Your brand’s website often introduces your company to potential clients. It is also key to retaining existing customers. Your site is the 24/7 face of your business and deserves your best attention and efforts. An amazing website will help you attract, inform, educate and entice visitors to purchase your products or services. A poorly designed website can be damaging to your brand and your bottom line. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.
Not Mobile Friendly
A responsive design is essential for any business. A responsive website adjusts the way it displays to properly present your content based on the size of the screen on a mobile device. Flexibly sized elements are coded so no matter what type of device a user has, the text, images, graphics, and navigation will function as intended. Responsive websites also work properly on any browser being used. These features ensure the best user experience possible which is key to retaining current clients as well as gaining new customers.
The average visitor to your website will spend only seconds viewing a page to determine whether or not they can find the information they are seeking. Confusing navigational options will send them clicking away almost immediately. Vital information like products and services being offered or contact information must be accessible with a minimal number of clicks. Keep things simple and limit your main navigation options to six or fewer and use labels that are clear and concise. Your menu is not a place to be creative. “About Us” will be better received than “Unicorn Sparkle Team”.
Not Providing Contact Information
Best practice is to feature contact information on every page, either in the header or footer. This is in addition to a full out “Contact Us” page that offers a direct email form and all of your contact information. Provide a phone number, email address, mailing address, and social media account information. Let people have an abundance of choices regarding how they might contact you and then diligently interact with the visitors who reach out. Contact information all over your site also adds legitimacy as far as search engines are concerned.
Leading Visitors Away from Your Site
Internal links can open on the same page a visitor is working on because it is easy enough to back up so long as you provide breadcrumb navigation at the top of your pages. External links, however, should be set up differently. When a link on your website directs the visitor to another site, set up the link to open a new window or tab to show the other website. This makes your site readily available without the visitor having to click the browser’s back button a number of times. All they have to do is close the new tab or window or simply return to your site with a single click.
Ambiguous Calls to Action
Providing clear and concise calls to action is the best strategy for increasing your conversion rate. Base the text on your call to action button based on the goal for the given page whether that is to gather an email address, initiate contact, or sell. Your calls to action should have a bright, dedicated color, large, legible font, and be available throughout each page, regardless of where the visitor has scrolled to. It should be an easy task for a visitor to complete the desired action. Don’t lose a potential client because they can’t figure out what to do next.
Not Providing Prices
If the pricing for your brand’s offerings is straight-forward, there isn’t a good reason to not feature prices as part of a product page. When the answer to, “How much,” requires an answer of, “It depends,” it can be difficult to offer a price list for your products or services. If you provide no-cost information, you are missing an opportunity to interact with a customer who gets annoyed by not being able to comparison shop you with competitors who do offer price points. It also benefits your company to show potential costs as this helps qualify leads and, theoretically, saves your staff time and effort of interacting with tire kickers. If it truly, “depends,” post possible price ranges or example pricing accompanied by a “this price includes these features,” type of message.
Using a Poor Choice of Keywords
Search engines use algorithms to determine the relevancy of websites to given search terms. You need to place highly relevant keywords and phrases in your website content and code. Integrate words you know potential clients will use as they type a query into their search engine. Use both industry related terms and laymen’s terms if you cater to both markets. Proper choice and use of keywords will ensure that the search engines are effectively matching your company with users looking for products and services such as those you offer.
Over Stuffing with Keywords
Yes, there is such a thing as over-optimization when it comes to keywords and phrases. The algorithms used by Google and other search engines will readily identify web pages that have extraneous keywords stuffed into the page content. This practice will eventually lead to those pages being removed from search results. Read your content out loud, even alt text on images, to make sure your keyword usage sounds natural in spoken language.
Not Fixing Broken Links
Links that don’t work project a shady image and will quickly damage your online reputation. Broken links are frustrating for visitors to your site and many will leave for good after the first error message pops onto the screen. To provide top-notch user experience, check your links on a regular basis to ensure they are connecting properly. You can also default all 404 errors to your website’s home page to handle any issues that come up between checks. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that a website with too many broken links will cause search engines to perceive your site as low-quality.
Not Keeping Information Updated
For the sake of your brand, don’t advertise a 4th of July special from June through November. Updating content is a time-consuming task but it is also paramount to providing a high-quality resource to your current and potential customers. It should also be noted that websites with fresh content rank higher in search engine results.
Poor Choice of Font
While you may love the fancy fonts (script or serif) with curly loops or finishing strokes on the ends of figures, those fonts make it difficult to read content. This is especially true when a visitor is using a smaller device like a phone or a tablet. “Sans” in sans serif is French for “without”. Use fonts like Verdana and Arial that are “sans-serif” for greater clarity of the text.
Content by Goldilocks
Did you get the literary reference (or just roll your eyes)? Too much information on a web page is just as much of a negative issue as not enough information on a page. The desire should be to neither overwhelm nor frustrate visitors with your content. Keep verbiage concise and simple to capture and maintain a reader’s attention. Just be sure to include all of the pertinent details so the visitor doesn’t have to go searching through your site for basic information because odds are good that they will look elsewhere before they search through more than a couple of your web pages.
Getting Off Topic
To provide visitors with a solid and effective understanding of who you are and what you do, be consistent across all of your online pages and profiles. Talking about your passion for llama rescues is fabulous for the “About the Founder” page but shouldn’t get its own space if your business is involved in setting up exercise facilities. If your brand has multiple interests, they can all be featured on your homepage with prominent click-through buttons to quickly get visitors to the branch of business they are looking for. On topic content practices also help search engines determine the relevancy of your website to search engine queries.
Not Speaking to All Parts of the Funnel
Customers need to hear a message that is prescribed specifically for where they are in the customer journey. If all of your content is focused on convincing the visitor to buy, you may turn off the user who is simply exploring choices at the moment. You also want to make sure you provide information that speaks directly to returning clients who are already familiar with your brand and offerings. We’ll offer a quick refresher with examples of content for each part of the funnel:
Customers in the awareness phase will be most impacted by educational webinars, blog posts, infographics, etc.
Customers in the consideration phase might need to see some product comparisons or case studies.
Customers in the purchase page are ready for trial offers, demos, full product pages, and special offers.
Returning customers in the retention phase will appreciate your newsletter, blog posts, and social content.
Posting Low-Quality Images
Images and photos used on your website need to be crisp and clear. Blurry or pixelated images should not be used. This is one area in which a little money for a professional photographer goes a long way, especially if your business includes an online store and you post original photographs of your products. There are a number of free online databases that supply photos which are copyright free. Those images are also a fine choice if you are looking for a less specific picture. Just stay on this side of the copyright line and avoid using random pictures from the Internet. It makes you look unprofessional and can cause legal issues for your business.
Forgetting Your Audience
Just as with other aspects of your business, it is essential to understand your target audience. Every piece of your online presence should feature the characteristics and attributes that will effectively deliver your brand’s message to people who need to hear it. Spend time on social media and interactive forums to familiarize yourself with your target audience’s language patterns and topics of interest. Use your website to speak to the people who will help your business grow and thrive.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing are well-versed in best practices for website development and design. We can help your organization offer a website that makes a positive impression and clearly communicates the value proposition of your brand. Contact us today to get started!