There are more people than ever doing business online. The marketplace of labor is an increasingly fragmented one, with sole traders and small businesses springing up on a daily basis to offer their services on the internet. That means more competition for you, whatever industry you work in, all the time. As most of your potential customers will do their research online before deciding to buy from you, it’s more important than ever that your website is a cut above your competition.
If you’re new to the world of business, you have an opportunity to get it right first time. If you’ve been trading a while, you may have paid big money for a website a decade ago and then left it static since. That’s just as bad as having no website at all. The style and fashion of web design changes constantly, and an old website sticks out like a sore thumb. In either event, research has indicated that most potential customers will look at your site for no more than ten seconds before deciding whether you’re worth more of their time. First impressions count more than ever, and it’s crucial that you make a good one. With that in mind, here are five common web design mistakes that you should avoid.
- Letting Content Linger
There are some aspects of your website which should remain the same for the long term, like your ‘contact us’ page, your ‘about us’ section and the majority of your products and services. The rest of it should see regular alterations, including your homepage. There are a couple of good reasons for this, but SEO is one of them. Recent changes to the way Google’s page ranking algorithms work mean that it’s not only the quality of your content that’s monitored, but the frequency at which it’s updated. The best way to go about this is to introduce a blog. Not only does a blog give customers the chance to develop a more ‘personal’ connection with who you are and what you do, every time you update it, it counts as fresh content and will help you maintain a good standing in Google’s search results. Aim for 500 words per blog as a minimum, and make it interesting!
- Staying Off Social Media
We know a lot of people hate social media, and if you’re one of them, we’re really sorry to break this news to you. You simply have to have a social media presence if you’re going to be considered as a relevant and modern company; especially if you’re a start-up or a newcomer to the market. A lack of social media suggests that you’re old or behind the times. This doesn’t just mean Facebook and Twitter anymore either; you’ll be expected to have an Instagram account and perhaps even a Pinterest page, depending on what you do as a company. The good news is that including your social media feeds on your website also counts as fresh content, so if you update regularly, you’ll also help your pages to rank. Also, it’s another way of potentially connecting with customers. There’s no way a huge corporation can respond individually to every customer who sends them a message, but you may be able to.
- Lacking Clarity Of Purpose
Sometimes, it can be too easy to listen to a web designer or graphic artist’s concept of what your homepage should look like. Yes, a backdrop of an infinity pool or a desert oasis is pretty, but is it really an appropriate choice if you’re running an accountancy or an insurance brokerage? A potential customer should be able to see exactly what you do within the first three seconds of arriving on your website, without having to read anything. Online slots websites excel at this; they exist in a cut-throat market where competition is fierce, and they don’t have time to waste before they get to the point. Looking at the roseslots.com website, everything you need to know is right in front of you within seconds of logging on. There’s a registration link at the top, a ‘call to action’ offer below that, and then a list of online slots. It’s simple, it’s to the point, and it’s effective. If your customers have to watch ten seconds of animation before they can even get to your page, you’ll lose them.
- Not Having Analytics
How do you know how your website is effective? If you’re getting no customers through it, then you have a clear indicator that it isn’t, but if you are, you probably think it’s doing fine. Are you sure though? How many of the people who arrive on your website actually go on to buy? Are the people who do buy from you only a tiny fraction of the visitors you receive? You’ll never know that unless you give yourself the chance to analyse the data. Google Analytics is free, and it gives you all the facts and figures you’ll need. How many of your visitors are new to your site? Which pages did they look at? Which links did they click? How long did they spend there? That’s the sort of data which tells you which aspects of your site work, and which need refinement. That refinement process is what leads to better conversions. We’ve seen it said that three-quarters of new businesses don’t have any sort of analytics process for their website. Don’t be one of them.
- Going Over The Top
You probably have a thousand reasons why you think you’re the best choice for customers in your field, and why they should choose you. Because of that, there can be a tendency to overload a homepage with too much information. That can mean client testimonies, pictures of you, paragraphs of text about what you do, pictures of your products, explanations of those products, directions to your address and more. If it’s too noisy, none of it will come through clearly. Have the confidence to know that an interested customer will click on the relevant sections of your website to find the information they want to see, and keep the homepage minimal. Have an image that sums up what you do, along with your company name, motto and contact details. Above, below or around that, arrange a set of links to the other information you want customers to read. That’s as much as a homepage needs to do.