There is a strong probability that you use the internet on a daily basis. This means you should have a pretty good idea of what a bad website looks like. However, when it comes to websites its important not to judge them on looks alone but rather the overall experience they provide the end user.
I have put together what I think are some of the top reasons why your website may not be delivering the results you expect.
1. Your web address is hard to say, remember or spell
This is something that everyone has experienced at some point. It is best to avoid words that require a potential customer to have to look up the spelling of one or more components of your website’s address. If your business has a generic name, attempt to avoid consonants and double vowels (eg. weddinggarden or homeentertainment). Hyphenated names like kingswood-cafe or car-repair can also be problematic as people often forget to include the hyphen.
2. You ask too many or too little questions
Every website should have a contact form, but it is important to get the right balance of information. Make sure that any contact form you have on your website is simple and requires minimal input from visitors. If you ask for too much personal information you will likely scare some people away.
On the other side of things though make sure at a minimal that you ask for a phone number, full name, email address and a brief description of why they are contacting you. If you do require more information make sure to explain why you need it.
3. It gives people headaches
While the prevailing trend is toward clean minimalist website designs, some websites still have over the top animations. As well as long blocks of text, inconsistent look and feel, odd colour schemes, poor navigation and slow downloads. All of these things create a poor user experience that detracts from your brand.
4. It ignores search engines
The internet is a crowded place and so search engines are an integral part of how a potential customer finds a website. When search engines send their “spiders” (robots that go from site to site indexing content) they look almost exclusively at text. So it is important to make sure that your website has an adequate amount of text on each page.
Eye candy, particularly on older websites can look amazing to the human eye but very hard to interpret by a search engine. At times, this eye candy can be created in such a way that it traps or confuses a search engine’s spider.
5. It comes across as lifeless
A website is a 24/7 365 day sales channel for your business, not a hurdle that can be passed and forgotten about. Websites require constant maintenance, monitoring and general management.
Now the exact amount of time you should dedicate to these tasks is going to vary based on the function of the website as well as the business you are in. In some industries you may be able to get away ignoring your website for 6-9 months at a time. The important thing is to make sure that website visitors aren’t left wondering if the business still exists.
You want your website to remain relevant to your business’s brand, services, people and environment.
6. It’s all about you
The content on your website should be tailored to your customers, not yourself or industry peers. It is easy to fall into the trap of writing content that is littered with corporate speak, jargon or boasting about your business. Of course, if the product or service you are selling is intended for a technical audience of a niche industry then by all means.
In general, the content that a website has should be engaging, credible and persuasive. This means answering the question on most customers minds “how does this benefit me?” Then write it in the simplest possible terms. Make your message is as concise and clear as possible, with a touch of personality.
7. Using Click here and similar wording
If you are using “click here” to entice users to follow a certain path on your website, your message is not clear enough. End users will naturally follow a link on a website if they feel it will help take them where they want to go.
In addition, adding context to a link not only improves the experience for your customers but also helps search engines understand where a link goes to and its function.
8. You pay someone to make small changes
It’s ok if you just want it done quickly and to a high standard, but it’s no longer necessary. If you are in the market for a new website make sure that it has a Content Managment System (CMS). It will allow you to easily update a website’s content at any time of day without any programming knowledge.