Written by Guest Author: Mike Lalli
Now that you’ve gone through the effort of developing a website for your business, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve incorporated some best practices for websites to ensure that it’s visible, usable, and converts to your desired goals. Not only does a poorly structured website affect the user experience, but it will hinder business. We have analyzed and revamped a number of websites and have created a list of website mistakes so you can learn more about some common errors to avoid:
Mistake #1: Slow Load Times
Think back to the last time a page loaded slowly for you – what did you do? You likely either waited (impatiently) for the page to load and then had a negative perception for the rest of your visit, or you “bounced” and left the site. Slow load times are the silent killer of website conversions. A website lag time of just a few seconds can more than double bounce rates – meaning you could be losing half your potential customers from the start!
Not sure if your website is slow? Try using Google Pagespeed Insights (https://pagespeed.web.dev/) for an overview and recommendations.
Fixing slow load times may be a simple solution or may require the help of a qualified web developer to delve into the backend of your website, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Mistake #2: No Call to Action
What do you want visitors to do when they land on your site – book an appointment, sign up for something, browse a product catalogue? Then you need to ask and make it easy for them to do what you’re asking.
Most websites will facilitate their primary call to action with a button at the top, along with calls to action sprinkled throughout the website to increase conversion rates. As a golden rule, you don’t want to make visitors search through your website for the next step – they’ll lose interest and leave.
Mistake #3: Poor SEO
It takes some work and constant maintenance to get the Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, honed for your website, but it’s worth it. On the first page of Google, the first five organic search results account for 67.60% of all the clicks – so if you’re not on page one then you are losing out. Think of it like having a storefront but not putting up any signage – how is anyone going to know who you are or what you do?
Tip: If your website is currently displaying Error! Hyperlink reference not valid., convert is to a secure site for an instant SEO boost.
Mistake #4: Not a Mobile-Friendly Design
Half of your website traffic will come from mobile devices, whether they be a cellphone or a tablet. As such, your website absolutely must have a mobile-friendly design and will be penalized by Google on search engine rankings if not.
Test your website on as many browser programs (Chrome, Safari, Edge) and operating systems (iOS, Android, Google) to ensure that all users have a positive experience navigating your website.
Mistake #5: No Sitemap
A sitemap for your website lets automatic ‘bots’ crawl your site to get to all areas of your website, which helps with search engine optimization. It’s also nice for visitors to have access as well, making it easier for them to find specific pages.
Mistake #6: Hidden Contact Info
If a visitor wants to find out more – is it easy to find contact info? Almost half of your website visitors will leave if there’s no contact information easily visible.
You also want to ensure that email addresses and phone numbers are clickable on mobile. When it comes to contact by email, although a form entry might cut down on spam in your mailbox, it makes it more difficult for a user to get in touch. It is best to offer both options.
Mistake #7: No Customer Service Online
No matter what business you’re in, some customers will inevitably run into trouble while using your website. Creating an easy way for them to work out issues is the best way to keep them as a customer and earn some positive referrals.
Can they get in touch online? At the very least, a contact phone number should be included in the footer of your website, as well as making your contact page easily visible in your main navigation.
Mistake #8: No Social Media Icons
Social media is essential for marketing your business, that’s just a known fact now-a-days. But how do you expect people to find your profiles to learn more, share, or follow? Including social media icons on your website at the top (or the footer at the very least) will help to grow your online presence.
Tip: Have the icons already? Test them! A shocking number of businesses include the icons on their websites and lead them nowhere – missing out on potential followers as a result.
Mistake #9: No Website Analytics
Website analytics help you track your demographics and overall website traffic. Website analytics provide insights and data that can be used to create a better user experience for website visitors. Understanding customer behaviour is a good idea to optimizing your website for key conversion goals. There are free tools you can use for integrating analytics into your website. The most popular is Google Analytics (https://analytics.google.com).
Mistake #10: Dated Content
Your website isn’t a “one and done” situation. You want to keep visitors updated on what’s going on with your business (open hours, new offerings, etc.) tied with updates to your Google My Business listing. Regular updates to your website is also good for search engine optimization. The last thing you want is for someone to visit your website and get frustrated because they can’t find current or accurate information.
Update photos with alt text – this helps makes your website more accessible to people who may have vision disabilities and it also helps with SEO.
Run all your website content through a grammar checker (Grammarly) and correct any spelling or grammar mistakes.
Regularly check for improvements to your website. Website care maintenance is important to ensure your site continues to operate securely and efficiently.