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Study finds many NZ business websites to be slow and self-obsessed

30 Jan 2019
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New research has revealed New Zealand businesses aren’t going about their websites in the best way.

Digital marketing agency Insight Online conducted an informal six-month study of 60 New Zealand websites, which found that at least 80 percent are slow, generic, and verging on being narcissistic.

“We graded the websites between one and four. Almost all of the websites we graded made the conversation about themselves instead of their customers’ needs,” says Insight Online head Kim Voon.

“Most of the websites graded were also loading too slowly and less than five per cent actually had a clear purpose and call-to-action.”

The aforementioned scale used to mark the websites is below:

  • Grade 1: A generic brochure site;
  • Grade 2: A brochure site with a blog or news section and a newsletter sign-up;
  • Grade 3: A website with a good quality, regularly updated content, video, and some online activity intended to drive traffic to the website;
  • Grade 4: The website was integral to the sales and marketing funnel. It had a clear purpose, email sign-up, strong social channels and a clearly defined conversion funnel.

“Around 80 per cent of the websites we graded fell into grade one and two; probably about 15 per cent were in grade three and five per cent qualified for grade four,” says Voon.

“Recent research out of the UK by eCommerce agency PushON found that a quarter of business-to-business (B2B) customers shun websites with poor website usability. Another UK study found that 36 per cent of leaders are unsure about their 2019 digital marketing strategy – and I’d say the same issues apply in New Zealand, if not more so.”

Voon says life is easier for business-to-consumer (B2C) websites to earn a return-on-investment as they bring in higher volumes of traffic, but B2B websites in particular need to pick up their game.

“Most marketing managers understand that the website is integral to their sales and marketing function – because they know that ‘customers’ are ‘checking them out’ – but many lack clarity on what purpose they want their website to perform,” Voon says.

Voon has provided three tips for New Zealand websites wanting to take it a step or two further up the ranks and achieve more sales:

1. Give your website purpose

“People often think that a web presence is enough, but that’s a lost opportunity. Give your website purpose – whether it’s to educate, capture email addresses, book consultations or sell product – and then work out how you can point the entire strategic intent of your site towards achieving that purpose,” says Voon.

The next thing to do, Voon says, is to audit the website to ensure it is fit for purpose in attracting the right kind of customers, capturing them for the appropriate amount of time, and finally leading to action – not to mention comparing well with competitors.

2.  Align your website to that purpose

“Don’t put up a blog or install the latest chat bot just because everyone else is doing it. Instead, once you understand the purpose of the site, make every page, every piece of content and every call-to-action about achieving that purpose,” says Voon.

“Many websites fail because they try to be all things to all people. That’s a mistake. No website can do everything, even trying to get it to do one thing well is a challenge!”

3. Make it about the customer

“Narcissistic is a strong word, but that's what society thinks about people who are only interested in talking about how great they are… and websites are no different,” says Voon.

“A good website is one that is tailored to the customers’ needs, wants and interests. What you want and what your customer wants aren’t the same thing.”

Finally, Voon says not all websites have to be at grade four to profit, as the level of your competitors plays a big part.

“For example, industrial and manufacturing company websites can get away with being at the grade two level, but B2B services and consultants need to be at level three and four to get ahead,” Voon concludes.