site. Usually, however, there are enough issues with their current site that it makes way more sense to start from scratch and design a site that is 100% made to perform rather than apply patchwork improvements to a site whose foundation is problematic.

Here are common website mistakes to watch for on your website. Any one of these can transform a site that has the potential to transform your business success (in a positive direction!) into a “bad” website that can actually hurt your business.

Your Web Design Quality Matters

When was the last time you looked at your website with fresh eyes? Does it feel fresh? Open? Modern? If you were to share the design with friends / beloved clients for HONEST feedback – what would they say?

Pay close attention to how your website makes you – and people you trust – FEEL. Remember site visitors form their first opinion of your website in a mere 3 seconds – and will leave if they don’t like what they see. Harsh, I know, but your design matters.

If the very first experience of a home page makes a user feel overwhelmed, or it feels amateurish / unprofessional – they will leave. Elements such as poorly chosen stock photos, blurry icons, colors that don’t work together, or design elements that simply don’t work as a cohesive whole can quickly ruin a perfectly good website.

Does Your Content Engage & Inspire, or Confuse?

When a site visitor arrives on your site, can they tell right away what you do?

Can they get a clear sense of your practice style within the first 3 seconds?

Are they able to see the primary action you want users to take right when the home page first loads on their screen?

Clarity is good. Confusion is bad. The problem is often that YOU know your business so well that you forget that site visitors are starting from zero and need you to guide them clearly as they get to know your business and services. If site visitors can’t tell exactly what you do or how to reach out, they often won’t take the time to figure it out.

Here’s a simple challenge for you:

  1. Open your home page on a laptop, a tablet, and a cell phone. The content you see right away is called “above the fold” – this content is KEY to user conversion.
  2. Look at each with a fresh perspective and ask yourself (honestly): Is it clear what I offer? Is there a button encouraging them to take the next step?
  3. Invite 3 trusted friends who are in your target niche market to do the same for you & get their feedback.

A few more common website mistakes I see ALL THE TIME on wellness websites:

It doesn’t take much to turn a great website into a “bad” website. Here are a few more common website mistakes I see all the time:

When you look at your site on mobile it is wonky. Alignment is off, text covers photos, font-sizes too big – or too small, pop-ups that don’t work properly, the list of potential issues is long… And as you know, the majority of users these days are actually accessing your site via mobile – so the mobile experience is really important;

Your website takes forever to load. Remember what I said above about the 3 seconds before a site visitor leaves for another website? If your site takes 4, 5, 7 seconds to load – you’ve lost much of your hard-won site traffic to another local provider.

SEO: This might include back-end SEO settings either missing or poorly implemented, or on-page structure not designed for Google to analyze properly for your SEO.

HARD TO NAVIGATE: Perhaps your menu is huge & hard to navigate. Or users simply have a hard time finding the key information they need. A positive user experience navigating your site makes a HUGE difference in conversion!

How website mistakes mean less great clients for your wellness business:

Maybe your website includes some of the mistakes we mentioned above. So, what are the business costs of leaving your wellness website as-is?

Your website visitors end up frustrated.

We’ve all clicked on a cruddy website before. The experience is less than pleasant — and definitely not one you want to give your potential members.

  • Best-case scenario, they spend 10 more minutes than they wanted looking for information that should’ve been easily accessible. Even if they make it through the 15 steps needed to find your appointment availability, they’ll probably be too irritated to provide their email or phone number.
  • More commonly, after about a minute of searching around, they’ll throw their hands up and click out of your site to find another business who can do the job better. Google is happy to provide lots of alternatives to your wellness business in search results!
  • Worst-case scenario, your website loads as insecure and the visitor never even sees a word of your content and will never visit your link again.

I like to think of your website as the first point of entry for new clients – almost like your office receptionist or lobby. If their first impression involves emotions such as frustration, irritation or safety concerns, you can see how quickly a great lead will turn into a “never going to be your client.” It’s essential that they land on your site and exhale with RELIEF – not growl in frustration!

Your site visitors are simply confused.

Ok, let’s say they land on your home page and they are beginning to poke around and explore your wellness services. But quickly, they feel confused. Here are 3 classic ways we confuse site visitors:

Unclear brand colors, fonts & images

‍When we land on a site and there are 10 different color schemes going on, and the fonts keep changing, and the images are random, out of alignment, and blurry we feel…

I mean, what is going on here? Is this person professional? It’s hard to even read the content when the design is so all over the place.

Ultimately, an amateurish design sends the clear message that you are not invested in your business – so why should they invest in you?

I can’t tell you how often I look at websites and have to actually HUNT to understand what they do! There are all sorts of lovely inspiring words about how I’m going to feel, or how they are thrilled to help me, but their actual services or location? I have to scroll WAAAAAY down the page to find that key information!

It actually can even feel disrespectful to those potential clients – why are they wasting my time trying to find this information???

Your website visitors don’t have a clue where to click.

Seriously – how do I take the next step? Or there are so many buttons with different things I could i have no idea where to start. Our brains LOVE simplicity. Just tell us what to do and we’ll do it!

Your website visitors not only don’t stick around, but they also talk poorly of your site to others…

Your reputation means everything. Word of mouth is your best source of ideal clients, and if someone has visitied your site and another friend mentions you, do you think they’re going to talk about how awesome you are? Nope. They’re going to say – “I checked them out but…”

Like it or not, your reputation is shaped online AND in-person. You can be the best wellness practitioner in town (or the world…), and if your online presence doesn’t match the quality of your care, people WILL go elsewhere.

You get less new leads for your wellness business

Less leads = less clients. Ultimately the more people who inquire on your site, the more people will ultimately hire you. Your website is an absolutely key step in converting someone from interested to sold.

I want you to consider how many others there are in your region providing similar services. If they make it easier for potential clients to learn about what they do & take action, they WILL get that lead – not you.

And… every lost lead is also a lost source of potential future great word of mouth referrals after they finish working with you and rave about you to all of their friends.

Is It time for a new website? A website refresh?

If you read the above and can already see key ways you are missing out on great clients due to a so-so website, it is likely time for a new website, or at least a serious refresh. After all, the average lifespan of a website is around 3 years! Hey — it may be scrapping the whole thing and starting from scratch.

Reach out today to begin the conversation about working with me on your new website. We can work on your home page messaging with a StoryBrand marketing & copy package, or do a full redesign to take your whole site to the next level!

HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Hi there, I’m Sarah Juliusson, and yes I really am a Website Doula. I support your practice growth with creative website design, seasoned business guidance, and plenty of great resources to help you find your way. With 12 years in web design, and another 20+ years as a health & wellness pro, I believe in the value of your work as much as you do. Get started today with a Free Discovery Call!

- Sarah Juliusson (she/her), the WEBSITE DOULA