With the popularity of social media and email marketing, many businesses treat their website as an afterthought. The site might promote their brand, but most of the sales process takes place elsewhere. A quality website can have numerous benefits for a business though, acting as a branding tool alongside other promotional elements. While it is easier than ever to build and publish a site, it is crucial that the site is designed to provide an exceptional user experience, while also ranking in search engine algorithms. The following mistakes can be found on many business websites, potentially damaging long-term results.
1. Navigation Issues
Navigation is a crucial factor in web design, but it is common to find awkward features that are not friendly to users. Navigation is typically found in a horizontal position at the top of the page or vertically on the left. While it may be tempting to re-imagine navigation, in most cases it is best to avoid trying to be different as users may struggle to find important pages. Limit the number of pages you include in the navigation, placing the important links first. Also, make sure the page name in the navigation describes exactly what can be found on the subsequent page, reducing dissatisfaction from users.
2. Slow Loading Times
One of the biggest issues raised by website users is slow loading times. Even a matter of a few additional seconds can drastically reduce satisfaction levels and you may lose these visitors quickly. There are various tools for testing speed, with Google offering their own option. Make sure you routinely test loading speeds to ensure your server is operating efficiently and your site is not bogged down with coding issues.
3. Messy Design
There can be a temptation to highlight all the different elements your visitors might be interested in. You could showcase products, testimonials, social media feeds, images, and more on the home page where most people initially come to your site. However, this approach can be counterproductive, actually leading to a high bounce rate. Effective web design will include lots of white space and only the most important elements. You can then direct users to other pages to show less important information that is relevant, ensuring interested users can easily find them through the navigation.
4. Lack of SEO
Even if SEO is not a primary promotional strategy, it is important to set up your site using good fundamentals. SEO might become an important traffic strategy as you naturally gain backlinks. However, this result is unlikely without considering basic optimization. Include relevant page titles, using appropriate keywords in the title and body copy. Make sure the URLs are readable, avoiding any generic code or random digits. There are many different factors within the search engine algorithms, but setting up your site well from the start allows you to focus on these later.
5. No Call to Action
Many business websites go into great detail about their operation and products. However, they forget to include a call to action that actually encourages visitors to take the next step. A number of call to actions are required across the site, advising people what they should be doing. It may appear obvious to a business owner, but visitors are encountering your site for the first time and are looking for guidance. You could direct users to a product page, highlight your contact form, add a live chat facility, use a subscription box for an email list, and any other strategy that helps secure leads and make sales.
Your website is an important part of the sales process, even if you don't use it as a checkout point. Consumers will often visit the main business sites, looking for signs of security and authenticity. The site can be used to promote your brand, telling the story of your business and highlighting positive reviews. Search engines are also looking to promote sites that meet their criteria, so your search marketing will be impacted by the site as a whole. Fixing these mistakes might feel small, but they can play a big role in your success.