Trueline has created websites for companies big and small, so you can believe us when we say, we’ve seen a lot of website mistakes. By now, everyone knows their website needs a responsive design and to use quality photography. Outside of ignoring the mobile experience and using cheesy stock photos of smiling couples, there are a number of mistakes we see again and again.
Here are the seven most common website mistakes we see companies making every day—and how to avoid them.
1. You Aren’t Considering Your Users’ Intention or Experience
Users come to your website because they are looking for something specific. Make it easy for them to find.
You should consider the user experience when planning your initial website design as well as with every update or revision. A Google search provides users with a wealth of opportunity to find what they’re looking for. If your site doesn’t immediately show them that they’re in the right place, they’re likely to return to their results to click the next link.
Additionally, a well-designed website will consider the user experience. Is the text too small to read? Are ads popping up in awkward places? Is the navigation difficult to find? Your website may offer your customer their first impression of your company, what do you want it to convey?
2. You’re Missing Your Target
Be sure to spend more time talking to your audience to address what is important to them—instead of speaking about your own accomplishments or your company’s agenda. Encourage conversations, build relationships and gain trust. Listen to your customers.
Don’t try to speak to too many audiences. You need to know who your customers are and talk directly to them. If you try to make your message apply to every business or every market, you risk watering down your message or worse—it may seem like you don’t even know what you’re trying to say yourself. Keep it simple.
3. You Don’t Have Clear Calls to Action
You’ve managed to do the impossible; you’ve got a potential client to view your website. Great! Now what do you want them to do?
Whether you want them to make a purchase, subscribe to a channel or initiate contact, you need to clearly steer them in the direction of a logical next step. To do this effectively, you should consider what stage in the buyer’s journey your visitor is in. For those seeking information, provide a link to a blog post or button to subscribe to your newsletter. For users who are considering their options and are looking for more specific information, direct them to a free whitepaper download. Those in the decision-making phase should be able to easily find contact forms, webinar links or a buy now button. An effective website will present something for every viewer regardless of where they are on the buyer’s journey.
4. Your Navigation is Clunky or Disorganized
This is one of the most common website mistakes we see. When a website is first launched, oftentimes great care and consideration was placed on the navigation; how it was laid out and how it was presented. But businesses grow. A company may need to add new pages in order to promote new products and services. Over time, what was once clear, clean and intuitive—becomes cluttered, disorganized and confusing.
Your navigation should be easy to find regardless of what device your users are on or how web-savvy they may be. When users see a page title in the navigation, they should have a strong sense of what they are going to see when they click. Make sure the title or description isn’t misleading. If a user becomes lost on your website, you’ve likely lost them as a client.
5. You’re Overlooking the Opportunities Presented by a Blog
A blog allows you to cater your message and deliver it on a regular basis. A dated blog tells your visitors how often you update your site—in other words, how relevant the information is that they’re collecting. A post from last week is more likely to be deemed “timely” than a post from three years ago. Also, a blog allows you to personalize your site and interject some warmth, humor and personality. If you enable comments, you can create a dialogue with your visitors and that can go a long way towards building an audience.
A blog is the easiest way to create fresh, relatable content on a regular schedule—keeping your site fresh and up to date. It is also one aspect of a marketing plan that many companies outsource. If you’re unable to produce a well-written post, you should certainly consider farming the task out to a professional. A seasoned writer will be able to create engaging headlines and titles while creating content optimized for SEO that still conveys your business’ personality, tone and message.
6. Your Site Isn’t SEO Optimized
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) needs to be factored into website design from the very beginning. How easy is it for Google to discover your website? The bots that crawl your site not only read what your content is saying, but also how it’s structured. Headlines should utilize H1 and H2 tags and content should utilize well-researched, long-tail keywords. Just as important as considering how users interact with your site—is the consideration of how bots read and interpret your site’s content. If a bot can’t determine what your page is about, it won’t be able to present your site to users who search for terms relevant to your industry.
On-page SEO is essential to getting your website found by new audiences. Thoughtful content can help your website gain traffic, rank higher on Google result pages, educate your audience and drive engagement. Click here for more on how to optimize a blog post for SEO.
7. You’re Not Using Analytics
One of the biggest website mistakes to avoid is not looking at the data available about your users and their behavior on your site. Google Analytics is free to use and offers valuable insight (beyond the basic page views and bounce rate). It’s a vital resource that can be your best friend when it comes to gauging the success of your website goals.
We were surprised to learn that according to W3Techs, only 49.1% of all websites have Google Analytics installed. And of that 49.1% many never actually use the data to track conversions, build goals or assess a campaign’s reach. Measuring and analyzing your Google Analytics allows you to accurately measure performance and optimize your digital strategy.
So, are you guilty of committing any of these offenses? If so, don’t worry, it can happen to anyone. We’re here to help you navigate the web and avoid making costly website mistakes. Trueline is a full-service marketing and web design agency that specializes in creating innovative solutions for our clients. We can help you build a new web presence for your business or upgrade an existing website. Contact us today for a free website consultation.