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Website Errors That Could Hurt Your Brand

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
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Having a bad or mediocre website simply isn’t an option anymore.

As more people conduct research, do business, purchase things, and access entertainment online, a mediocre digital experience could be enough to put a company out of business.

This article will share the most common web design mistakes small businesses make. Use the information to figure out if your website has a problem — or problems — that need fixing.


There’s Too Much Happening

Being too busy and confusing is a common issue with many small business websites. The owner is proud of the business they built and wants to say — and show — everything they can about it. The information onslaught often results in busy, chaotic, and impossible to navigate websites.

Visitors who can’t understand what your site is about within a few seconds will leave and move on to a competitor’s cleaner digital experience. Not only that, but if your site contains too many elements like photos, it may take too long to load, and many people who want to check out your business won’t wait around.

If your site is too packed with information, images, videos, and other elements work with your team to edit, edit, edit. Figure out what your prospective customers really need to know about your business and feature that information. Move secondary messages to other pages. Visitors will find them if your site flows well and is compelling. Cut anything that isn’t absolutely needed to get visitors to take the actions you want them to take.

There’s Too Little Going On

On the other end of the spectrum, sites with too little going on can be even worse.

Minimalism in design has been a big trend for a while now, especially since it has become more common for people to visit sites on their smartphones rather than their laptops or computers.

Minimalism works great when done correctly, especially on smartphones. However, some minimalist small business websites are too cryptic, hard to understand, and leave too much to the visitor’s imagination.

That’s a big mistake. Visitors come to your site wanting to know what your business does, how it does it better than similar operations, and how it will make their lives better. If your site leaves visitors guessing, they’ll move to a competitor’s site that explains things more clearly.

The Site Has a Few Personalities

Many small businesses add to their websites and adjust them bit by bit over time. Many times those small additions and changes don’t come together as a whole. Messaging, imagery, layouts, style, and other features vary as new things are added.

If you’ve evolved your site over time, ask some people in your target audience to test it out. Check to see if the user experience is still good. If they find it confusing or disjointed, it could be time for a complete redesign based on your current business model and needs.

The Calls-to-Action (CTAs) Are Buried or Weak

Your CTAs are arguably the most important features of your website. You can deliver a fantastic online experience, but if no one takes action, you’ve failed.

Your CTAs command your visitors to do something:

  • Get a 50 percent off coupon!
  • Learn more about a product or service!
  • Book an appointment!
  • Buy something. It will make your life better!
  • Start losing 20 pounds in two weeks!

Your CTAs must clearly tell visitors what they need to do and, ideally, what’s in it for them if they click. Your CTAs should be easy to find. One effective tactic is to use a bright contrasting color and unique typeface on your call-to-action buttons throughout your website.

Be aware that there’s a fine line between clear and prominent CTAs and annoying ones. Avoid pop-up CTAs, animated ones, and ones presented too early in the digital experience. All these things could turn visitors off.

Your Website Doesn’t Present Content Well

Poor content presentation is a common issue for websites that have been mobile-optimized but not designed to be mobile-first.

It’s critical to use fonts that are easy to read on everything from a smartphone to a large screen. Use plenty of bulleted copy and white space to make content easy to scan. Big blocks of text are a big turn-off for most people. Use images and other graphic devices to convey information if it makes sense.

As a final step, update your content regularly. Outdated content can make it seem like you’re out of business.

Websites That Have Images That Don’t Make Sense

Nothing stops website visitors in their tracks like an image that doesn’t connect to the message. They’re reading and reading and reading… Then they hit a picture that doesn’t align with — or contribute to — the content. In most cases, they won’t ignore the disconnect and scroll past. Instead, they’ll stop to think about it. When they can’t figure it out, they’ll abandon and move to another site.

Even though images are typically considered a positive part of an online experience, if they don’t support the content, you’re better off not having them on your website.

Your Site’s Navigation Is Hard to Find or Understand

In many cases, a website’s navigation is an afterthought. And it shouldn’t be.

Navigation must be a primary consideration when you design your site. It’s how your visitors move around and find the information they need to feel confident about doing business with you. If it’s too hard to do, they’ll leave.

If you’re unsure whether your site’s navigation works for your visitors, check your Google Analytics data or track your visitors through a digital monitoring app like Mouseflow. If they’re abandoning too quickly or seem to be searching the page, it could be a sign of a navigation problem.

Your Site Doesn’t Meet the Needs of the People in Your Target Audience

Leaving visitors unsatisfied is a common issue for many small business websites. Business owners are so focused on building sites that say what they want to say they forget about what their target customers want to hear.

You can prevent this by taking some time to develop consumer personas. Personas are written profiles of the people in your target audience. They usually include things like demographic information, education, media habits, and the issues consumers are dealing with that your business can solve. You refer to personas when you develop digital experiences and other marketing assets. They help ensure everything you produce will speak to the needs of the people in your target audience and resonate with them.

It’s Impossible to Contact You

Even if you get everything else on your website right, if visitors can’t contact you, the digital experience is a failure. If the content gets someone interested enough to want to reach out to you, you must make it easy to do so. It’s a best practice to include multiple contact options on your site, including in the navigation, the footer, and anyplace else people may want to connect with you. Don’t force people to fill out forms to reach you. Instead, make it easy to call or start a chat. Any communication delay gives prospective customers time to check out your competitors.

Following these steps is sure to keep people engaged on your site to research what you offer, resulting in more conversions for your business.

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