Whether you're a digital or 'bricks and mortar' business, you'll need a website that works for your venture and which helps people discover your offering. These days, it's rare that people make a purchase without looking online to see what's out there. Of course, SEO is important, it's how people will find you online. However, that's not the only important factor.
What do customers experience when they interact with your website? While you'd like to think it would be a positive experience, this isn't necessarily the case. Many companies inadvertently have websites that their visitors don't like, for one reason or another. In this blog, we'll take a look at some examples of things that people don't like about websites, and what you can do if you're guilty of any of them.
What's going on?
There's always a temptation to do things a little differently when you're developing your website. You want to make things exciting; you don't want to be like all the rest. While creating a unique USP is a fine goal, there are some areas of business where it's worthwhile just following other people's lead. Your website is one. If your site is too complicated, people will get confused. If they land on your site and can't navigate it or don't understand what your website is all about, then there's a problem.
It's slow to load
People are impatient, but sometimes it is justified. We get used to standards, and if a website isn't as quick or responsive as customers expect, it's unlikely they'll stick around too long. So, take a look at your site and check the speed. Remember, the speed you get may not reflect the experience of your customers. A website can load at different speeds depending on the browser being used and the location of the user. So, consider doing an in-depth check to make sure that it's speedy for everyone.
Nothing of value
It's tempting to think that your website is all about your company, but this isn't the case. It's about your users. Of course, you will use your site to shout about all the good things you have been doing, but that's not all you should promote. You'll also want to create value for your visitors. Because if you don't, then why would they visit?
There are plenty of websites out there. If customers are going to take the time to visit yours, you need to give them something worthwhile. The type of content you offer will depend on your type of business, but typical options include blogs, ebooks, videos, tutorials, and general help articles. This doesn't just make people appreciate your website; it also helps to establish your expertise and credibility.
Pop-up ads have been around for ages. They used to pop-up everywhere but these days we have collectively agreed that they're annoying. That's not to say you shouldn't use them; the issue is how many there are and what they're being used for. One pop-up ad for a new ebook is absolutely fine. A pop-up on every page with a tiny 'x' that's difficult to spot? That's a different matter. It's about treating your website visitors with respect.
And talking of annoying features of the web: what about autoplay videos? Most people hit the 'x' button as soon a video begins. There are some advantages to incorporating autoplay videos into your website, but these advantages are outweighed by the downsides. Just as with pop-up ads, it's about respect. By all means, include videos but make sure customers can decide whether to watch it or not.
Your website should be a hive of information. Everything that your visitor needs to know about your company should be there. While minimal design is fine, you need to include certain key information. There's no place for mystery when you're trying to engage visitors. Is your 'about us' page fully completed? Do you have an FAQ section? Is it obvious why your website exists and what your business provides? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then it's time to get to work.
Your website will be an introduction to your company and should provide everything that a visitor would need to know. But sometimes customers may have a question or issue that is specific to them, one that can't be addressed on your site. Does your website make it easy for your visitors to get in touch with you? Listing different contact methods is one of the best ways to improve visitor engagement. You should have your email address and phone number listed. You'll also want to incorporate web chat software so that your visitors can quickly send you a message if they need help. It's all about making it easy for your visitors to contact you when they need to.
Stock imagery tend to be generic and cheesy...not fit for a respectable website. If you're going to take the time to put together a high-quality website, then don't make it look cheap by using stock image photographs that people have seen a million times before. It's not all that expensive to buy licensed photographs. If you're on a budget, then look at the best websites for royalty-free images.
Customers can never remember the name
This might be a minor detail compared to other items on this list, but it's worthwhile taking a look at your website name. Is it easy to remember? Is there any confusion about what the words in the URL are? A person might love your website, but they won't be back anywhere near as often if they always have to turn to Google to remember the name of your site. Of course, this is something that's easier to change if your website is relatively young, but you can change at any time. Just remember to set up a redirect from the old URL to your new site, so visitors hit a dead end.
Clickbait articles and SEO
No one like to admit it, but clickbait article titles did have their place. Who could resist clicking on them? But then they became annoying when they were used too frequently. If people come to your website, you don't have to lure them in with clickbait titles. Treat visitors with more respect.
Similarly, it's grating web content that's clearly been written solely with SEO in mind. It's important to rank well on Google, but it's even more important to provide an excellent user experience for the people who do visit your site.
Finally, check your website for errors. Are there any? It's a good idea to periodically check that all your links are working. There's something deeply unsatisfying about wanting to read an article, only to receive the '404, page not found' message. It's also worth going back through old blogs to check that all the internal and external links still work. Although these are comparatively small errors, and big errors will be more damaging, they can undermine perceptions about the quality of your site.
There's no such thing as a perfect website. But there is such a thing as a bad website. If your site has any of the problems outlined above, you should take the time to address them as soon as possible. Any one of these issues can cause you to lose visitors, and ultimately, customers. But happily, all of them can be fixed relatively quickly. Make the changes, and you'll soon find that your visitors have a much more enjoyable experience with your website.
Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler