With all the talk of SEO, mobile, content, social media, etc. these days, it’s easy to lose sight of your website’s overall design. After all, the way your website looks and functions has probably undergone many changes over the years as you respond to and keep up with all those trends. Unfortunately, when someone arrives on your site, they typically make up their mind within a few seconds as to whether or not they are going to stick around. These 12 mistakes may be what is driving them away:
Problem #1: Your website is hard to read.
The Fix: This isn’t a novel. Avoid long walls of text. Break them up with descriptive subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists. Stick to fonts and color schemes that are easy on the eyes.
Problem #2: Your CTA (Call to Action) is hard to find or click.
The Fix: Include a CTA at the top and bottom of your page so that consumers who are ready to buy or learn more can click ahead as quickly as possible. Make sure the CTA stands out from the rest of your content. Make sure the CTA is big and easy to click, particularly on your mobile site.
Problem #3: You have far too many animated images.
The Fix: Cut back, plain and simple. Images are a must, and some animated images may capture attention, but too many of them can slow down your site’s loading time and be distracting from your content.
Problem #4: Your contact information is hard to find.
The Fix: No one wants to search for your phone number or contact form. Make sure it’s in a noticeable spot on your home page. Make sure you have a contact page. Consider adding it to the footer on your landing pages.
Problem #5: Your site appears cluttered.
The Fix: Users prefer a site that is usable more than anything else, and clutter takes away from usability. Keep your layout simple, keep your look consistent throughout your pages, and don’t be afraid to leave some white space between various design elements.
Problem #6: Your website looks like it was created in 1999.
The Fix: Internet users from 5 to 105 are so savvy these days that they can tell if your site hasn’t been updated since Clinton was president. Keep up with the times, take a look at your competition, read some web design blogs, or consider hiring a web designer to help you make some updates.
Problem #7: Your registration form is longer than the SAT.
The Fix: If your registration form has so many questions that the user feels like he or she is back in high school taking a test, you need to eliminate some info. You may also consider a tiered approach to asking questions rather than asking them all in one long column.
Problem #8: You have broken links.
The Fix: Clicking on a link that leads to nowhere gives off the impression that you don’t care about keeping your site up to date. Every few months, check for broken links and fix them.
Problem #9: You don’t have a search box.
The Fix: Your site needs to be easy to navigate, and sometimes even that isn’t enough. A search box can help a customer find what he or she is looking for almost instantly. Make sure it’s front and center.
Problem #10: Your site has too many pop-ups.
The Fix: Google doesn’t like pop-ups and has even warned web designers not to use them. Furthermore, if they prevent your users from getting to what they want to see, they can be frustrating. Get rid of them.
Problem #11: Your images have nothing to do with your product or service.
The Fix: Images are a must. They capture attention, but you need to make sure you’re not using photos that are irrelevant to your business. For example, if you sell pet products, there’s no need for a generic stock image of a woman sitting at a desk with a headset.
Problem #12: You have too many misplaced ads.
The Fix: Ads may be one or the only way you make money with your site, but too many of them can be frustrating, especially if they are flashing or popping up all over the place. First, stick to ads that would appeal to your target audience. For example, if you have a site where you share recipes, an ad for kitchen appliances is going to make more sense than one for the latest Justin Bieber CD. Second, take a look at your site yourself and see if the ads prevent you from seeing your content in a timely manner. If so, change them.