Last week I asked readers to share a link to their website over on the Connected Comedy Facebook page. I was thrilled with the response – more than 100 of you shared a link to your site. As I browsed through all the sites, I was a little less thrilled as I realized how many of you are missing huge opportunities with your sites.
I decided to go back and choose 50 of the sites that you shared with me to look at randomly and make some observations that I hope will help you get more out of your websites. So, here’s the four most common mistakes (or missed opportunities) that I saw.
1. Why Doesn’t Anybody Have An Email Mailing List?
For what it’s worth, I think the most important thing you can do to build your fanbase is to capture email addresses of your fans. So, I was blown away by the fact that just about none of you even attempt to collect email addresses on your websites.
Of the 50 sites I looked at, only 3 of them had any kind of mailing list or email signup form on the site. I know that a lot of people underestimate the importance of email, but I’m shocked that such a vast majority of you completely ignore the idea of building a list. In my opinion, the most important thing you can have on your site is a way to capture people’s emails and yet most of you don’t even attempt to do so.
And even the three people whose sites have some kind of email form typically have it buried and don’t offer any real incentive for people to join. Talk about a huge missed opportunity.
By the way, if you’d like to take some steps to correct this problem, here’s the tool I recommend you use to build and manage your email list.
2. Why Aren’t You Creating Content On Your Website?
The second biggest mistake I see on your websites is that most of you don’t bother to create any content on a regular basis on your website. Of the 50 sites I looked at, only 13 of them have posted content within the last month. And when I say “content,” I mean that in the broadest sense – a blog post, a funny picture, a video, anything.
The vast majority of your sites are incredibly static – you’re using them as glorified Yellow Pages ads that people will visit once (maybe) if they need some basic information about you, but will never come back to. I understand that for some of you that’s all you want out of your website, but the reality is that you’re missing a big opportunity.
Today’s technology allows you to essentially create your own newspaper, magazine, book, radio station, and TV channel all in one place and at virtually no cost on your own website, but you’re basically choosing not to take advantage of it. By not regularly creating content, you’re not giving people a reason to visit your website, or giving your fans an excuse to spread the word about you, or creating ways for new fans to discover you.
If you’re not creating content, you’re choosing not to implement the most powerful weapon you have to grow your fanbase and your career.
3. Why Are You Trying To Make Money On Your Website Before You’ve Got An Audience?
I noticed several of your sites are running Google ads and/or have a store selling various merchandise. I don’t have any problem with either of these things and I don’t begrudge you trying to monetize your work, but most of the sites that had these didn’t have any fresh content or mailing lists on them. And, while I can’t see their actual traffic, I guarantee you that they aren’t getting much traffic.
I don’t understand why you would put the time and effort into creating a store on your website, or annoying visitors with ads, instead of putting that time and resources into creating something that will attract new fans or please the ones you have. Ads and merchandise have their place, but you should only employ them after you’ve started to grow your audience first. Provide value to your fans before you start trying to monetize them.
Plus, when a new visitor goes to your website and gets accosted with Google ads, what are you really saying to them? That you’re out to entertain them or that you’re out to make a quick buck off them? Something to think about…
4. When Was The Last Time You Checked Out Your Own Site?
Of the 50 people who sent me links to their websites to check, two of those sites were broken and didn’t work. That means that a whopping 4% of you were sharing links to a website that wasn’t even functional, which leads me to wonder how often (if ever) you actually bother to check out your own website?
I know that it’s only two people, and maybe it was just a random occurrence, but that’s still kind of disturbing. On one of the sites, the hosting for the site had clearly expired and I guess the person whose site it is didn’t even realize that they no longer had a functional site?
Here’s a tip that I’m sure will be the easiest bit of advice I ever give you on this site – if you have a website, you should make sure that it actually works before you tell people about it.
If you checked out some of the sites people posted on my Facebook page, I’d love to hear your thoughts about what you saw in the comments below…