Do you sometimes get the feeling that your website could be better?
You look around at other business websites and think, “Hey, that looks great!”
But then you come back to your own website and are not sure where to begin making changes.
Yes, you know which websites you like—but how do you make your own business website mirror those great qualities?
I look at lots of websites every single day while at work, when I’m at home…day and night. So I’ve had some time to pinpoint a few of the places websites excel—and where they fall down, too.
Today, I wanted to share those 8 common mistakes I see on business websites as well as how to make them go away.
Mistake #1: Too Much Information
Ever been to a website that gives you information overload? It’s not uncommon for a business to try and cram all of their important information right on the home page of their website.
However, the goal of your website is to help the viewer find the information he or she is looking for—not all of the information at once.
And since research shows that people read websites in an ‘F’ shape pattern, you want your website to be simple, clean, and easily digestible for those scanning readers.
Instead of jam-packing one page, try these tips:
Have a top navigation bar that clearly explains how to find different information
Use call to action buttons to help the reader easily find conversion points
Employ a clean, simple design aesthetic
Mistake #2: Not Mobile Friendly
If you’re like me, your mobile device is a lifeline. When you need to look something up, pick a restaurant for dinner, or find a movie time, you reach for the phone or tablet.
We’re not alone in that habit—60% of Internet access happens on mobile devices and 74% of mobile users say a mobile-friendly website makes them more likely to revisit the site.
Which is precisely why a great website is a mobile-friendly website. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to pinch and enlarge to read information that’s not optimized to fit the dimensions of a mobile device.
The good news: Sites like Squarespace and Wordpress allow you to build and customize a website from mobile-friendly templates.
“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” -Peter Drucker
Mistake #3: Difficult to Navigate
The truth is: When a viewer can’t figure out where to find the information he or she needs, they’ll go find it somewhere else.
Hence why it’s important for your website to have a logical process and flow. It should be easy for the people viewing your website to find the information they’re after.
While you might think a more complex web design with stylized (but not necessarily user-friendly) elements is a better fit for your brand, it could be doing more hurt than help.
So who does it well? Take a look at a few of these websites that were voted ‘Best Websites of the Year’ by Time and notice how simply you can navigate your way around. These should give you an idea of how your site could be re-worked to be more user-friendly.
“You can have information and ease of use and have artistic integrity at the same time.” –Mike Davidson
Mistake #4: No Call to Action (CTA)
Conversions. Actions. That’s what a website is all about, right?
You want your viewers to act on the information, products, services, etc. you’re offering on your website, so employing a CTA (typically in the form of a button) is how you encourage that activity.
Buttons make it easy for the consumer to take action. Visually, they stand out from the page in color, size, and design, so they’re great for catching a reader’s attention.
Websites that don’t use CTAs miss out on the opportunity to connect with possible leads.
There are many ways you could use a CTA on a website. Some popular CTA buttons invite users to:
Subscribe to an email list in exchange for a free resource (eBook, template, etc.)
Get in touch with the business to ask about products or services
Download a helpful toolkit by submitting an email address
Mistake #5: Outdated Information
Sometimes it might seem like keeping up-to-date information on your website is more hassle than it’s worth.
But when it comes down to it, your website is a reflection of you and your business.
A website with old, outdated information says to the viewer, “I’m spread too thin and can’t keep up with this,” or, “I don’t think my website customers are that important.”
Your website needs to be accurate—and if you can have fresh content added from time to time, that’s not a bad thing, either.
How to fix it: Do (at least) a monthly audit of your entire website to make sure all information is correct, your staff roster is updated, there are no broken links, etc.
Mistake #6: Weak Copy
You know those websites with confusing, overly wordy, jargon-filled text? Are those the websites you find most effective? Probably not.
Let’s face it: Writing can be really, really tough. Weak copy happens to the best of us. And it comes in many forms:
Too many words used to describe a simple concept
Overused words that become repetitive and boring
Meaningless words like “custom business solutions” (Who knows what that actually means?)
Unfamiliar words that only make sense to those who know the jargon
Too few words (not being descriptive enough)
Luckily, there are a few easy fixes for copy that leaves something to be desired.
Hire a copywriter to re-write your copy for a fresh start
Work with an editor to fix up your existing copy
Have an outsider read your copy and make suggestions for increased understanding
Mistake #7: Poor Design Elements
Think a website is just an online place for people to find your business information?
It’s much more than that.
It’s an extension of your brand—so the design elements there need to fit with the overall look and feel of your branding. There are a few main areas of detail you’ll want to examine when looking at the design of your website.
Your font choice(s) (stick to three different fonts or less) say a lot about your brand. Comic Sans, Curls, and other distracting fonts should be traded in for simple, easy to read sans-serif fonts.
Stick with a single color palette and keep the design uniform across all pages of your website. Adding in too many colors can take attention away from your information.
Think simple, clean, and uncluttered. The easier your website design is to digest, the more effective and navigable it will be.
_ “The details are not the details. They make the design.” –Charles Eames_
Mistake #8: Not Including a Blog
Wait! Before you give the internal eye roll at the mention of a blog, hear me out.
Blogs are a great resource not only because they organically boost your Search Engine Optimization, but they’re an easy way to start a conversation with your audience, too.
Blogs can be written on a variety of topics:
Behind the scenes at your company
The best part: It’s up to you how often you post there. As long as you’re updating your blog at least a few times a month (and not just letting it fall to the wayside), it shows you’re dedicated to generating fresh content for your internet customers.
Your website is an important part of your business—so a few quick changes could go a long way.
Keep these common mistakes in mind (and make sure they aren’t affecting your website traffic, too!)
Your Turn: Maybe you have other suggestions to include. What’s missing from this list?