A website is the internet’s window to your business. It entices and intrigues users, beckons them inside, and can often be the difference between long-lasting success or failure.
You may have been told that a pretty site with plenty of exciting features would be enough to interest your brand product or service users. But that’s not entirely true – it needs to look and work well, too. By identifying what can go wrong with your website today and avoiding these potential problems, you will be able to grow your visitor count.
If you’ve recently launched a new website or have one in the works, now is the time to think about how it will be perceived by your audience. Your website is your most important marketing tool that should be easily accessible and inviting to each of your prospects. A great website can only get you so far if it doesn’t address many of these common blunders that can cause users to browse elsewhere.
Be it poor usability, slow performance, poorly optimized content, or a website that just looks outdated – the symptoms of a bad website are easy to spot. But fixing a website that has fallen into disrepair is harder. The purpose of this blog post is to help you avoid these common mistakes and optimize your website for conversion.
1. Target audience not clearly defined
There are a lot of concepts that need to fall into place for your website to succeed, but in order for it to achieve the goals you set to meet your vision, your target audience must be clearly defined.
A website is only as good and effective as its market. Sometimes, a website tries to speak to too many audiences. If you try to please too many types of customers, you’ll end up with a muddled website.
If every communication from your brand sounds like it was written by a chameleon that can adapt its colour at will, no one will know who’s writing or what they stand for. This eventually leads to a loss of trust in the brand and it doesn’t matter how great your product or service is.
So, it’s important to understand who your target audience is and what kinds of websites they visit. By analysing your competition and paying attention to how your target audience engages with other content, you can create a site that speaks directly to those customers.
Remember: Your website’s most valuable asset is its visitors. It is a canvas for your brand and a way to make a great impression on your customers.
2. Bad website layout/structure
Many small businesses are still making pretty the same common mistakes: Long blocks of text without any breaks for the eye or the mind, and a lack of intelligently used white space.
A bad website layout will confuse your users or will be just plain ugly. Neither of which anyone will want to look at. Make sure your website is easy to scan for visitors.
Big pictures with short bits of text are great. This way when your site visitors won’t mind scrolling because they can spot the information on the page and don’t have to skim an entire page to find out what it’s about.
Readability is essential in web design — that also means the font and text layout of your website. The contemporary reader expects to be able to scan paragraphs to get an idea of the topic flow, so make it easy on them.
The following tips will help you improve your content’s readability:
- To make your content easier to scan, choose larger font sizes for titles and section headings.
- Make paragraphs short (no more than four lines).
- To avoid the monotony of long paragraphs, use bullet points or block quotes.
- Make use of visuals to illustrate your points and communicate information faster. You can also just use them for fun to pamper your visitors.
Make sure your brand website is mobile-friendly as well. The user’s experience will be negatively impacted if your site is not tailored for their smartphone.
Having a website that is not mobile responsive (automatically adjusts well to all screen sizes) means you will lose out on a significant portion of potential clients.
3. Cluttered page
Once on your site, visitors should clearly see the brands and benefits of doing business with you. When this information is hidden away or isn’t immediately apparent, they’ll leave.
A cluttered web page is one of the most common reasons websites have high bounce rate. Keep your content, graphics and calls to action simple. Clutter can come in many different forms, but it’s typically text-based.
Moreover, too many images, text, and other elements on your website will make the page load slowly, which will confuse your visitors. As much as possible, avoid busy designs.
Keep your website clutter-free by following these tips:
- Everything on the page that does not contribute to its purpose should be removed (non-relevant links, dormant images, and meaningless typography).
- Don’t focus on too many things at once.
- You should avoid clashing colours and patterns.
- Minimise the use of colours and fonts.
4. Hidden navigation and annoying drop-down menus
Another common mistake with websites is the use of drop-down menus. They are annoying and aren’t that easy to navigate through. Ensure your website has simple navigational features, like tabs and a clear URL structure that’s easy to follow.
As a consumer, you know how annoying it can be to try to navigate to a company’s website and get distracted by pop-ups, drop-down menus and other “irritants.” Those same problems can hurt your business if you don’t pay attention to them.
Navigation is important. It’s what takes your visitors from one area of your brand website to another. It breaks up the content, and it helps the visitor figure out what to do next. There are several types of navigation that you can use, but they all work toward enhancing the user experience.
When used correctly, navigation tools will direct the user around your site easily and allow them to get where they want quickly and painlessly.
5. Boring and unengaging content
Content is the bread and butter of your site. It is important that it serves a purpose. This means that you need to analyse what content needs to be on your site, where it fits best, and what will give visitors pertinent information about your business or website.
Your homepage should convey a clear message. There’s an old saying in the marketing world: The only bad content is boring content. The truth is, no matter how well you can write, if your content is boring, people will just leave and go somewhere else.
Your website should be engaging, interactive, light, relaxed, inviting, and easy to navigate. This type of website keeps the focus on serving the customer without losing their interest along the way.
Visitors aren’t going to spend a lot of time looking through your website seeking basic information, so your homepage should be able to convey three things instantly:
- What’s your brand name?
- What products or services do you offer?
- Why should they patronise/buy from you?
First, be clear, then be clever (if necessary). In terms of copy, plain and simple always wins over overly creative, vague content.
6. Thin content/information
On the other end of the spectrum are websites with little or no content. A huge trend in design right now is minimalism, and it can work when used properly.
But the more information you can provide on your website, the better. Simply put, your content needs to be easy to read, interesting and engaging.
Some business websites try to be too clever and the homepage comes off as vague in the process with little or nothing said. That is yet another major blunder. Visitor’s want to know who you are and what you can offer them.
If your website relies heavily on simple images without any clear direction, you’ll leave your visitors confused and they’ll lose interest quickly.
7. Fluffs and empty words
It’s a common mistake: including fluffs and empty words in your content. It might seem like harmless bits of text, but they are useless.
Content on your website can serve a variety of purposes, such as entertaining visitors, informing them, evoking emotions, or prompting them to act. But if you fill it with gibberish, jargon and other filler elements, you waste everyone’s time and money.
This particularly applies to meaningless text. So, rid your website of fluffs like these:
Buzz words. The truth is your visitors cannot really make sense of empty, overused words like “top-notch solutions,” “innovative strategies.” There’s nothing specific about them. So, be clear in your communication. Use words that create a mental image in the mind of your visitors.
Things that are obvious. There’s no point, for example, writing “Welcome to our website!” Your site visitors know you’re happy they visited.
8. Poor quality or irrelevant images
A picture is worth a thousand words, and images are sometimes the difference between a person clicking away from your site and staying to browse through more pages. Use the highest quality pictures that you can.
A website with low-quality images will turn visitors off. Similarly, images that don’t convey what you want readers to know will only confuse them.
9. No credible customer testimonials
You can tell everyone how great you or your product are, but if you’re the only one talking about it, it won’t mean a lot to your website visitors. They don’t really know you yet, so you won’t have their trust right away.
So what can tilt the balance? Believable positive customer reviews.
Customer testimonials are a fantastic way to boost your credibility with potential customers. There are many reasons why they are so powerful. Testimonials act as social proof which increases your trustworthiness in the eyes of visitors. They put you on a pedestal to speak about your firm, product or service in the positive.
Even if your business hasn’t successfully completed any major project for a couple of big-time clients yet or been featured on a high-profile website, you can put up a few honest testimonials from friends in exchange for some free consultation.
Here are a few ways to add brand credibility to your website:
- Add testimonials, an extensive list of your clients and the logo of the media that has covered you, awards, certifications, etc.
- Your testimonials shouldn’t be buried on a testimonials page. Whenever you make a claim, make sure you put them into context.
- It is important that you include a name, a headshot and a professional title with your testimonials.
- The only thing worse than no testimonial on your website are vague testimonials. The testimonials must be concrete. It should demonstrate how a problem was solved or a fear eliminated and the client’s specific benefits from using your product or service.
10. A call-to-action that is unclear or confusing
People are online to take action (i.e., buy, download, call you, etc.), that’s why they are on your website in the first place.
A lot of brands make the mistake of not making their calls to action on their website clear enough. The best websites give clear instructions on what people should do next and offer actions centred around the main goal behind the page.
Even with the most compelling homepage copy, if you don’t clearly communicate what you want your visitors to do after they’ve read it, you will be missing out on valuable business opportunities.
It is, however, important to know there’s a thin line between being helpful and being irritating. Ensure your brand or business CTA is specific and straightforward. Limit the amount of form-filling on your page, and let them spend a few minutes on your page before the CTA appears.
What can you do to ensure your CTA is effective?
- Ensure that your homepage includes a call-to-action button at the end of every section. For example:
- Add a “Get a Quote” button at the bottom of the services section; and
- Include a “Get in touch” button at the bottom of the page.
- Keep your CTAs apart from each other.
- It is also important that your CTA copy makes sense out of context. It is not a good CTA if it just says “Info” or “More”.
11. Not prioritising your ‘About Us’ page
Summarise your brand story with your ‘About Us’ page, complete with your physical and digital contact information. You always want to communicate your brand’s story well because it is one of the main keys to piquing the interest of your site visitors and they considering doing business with your brand.
You should put a good effort into your ‘About Us’ page, the one place where you introduce yourself to your website visitors, tell them about what you do, highlight your brand’s USP, and hopefully form a good relationship with them so that they become future customers.
12. No clear contact info
Another common mistake is omitting contact information or not making it easy to find. It is vital to sustain the interest of site visitors once they decide to place an order or use your services. Once they decide you are a good fit for them, it is vital they can quickly see your business contact information.
A business prospect will become frustrated and leave your website if they have to search for your contact information. You should have the link to your “Contact Us” page at the end the bottom of your CTA and each section on your service pages, in addition to being at the footer of every page.
Improve your site and user experience with these steps
Your brand website must provide a good experience and look good if you don’t want to get lost among all the other ones out there.
To help your business stand out online, you need to choose a reputable SEO copywriting + web design agency such as NaijaCopy to create your website.