You’d think that by now companies would have their website design nailed down. Smooth, seamless, and effective, right? But surprisingly, plenty of companies are still using websites that are outdated, clunky, slow and downright frustrating for users. If you’re worried your website might be driving traffic in the wrong direction, here are some website mistakes to avoid making and website design tips so you can improve your site and customer experience at the same time.
1. Slow Loading Websites
Average site loading times have generally decreased over the years, but Google tells us it’s still not enough. If your website takes between one and three seconds to load, your bounce rate goes to 32 percent. Up to five seconds of loading time? The bounce rate likelihood goes up to 90 percent. That’s major – and can mean the difference between an interested prospect and an annoyed one who quickly moves on to a competitor’s site. If you want to improve your site loading time, work with an expert who can help you make changes to cut it down.
2. Too Much Website Copy
When it comes to websites, more text is not better. There’s been a recent trend toward simplified, minimalist sites – and for good reason. Even if you want to tell visitors everything there is to know about your brand and products or services, they’re probably not going to read it, and it might scare them away. Keep your website copy concise and straightforward. Offer opportunities for visitors to drill into deeper information if they wish, but never make them sift through a sea of text if they don’t want to.
3. Copy that Isn’t Targeted
You can’t be all things to all people, and your website is no exception. Even if you have three or four buyer personas, it’s very unlikely your website can effectively speak to all of them at the same time. Some brands try to make up for this by using overly generalized messaging, but this backfires and won’t serve you either. One of the best website tips is to choose your most ideal persona and use your site to speak to people in that group alone. Alternatively, you can provide different sections of your site for different personas, but you must make sure you do this in a very clear way or it can quickly become confusing.
4. Highlighting Features Over Benefits
Businesses love their products and services, and oftentimes see their websites as the place where they can brag about what they do without restraint. Yes, you need to convey why your brand is the best, but listing off all your product features isn’t the way to win a customer’s heart. Reframe your copy to be about the benefits your customers will enjoy when they use your product or engage with your service offerings. This will make the site about them, which will connect with any audience much more effectively than a site that’s all about you.
5. Missing – or Unclear – Calls-to-Action
The purpose of a good website is to share information and deliver opportunities for interested parties to follow up and hopefully become your next customer. If you don’t have obvious calls-to-action (CTAs), you’re not maximizing this important tool. Include a webform that a visitor can fill out to request a free consultation, or point visitors to an e-book download. And always, make sure your CTAs are aligned to your larger goals.
6. Too Many Stock Photos
There was a time when stock photos were a wonderful thing, and they still can be useful. But it’s very irritating and alienating when you go to a website and see one cliche stock image after another. A homepage with “nondescript man and woman smiling at a white board,” followed by an “about us” page with “overdressed group of people laughing around a conference table” – ugh, no thanks. We’ve all seen enough of these, and most consumers are ready to move on to fresh, real imagery. Try to use original photos whenever you can, and if you must use stock photos, choose ones that don’t look overly staged or cliche.
7. Website is Lacking Functionality
If you want to turn away potential customers, try to put some sort of sophisticated functionality on your site that only works every once in awhile. Of course you wouldn’t do that on purpose, but unfortunately nonfunctioning website features are still pretty common. It’s far better to keep your site simple than to get overly ambitious, and end up creating a calculator that won’t do what it’s supposed to or a page that freezes every time someone navigates to it.
8. Annoying Pop-Ups
Pop-ups are almost as bad as robocalls, and we think most of your buyers would agree. It’s so frustrating to be clicking through a site and continue having pop-ups block your view. If you want to use one pop-up in a strategic place, go ahead. But don’t go crazy with these, and if they’re not essential, we recommend avoiding them altogether.
9. Incomplete Contact Information
Hard to believe someone would spend time putting together an entire website, and then fail to include contact information, isn’t it? But it happens all the time. Some companies may simply forget to be thorough in this section of their site, or some may be trying to route questions to one communication channel instead of multiple ones. Either way, it can aggravate visitors so much so that 44 percent of them will leave a company’s website if there’s no contact information or phone number. Sales require customer interaction, so make sure you have the support to handle customer questions through a variety of channels.
So, how does your website stack up? Contact us any time to get our help fixing website flaws or improving your marketing strategy.