Website Mistakes that Could be Fatal
When it comes to your website, it is paramount that it is as good as you can have it be. Your site is often the first point of contact that you will have with a user, so if they have a terrible experience here, it can have a drastic impact on the likelihood of them even considering you, let alone using your services. Bearing that in mind, there are a few important mistakes that you should take special care to avoid making on your website. Below, we’re going to take a look at what these are and why you should avoid these at all costs!
Avoid Stock Photos
Your website is supposed to be a representation of what you are about: your core, your values and your ideas. And nothing will betray the identity more than the use of generic, bland stock photos to pad out your website. When you use stock photos, you are effectively saying to everybody that you don’t know yourself, you don’t know what you want to do and that you don’t know what your audience is. They don’t convince your users because they give the impression that you don’t care about what you are doing. The only thing that stock photos do is tarnish your brand in the minds of your users.
The best thing to do is to spend a bit of money to get a photographer on board to get you some original, professional quality photos. If you do this and give the photographer an outline of the brief and what you are trying to project with the images, they will be able to fill in the blanks to get you what you are after. Original content on the internet is valuable, and your images are a huge part of this. Invest in yourself and your website, and you will reap the rewards further down the line.
Don’t Have Inconsistent Branding
So, we have managed to steer your website away from looking generic. The next step for us is to steer your website now away from being confusing. An essential element to having a great looking, useful website that keeps your visitors engaged is to have a consistent user experience. There is nothing more jarring than if your website feels like a different site between every page that you visit, as this will deter users and almost disorientate them from the experience that you are trying to put across. Further to this, at a simpler level, it just appears plain unprofessional if you can’t provide a consistent website. Also, take the time to register a trademark to further build trust.
Branding is key to your website standing out from the rest, and one of the critical elements of branding is consistency. If your colour scheme on the homepage is red and white, this should be the colour scheme throughout the website. Use the same fonts, same size and consistent conventions across the site to give a uniform, yet seamless experience for the end user. But branding goes further than these cosmetic guidelines and includes less easily defined elements such as the tone of voice and the way you behave. If you have a light-hearted and funny brand, don’t switch your tone between articles as this will confuse users as to what your brand is about. And as with ruling out stock photos, remember that your website promotes your values and your voice. Everything on your site, from the headlines and images through to the minute details such as font size and colour should all be put together with one question in mind: Does this fit your brand? If you’re not sure, try some online courses that teach you about marketing your brand with sites like Upskilled.
Be Mobile Friendly
Your website looks great, all your brandings is aligned to represent you best, and you’re ready to go live shortly. But have you catered to all your users and the many possible devices that they could use? From mobile phones, tablets, games consoles and even smart watches now, the internet is accessible in so many ways, and your website needs to be accessible and optimised for all of these.
Mobile users interact differently with a website compared to people who access the same websites on their computers or laptops, which means that your website needs to reflect these needs. It is said that the cost of a click on a mobile device is very high, meaning that if a mobile user clicks on your website and is not able to quickly locate the information that they are looking for they will be less likely to come back to you. You need to ensure that mobile users can easily find information that they are looking for or they will just go elsewhere!
Furthermore, because of the ease with which people can look at other options now (or even have their digital assistants search for information for them!), it is more important than ever to make sure that your website is optimised for mobile users as well. If they visit you, you then only have a small amount of time with which to capture and keep your user’s attention. Don’t squander it by having a poor mobile design that will encourage users to abandon your page!
Make Sure Your Website is Fast and Responsive
Tied into having a mobile optimised website is the need for your site to be fast and responsive. Studies have shown that for business websites, a delay of just one second in the response of a page can lead to a 7% reduction in the conversion rate of potential customers. The old saying goes, time is money, and if a customer feels like their time is being wasted on your website, you are leaving money on the table.
While this presents a definite monetary loss to business websites, a non-responsive website is still a considerable problem for standard use as well. Poor loading speeds and confusing layouts are just as off-putting on these types of sites too, and 74% of users will get only up to 5 seconds for a website to load before abandoning it altogether. With the quicker loading times that are expected as standard now, don’t let your site down by having an everything hidden behind a slow and unresponsive page.
Make Sure to Avoid Bad Content!
Now with all of this said, taking all of the steps to have a great looking and responsive website is utterly useless if you don’t have the content on your website to match what you are trying to do. Content is the most crucial part of your website and will play the most prominent role in the success or failure of the whole thing.
Your content should be properly researched and relevant to your market and, in line with what we previously advised, should fit with the branding and voice of your website. Companies like eVoice do this very well. But the secret to good content is that you can’t write every piece of content for every single user of your website. The adage that you can’t please all of the people all of the time applies to your website as well. If you do try to go down the route of making your content one size fits all, you will end up with generic, bland copy that only serves to bore your audience. You need to have dynamic, engaging content that makes your audience want to come back to the website and to use your services. Good content can keep visitors and even grow visitors if it is good enough that people want to share. Sharing content is one of the key drivers of internet use, and if your content is good enough to connect with your audience and add value to their day, people are far more likely to let other people know via a Facebook share or a retweet on Twitter.
However, there are a few pitfalls to remember regarding building content. Avoid keyword stuffing to increase your search engine rankings, as people will be able to see through this. At face value, your content will be difficult to follow and a struggle to make through, but people will note your attempts to manipulate the system and presume that your website is deceptive or even malicious. Furthermore, nothing turns a user off more than the use of slideshows! They negatively affect the perception of your website, they slow down performance and more importantly they don’t get enough interaction from users. All studies have shown that interaction with slideshows falls drastically after the first slide, with some even showing as little 1.7% interaction with slide 2. Slideshows are a nuisance! If you do have to use one, don’t have more than a couple of slides and don’t set it to play automatically. Users like having some control and don’t want to feel like they are trapped by a never-ending slideshow.
This outline of the fatal mistakes to avoid in the creation of your website should stand you in good stead to have a well-functioning, engaging site that provides excellent user experience and adds value.