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July 9, 2024

Can a Website Hurt Your Brand?

By John Caruso 4 Minute Read

Yep, it sure can. Websites have a powerful ability to send your company on a skyrocketing trajectory of success, or they can seriously hamper your overall brand awareness and reputation. In this blog, I’ll give you the low down on some of the website woes to avoid, and some suggestions on how to improve your website so it avoids turning users away, and starts adding qualified sales leads to your pipeline. 

Most of the websites that we come across that are in need of help, typically originate with a mindset that websites are something that are started and completed. Our agency strongly couldn’t disagree with this more. While it’s easy for a digital marketing agency to suggest working on your website forever, there is a reason we suggest it. Advancements in technology have drastically increased the speed at which business changes. This has a reverberating effect on how businesses need to portray their services, products, or information related to their organization. The need for consistent updates and improvements is paramount for alignment between sales and marketing. If your website isn’t reflective of those, and your sales team is now selling something that your prospect hasn’t read or been made aware of through marketing, this misalignment can cause friction in sales conversations and contribute to lost opportunities. 

The first area where a lot of companies miss the mark is content. Content is one of the most critical components of any website. If your content is bland, inconsistent, or missing, chances are that potential sales prospects, or active sales conversations visiting your website will have a more difficult time building trust in your organization. Your website content should include easy-to-understand writing, at a level at which your buyer personas can quickly grasp what you do, how you do it, and why it may be valuable to them. Our agency follows the inbound marketing methodology which aims to provide our target audience with helpful and relevant content that gives our clients or potential customers enough information to understand what we’ll do for them, and why we’re experts. This helps build trust with them to rest assured that they’ve found the right partner for the job. Content requires a balance between being simple to understand and avoiding being overly complex. Think about your audience or reader and cater your content to their desired level. 

Overall visibility of your content and website are the next important tenets of increasing your brand visibility. Most of these issues arise from missed steps in the construction of the website, a lack of understanding of how search engines work, or simply overlooking key factors. Search engine optimization is how search engines determine and show what content a user is searching for based on context, and also how helpful others have found this content. Making sure that your website includes best practices to ensure your content is available to these search engines is a step that I often see missed. Ensuring that your website is being indexed by Google is a great step. You can do this through a variety of tools such as Google Search Console, or other paid tools like SEMRush or Screaming Frog. If your pages are being indexed and you have no traffic in Google Analytics, it’s likely that you don’t have enough content or quality content. Our agency’s approach to Inbound Marketing helps organizations consistently add and improve their content every month. This increases your chances and ability to rank well for a variety of topics and search terms that their audiences may be searching for. Quality content will help to position you as the expert who can help. One final key area to consider in this area is mobile optimization. Mobile website viewing today has overtaken desktop search. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile or is lacking a mobile layout overall, chances are you’re frustrating some of your potential visitors, and worse, Google is likely penalizing you. 

Inconsistent branding is another common pitfall we see. When brand consistency is overlooked, it can be a silent or unnoticed effect. By that, I mean that subtly website users will feel like something is off, missing, or out of place on your website if your brand's usage and styles aren’t consistent. You won’t notice this effect immediately, and no one will likely tell you, but over time you’ll see users tending to bounce from your website instead of converting. Ensure that you use all of the same size fonts, weights, colors, and layouts to keep your website consistent. If you lack this, you’re probably losing potential visitors who may have otherwise converted or continued reading your content. 

Security and site speed are other important factors for website trust. Expired SSL certificates will give warnings to visitors that your website is unsafe or unsecure and impede their ability to directly view the content they are after. Make sure you keep these up-to-date. In other areas of security, you’ll want to ensure that your website hosting server is protected from data breaches, or being hacked. Use a trusted or reputable source to ensure your website won’t fall into the wrong hands. While we’re on the topic of servers, site speed is often tied to your host server. Our agency always suggests a dedicated server with minimal other websites on it. This helps you avoid slow loading speeds while other sites are experiencing heavy traffic. In addition, a dedicated server with reputable websites will help you avoid search engine penalties for being on a hosting server with other less-than-savory websites. 

Website accessibility is another important factor at play. Users with disabilities need to be able to access information on your website. This is an ADA compliance requirement and without considering accessibility, you can suffer from a poor brand reputation or expensive legal action. 

In summation, websites are ever-changing, living, and breathing representations of your business. While maintaining your website can require ongoing effort or capital, in our opinion, it’s an investment that should be made and the benefits can be wonderful. Your website is a direct reflection of your organization and is often doing work for you when you are not. Keep it up-to-date and polished, and you’ll start or continue to see yields. If you have any questions or would like us to review your website, please contact me below. I’ll be happy to give you suggestions on ways you can improve! 

John Caruso
About the Author
John is the Director of Business Development at Vendilli Digital Group. Outside of work, you can find him fishing, hunting, or canning vegetables from his garden.

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