Discover the 13 biggest mistakes we've uncovered on people's websites, and how we solved them.
01 28, 2020
by Paul Hogden
Table of Contents
Had you considered that your website, the very thing that you have created to promote your business could be losing you sales right now? Had you thought that visitors may not even be able to find your site – let alone decide if you’re the right business for them. Have you been disappointed in the lack of enquiries from your website? Are you like many other businesses and believe that you just don’t get enquiries through the internet?
Are you serious? Enquiries that come from online sources are stronger than ever. If you’re not getting enquiries from cyberspace – have you considered that your website might not be up to the job? Be honest, when was the last time you invested time in your website?
If you’re not getting enquiries from your website you need to ask why. If you’re confident that your products or services sell in the real world, then there is no way you shouldn’t be getting enquiries from the virtual world.
Here are 13 of the biggest mistakes we’ve uncovered on people’s websites – number 3 is a real punch in the bread basket.
You’re not getting found
If you’re not getting found, then you’re unlikely to have many or any site visitors. There are quite a few different reasons. It can be as simple as your site hasn’t been picked up yet – because it is really new, or, it could be that you’ve not set your robots.txt up to allow the BOTs to crawl your website or they weren’t set up properly when the site was uploaded.
Essentially the search engines don’t have any timescales that they work to – therefore, if your site is new and you haven’t informed the search engines about the face that the site has been updated or replaced, it may take several weeks or months before they find it.If this is the issue, it can be rectified by using the search engines designated“webmasters” interface. This is what Google used to call their dashboard interface. This will allow you to upload the site map and also notify search engines about specific (or all) pages on your website.
A quick way to find out if site has been added to search engine but is just not simply showing up for any search term is to type in the url of the website for example https://flok.marketing and see if your latest website pops up. If it does – it is probably more to do with the page optimisation or that the site is so new – the search engines haven’t optimised it yet.
Unsecure website – no ssl certificate
It has been drummed into web users that all websites need a certificate to prove their authenticity. Having an SSL certificate(ask your webmaster or hosting company for more information) means that data is encrypted for the purpose of the journey through cyberspace. This means that if you send your personal details, until it reaches its final destination, it will be almost impossible to read – until it is introduced to the de-crypto on key at the end of its journey. Please remember not all SSL certificates are the same!
The higher the level of encryption (not always, but often) and also the higher the levels of assurances you will receive from the certificate issuer. This is more important for businesses who sell ticket items and e-commerce. If you are sending rudimentary data, then a lesser certificate should suffice. But always check with an expert first. You may be unnecessarily spending a lot of money on something that is simply not required.
Not having an SSL certificate may throw loads of warnings on your web browser – particularly Chrome – who prevents you from accessing a website until you click various messages to acknowledge that you’re entering a possibly un secure website. This doesn’t look very appealing and is likely to put off most website visitors. Check your user experience to make sure this isn’t happening.
There is no accounting for taste – that is what we’re told. But honestly there are some websites against humanity that really need removing – forever! Badly designed sites that is the equivalent of spraying lemon juice into your eyes. Designs that have you reaching for the bucket rather than reaching for the phone.
Make sure that the most important points for visitors is above the fold (i.e you don’t have to scroll to read it).Statistically, only 40% of people scroll – so putting your killer offer at the bottom – means almost no one will see it.
Some people simply shouldn’t be allowed to design websites. Sometimes – the sites are so strangely designed that you simply can’t find your way around them. Others are badly designed or designed in such a style that they’ve disregarded the last five years of website advancements. Whatever the reason, it is always best to use what I call – can granny work it test. Sit down with someone who is not linked to your business and ask them to navigate to the most important pages. As them – if they understand what they’re doing and why. If you’re getting sketchy answers, you may need to look at the design.
Sometimes, we sit too closely to the issue to be able to see it – sort of hidden in plain site. It is important that your site is designed intuitively. You want people to find exactly what they’re looking for – with as little ambiguity as possible. Trust me, they will move onto another website if your websites design isn’t clear and concise. The design can be a bit out there – as long as it doesn’t feel alien. If it does –people may leave your website with a bemused look on their faces. More importantly, they’re unlikely to return in a hurry.
Not mobile friendly
Somewhat surprisingly, there are so many websites that simply don’t work on mobile devices. Worse than that – there are many business owners who believe that just because a web page shrinks to be shown on a website – that means that their website is mobile compliant. Please allow me to confirm that a tiny web page on a mobile device is a friend to no-one. Trust me when I write that nobody will consider your site to be mobile friendly in that instance.
The ideal is that the website is designed to seamlessly change from a desktop format to a mobile format without missing a beat. It probably means that if your website was designed more than five years ago, there is every chance that your site may not comply. This also has implications on website rankings too. If you don’t have a mobile friendly site– search engines will downgrade you in the search engine rankings –particularly now that Google searches from a mobile first perspective.
A truly mobile optimised site will resize text and images to fit optimally on your mobile devices screen. It normally means that images are reduced and sometimes removed to keep the vital information visible on the screen in a limited space.
Your website is loading too slowly
How frustrating is it to wait for a website to load. How often have we just left the site and moved on? If you’re impatient, your visitors will be too. Slow sites have a whole list of reasons as to why they’re slow. From oversized images (i.e images that are far larger than they need to be) slowing down the load time. It could also be your hosting. Cheap hosting often compromises at the server speed and allocation to each website.
It could also be something more fundamental to your website. For example, it could be that the coding is inefficient or badly written. Or as is often the case, it’s old code that needs to be updated.Oftentimes this can be resolved with some simple updates, other times, it means a rewrite – especially if the base system is no longer being developed or plugins are no longer working.
Badly spelt, poorly written content
Sounds ridiculous, but it is staggering as to how many people are put off by poor spelling and grammar. The things is that these things matter to visitors, its about your credibility. I remember checking a website that had a massive typo on the header of the website –meaning that everyone made a judgement almost instantly. “Click to find out mo” was the phrase. Now I’m not too sure who “mo” is but find!
It comes down to the final proof reads –that’s what makes a difference. If you aren’t keen on writing, hire a professional to do it for you. There are many highly expert copywriters who will make your business appeal to anyone who visits your website. Once added to your website, make sure that someone reads the pages – to ensure that nothing appears that shouldn’t and that it all reads properly. Poor punctuation can make all the difference to meaning in a sentence. For example:
Let’s eat Grandma!
But more likely:
Let’s eat, Grandma!
What a difference a comma makes – in this instance it’s saved Grandma’s life. Having a poorly proof-read website – snaps people out of their zombie trance, it makes them check their judgement.Moreover, it gives them an opportunity to question their judgement.
There are two good ways to check your own work. Leave it for a few hours, or ask someone else to proof read your work.Both ways give a fresh look to your work and allows for some objective judgement on the quality of what you have written.
Who are you and what do you do?
Sounds obvious, but you’d be staggered as to how many websites don’t actually explain who they are and what they do on the home page. They start gabbling on about their values and how much they do for you. But at no point do they explain what their offer is. Imagine walking down a high street and not being able to tell what each shop sells.You’d probably not bother to go in.
As humans we don’t need much of an excuse to not do something different, given the excuse we will revert to type and just keep on walking past. Not explaining broadly what you do as quickly as you can is as ridiculous as my shop example.
It is vital to set your stall out on your website. Be clear in your offer, we want visitors to be clear on whether they are in the right place or not. If they are – great! Read on. If not, be gone!But give visitors the opportunity to decide for all of the right reasons.
No pain – no gain!
It sounds strange, but prospective buyers need to understand why they’re even looking for the product or service you’re supplying. Having a homepage that makes your solution relatable is key to getting visitors to recognise themselves. What I mean by that is if you were promoting a weight loss program, you’d put some of the pain points on your home page. For example:
Has Christmas stacked on the pounds?
Are you looking to get beach body ready for your next holiday?
Just underneath – you need to put the answer to their problems – a click here for all of your problems to go away kind of button. It may appear obvious what you do and why you’re doing it, but remember that visitors need to know why they’re on your website and what you can do to help them.
Have three pain points for your product or service to help people understand that you have an understanding or their situation.
Not enough detail
Have you ever read a self help book or business book where the content is thin to say the least? Where it’s clear that the author is unwilling to share the “how”? Or you buy a book from a charity shop or thrift store only to find out the last few pages are missing.
That’s exactly how visitors feel about websites that don’t go into enough detail.
Now it’s fair to say that not everyone needs the detail to make a decision – and that’s OK. They don’t have to read the detail. But a web page should be set out with the highlights at the top and the detail below. It draws in the visitor. It makes them understand more thoroughly your offer and the personality of your business. Most importantly, it shows that you know what you’re talking about. Having sparse, thin pages that don’t engage do nothing for your business and more importantly, nothing for how potential clients perceive your business.
Make sure that you go into sufficient detail. Missing the detail is a crime and your sales will be the victim if you don’t make sure that your site tells a prospective client all about how you operate.
No clear call to action
Missing a call to action, can be as fatal as missing the phone number of your website entirely. Visitors need to know what you expect them to do. It may seem strange, but most people need sign posts – a call to action is exactly that. It’s there to coax people along the sales process and funnel. People like to take small steps when they enter the unknown.
Calls to action light the way, they take you from place to place until you’re ready. Finally they show you the way to either make contact or buy the product.
Make sure that your website has a clear call to action on each page to help your visitors way find.
Are you an expert?
We touched on this previously.Content, blogs and in-depth pages help to set you up as an authority. If your website is a string of poorly worded sales pages, trust me, you won’t get many enquiries. Historically, websites that kill you with kindness get the best response and also get the most people taking action.
We’ve had clients who have provided us with the bare minimum and it never fails to amaze me that they are surprised when no one visits a page with 3 sentences on it. Of course they don’t. Why would they? If this document was 2 paragraphs long – would you believe that I know what I was talking about? Of course not – I have to prove to you that I really do have over 25 years experience in digital marketing and web development.
Your website needs to showcase you and your team as the people who know – categorically. No ifs no buts. So why wouldn’t you show people what you know – maybe by video or by blog or an infographic. Whatever you choose – people will appreciate the time you’ve taken.
Contact forms don’t work
It may seem an obvious one, but there have been many times that prospective clients complain of no enquiries –only to discover that their contact form stopped working 6 months ago and they didn’t notice or do anything about it.
As a standard practice, you or one of your team should take the time to fill in a form every week or two – to ensure that there is nothing stopping those enquiries coming through. It’s a 5minutes job and it means that you’ll be ready for when you get the enquiries you’re looking to attract.
The site is hard to navigate
Have you checked that you can move around your site. Have you checked it makes sense? Having a fancy way to navigate or worse than that – a hidden or hard to find way to navigate will put people off your website. Please keep it simple. There are always expectations when it comes to websites. The navigation should either be visible or highlighted within the “burger” button. Failing that, if you are using alternative methods – like images or text links, ensure that they are clear to see.
Visitors scare easily. We had an example of a client who made visitors press a button half way down the page before the menu popped up. Pointless! You can guess what happened. No-one visited any other other pages from the home page.
This about how long your pages are. Scrolling is now commonplace – and yet people still don’t do it as much as you think. So keep the important stuff – especially the navigation stuff near the top – ideally at the top.
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