Over the past few years of working with small business owners, bloggers and entrepreneurs, I've seen many website errors that were probably detrimental to their business. They were actually very easy to resolve problems that just took a few steps to correct, but they were there. Once we got the mistakes corrected, within a few months (or even weeks) the businesses were seeing a higher volume of leads and even sales. I wanted to share some of those errors with my readers just in case any of them pertain to your business website or blog.
Lack of Accessibility
What you may think is aesthetically pleasing and easy to read (and navigate) may not necessarily be what your readers and potential customers like. Trust me, I've been through this many-a-time with my past websites.
When you design a website layout, put it through a beta phase. Ask your friends, family or maybe even Facebook or Twitter followers if they think your layout works for them and see the feedback that you get. You have to think about the user when designing your website because the user is ultimately the one who may become a new client or customer of yours. Your website is your first impression and you need to make a great and memorable one to stand out from your competition.
Make sure your navigation is easy to find. Having it at the top of the page, front and center, is the best way to go. You could also have it on your website's sidebar but you need to clearly note that is the website's navigation. I've seen too many websites were I just couldn't find their navigation and clicked off in frustration.
Make sure your layout is able to be read by everyone. Smaller text may appeal to you and your younger readers, but what about the older or hard of sight readers? You need to keep that and other impairments in mind when designing your website. Can you install a website widget that will allow the reader to make the text larger? Can you make your text a little larger without distorting the layout of your website?
Make sure your layout is compatible with all devices. Make sure your website and layout looks the same on all main browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc...) and also on mobile devices. It's important, especially now, to make sure your website has a mobile version. Test your website out on all platforms and devices before publishing your final product. I know that when I find a website or blog does not have a mobile version, I don't even bother browsing on my phone; make sure that doesn't happen to you!
FAQ Front and Center
Some people and businesses elect to put their FAQ page on their main homepage to anticipate and answer their questions before they feel the need to ask them. This gives the customer more knowledge of the business, their workings and what other customers are asking and it also lessens the need for them to visit another page to have those questions answered. Now, if you don't feel that your website design can handle the FAQ's on the front page (as I do) make sure your Frequently Asked Questions are easy to be found. Most people don't want to spend the time contacting you to ask a simple question, so if they are able to find the answer easily all will be good with the world (And your website!).
Please, please, please, please (did I say please?) do not put audio that auto-starts when a user loads your website. That's one thing that the good majority of people don't like and that's one thing that will guarantee your bounce rate to be extremely high. If you want to embed audio, please do! Just make sure that it only plays when the user presses the play button.
This is another thing that can really annoy people and browsers may block the pop-ups anyway. If you need to link something to open in another window then please do...but just make sure you are electing that option very sparingly. You don't want every other link to open into a new window. Chances are, your visitor already has quite a few tabs open and adding a few more might really start to annoy them.
Slow Loading Sites
If your site is loading slowly due to it being image heavy, make sure you optimize your images to a smaller file size before you upload them to your site. This won't take away from the resolution if you do it correctly. Make sure all your coding is correct and test your site to make sure that it loads quickly in all of the browsers and on mobile devices. Visitors will be patient to an extent, but if a site is taking extremely long to load they may lose their patience and close your site before they even get a chance to view it.
Inability to Find Contact Page (or Information)
Most people are very frustrated if they want to contact you and can't find the information. Your contact page should be easy to find so you don't miss any opportunities. If you don't have a dedicated contact page (Which you probably should have) then make sure your information is easily seen on the sidebar, top of the page or the footer. Actually, even if you have a contact page, you should still put your phone number or e-mail address somewhere on the homepage. This will allow people to easily see and contact you without clicking an extra link.
Not Having Your Website Optimized
This doesn't really affect people happening upon your site but it can prevent visitors from even finding your site. Make sure your website is properly optimized to be found. Sure you link your site on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, E-mail signatures, etc... But you also want your site found in the searches. This will open your business and website up to new people who are searching for your product or service. This entails:
- Keyword Research
- Studying your competitors and tweaking their style
- Using your keywords within your website, blog posts, H1, Meta description and titles
- Using your keywords within the alt tags on your photos
These might not be all of the ways to optimize your site, but they are some of the ways.
Not Linking Your Social Networking Websites
It's important to incorporate your Social Networking profiles onto your website. If your visitors like what they see and want more information before making a purchase or contacting you for your services, they will follow you. So make sure your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc... are in an easy to find place on your website!
Keyword Stuffing is the (annoying) practice of stuffing your title tags, meta, etc... with keywords that are irrelevant to your website. Some people do this just to get visitors and it's not the proper thing to do. Firstly, this is possibly taking away business from other sites that may offer what the visitor is looking for and secondly, visitors and search engines don't like it. Some people think it will push them up in the searches but what most people don't realize is that most search engines are smart and know when this is happening. It could actually work against you negatively. So just don't do it.
There are quite a few other practices that could be hurting you and your website, but these are just the main points that I really wanted to get across. I feel that these can really make or break your site (or your business).