From an outsider’s perspective, your website might not be delivering the message that you thought it was. But you love your website, it represents your online business perfectly or so you thought.
Here are some of the most common website mistakes that we see businesses make when creating their own website, using a cookie cutter design site or hiring an amateur designer to create it for them — and how to fix it:
1. Designing for the “Cool Look” Factor
You want your online business to stand out from all the others out there, so you design your logo and your website with lots of flair, bells and whistles. Figuring that a flashy design will stand out and stick in people’s minds.
While people may think your site looks great, they won’t remember what your service or product is all about. They might not even grasp your concept while they’re on your website, causing them to hit their back button or move on without a second thought. Ouch.
What to do: Attracting a potential customer is hard enough. Grabbing their interest and retaining them is even more difficult. It’s important to design your website so that user frustration is kept to a minimum, thereby maximizing customer retention. Make sure to focus on explaining what your business does and how your business can help those potential new clients/customers.
2. "Overwhelming" your Visitors
In an effort to tell visitors all the reasons they should choose your business for services or products they are looking for, you might be going overboard with the look and feel of your website, which in turn can cause more harm than good.
Too Many Ads - Constant ads that pop, flash and fill the entire browser can make your visitor annoyed, frustrated and enrage them.
What to do: I am not saying don't run ads on your website, I am saying that running ads on your website can be a great way to monetize, but be tasteful and discreet in your approach to displaying your ads.
Bad Navigation - A huge frustration with a website visitor is a website that's hard to navigate. Users can feel helpless, confused, or angry with complex and inconsistent navigation. Not the emotions you want a potential client/customer to be feeling.
What to do: Creating your navigation to be logical, intuitive and easy to understand. Try grouping navigation in a central area also creating a site map can be beneficial.
Choose Of Colors - Many websites today clearly reflect the negative effect of bad color choices. People often choose colors to 'dress-up' their site without any regard to their site’s objectives. Choosing the wrong color combinations can be a disaster for your website and can potentially annoy or upset a visitor. Color choices can also be an issue for older visitors and those with visual impairments. Certain color combinations may also affect the readability of your website, photos with background color can lose their effectiveness and too many colors can create discord and will distract the user.
What to do: If it is within your budget, do hire a designer. The color palette of your website can have a huge impact on conversions of clients and customers. Color harmony is the most important criteria when selecting colors for your website. Certain colors work well with specific types of businesses. Knowing the different types of colors and their potential meanings can help clear up the negative effect of bad color choices.
Poor Legibility - Bad typography, excessive typos and misspellings contribute to poor legibility and ultimately a poor user experience.
What to do: If it is within your budget, hire a designer. They know the ins and out of this profession and the general tone of your website can have an enormous impact on conversions of potential clients/customers.
Bad Content Structure - Bad content structure can destroy your conversion and retention rates. Make sure your important content (contact info) is easy to find. Many sales are lost because the potential clients/customers can't find what they are looking for.
What to do: Don't make visitors have to search for your important content. Group similar content in a clear, concise manner. Consider using bold and or colored headings in addition to highlighting certain key information that visitors may be searching for on your website.
Obtrusive Use Of Audio And Video - Having video and audio play automatically can potentially drive visitors away. Most people value their ability to choose what content and information to absorb.
What to do: Give visitors the option of viewing video and hearing audio content- don't force them. If you decide to play a video or audio automatically make sure there is a visible way to exit out of the video and audio.
The Registration Requirement - Often times forcing a visitor to register before they can view your websites content creates a barrier between the visitor and your website. This can and may cause your visitor to go somewhere else for what they are looking for.
What to do: Avoid creating barriers between your visitor and your website. If you insist on your visitor registering to interact with your website, then try to give them a sample of what they are signing up for. Offer a demo or a preview.
Boring Content & Boring Design - You want to create a memorable experience for your visitors. Having a dull website that has no purpose or interactivity will not create a memorable experience for your visitor. Visitors will most likely not return to a website if they have a negative experience.
What to do: Hiring a Web Design Firm to build you a beautiful, responsive and clean website design is never a bad idea. If your budget doesn't allow you to do that, consider ways to enhance your visitors experience. Updating your design and your content to give your website a fresh look and new information. Also add features that are updated on a regular basis.
Too Many Options - Customers like options, but not too many options. They can soon become indecisive about a decision and then decide to go somewhere else. When it comes to designing an effective website, keeping the visual options to a minimum this will result in a better conversion rate.
What to do: Instead of packing your website with the 20 different reasons why they should try your product or your services, focus on the big three main benefits that your business can deliver. Keep your website and message crisp, clean and clear.
3. "Mobile and Responsive Design" On All Devices
So, your website looks great on your computer. Congrats! Question is have you tested it on a variety of different types of devices? These days those potential new clients/customers view and search on the internet with many different mobile types of devices. You should consider making your website design responsive and or having a separate creative mobile design done for your website.
What to do: This is defiantly something to consider before you hit publish for your new business website, but it’s worth going back and checking different browsers and devices even if your site is live. Hire a professional Web Design Firm.
4. Don't let visitors walk away with nothing!
Some of the visitors who find your website will not always buy your products or services. That is just how it works — but it doesn’t mean that you should let these potential clients/customers walk away and never to return.
Instead, make sure you have a simple and prominent way for them to stay in the loop with your business’s progress. Allow them to contact you and also join your Social Media, email list, face-book, twitter, blog, ect. In doing so, this helps build a current and future relationship and provides them with more details about you and your business.
What to do: Consider creating free content in the form of articles or videos that you think will be of interest to your ideal clients/customers. No one can turn down a highly targeted freebie that’s designed to help solve or inform them with their exact problems.
**Note: If you haven't already joined in on Social Media sites for your business, then definitely make that a priority to do so.
5. A "Sample" Offer
Speaking of freebies, do you have anything on your website that people can get or try before they buy? Depending on your products or services, you should be able to offer a "freebie" or "sample" before asking them to commit to a purchase and enter in their credit card details.
What to do: Offering potential clients/customers a "freebie" or "sample" will help them get to know you and the types of products or services your business provides. Try offering a free trial, free articles, free product(s), free additional or initial service and be generous – Everyone loves to feel like they are getting a deal and offering a "freebie" or "sample" is one of the best ways to get those potential client/customers open to buying your products and services.