You’ve created a website that reflects your product, your service, or your personality. You’ve handpicked the colors, the design, and the content. It’s perfect for you, and you are proud of it. So, why does it lag behind the competition?
There are many mistakes that can cost you both traffic and search engine ranking. Check these ten common faux pas to determine whether your website needs a makeover:
Number One: Your Website is too Slow: The more Flash applications, videos, and high-resolution images you use, the longer your pages will take to load. While your regular visitors might be willing to wait around for a while, most first-timers will run off to a faster-loading website. A sizable number of visitors access the Internet from a slow connection, so you’re automatically preventing them from viewing your pages. Use speed-sucking elements sparingly so that you don’t compromise your website’s accessibility
Number Two: No mobile version: A huge pool of traffic comes from people who are on the go, connecting to the Internet through their smartphones. To them, your regular website looks like a bulky, hard-to-navigate page that takes ages to load. Make their life easier –and your website better– by creating a mobile version
Number Three: Awkward Color Combinations: When it comes to web design, some colors just don’t match. It’s not because they don’t look good together; it’s just that they make your content practically illegible. For example, red and black may look great on a piece of clothing, but trying to read a red typeface against a black background is a completely different story.
Number Four Over-optimization: If you’ve done everything you can to please search engines but totally forgot about your readers, you’ve got the wrong mindset. Your visitors don’t care for huge chunks of white-on-white text, or sentences that look like endless strings of keywords. They just want to find the information they’re looking for. Use SEO wisely
Number Five Low-Quality Content: There is no bigger asset for a website than original, useful, and engaging content. You’ve heard it a million times before, so you’d better believe it. Low-quality content can not only ruin your search engine rankings, but also drive your readers away for good. Create content that your visitors will love to read –and share.
Number Six Too Cluttered: If it takes your visitors more than a few seconds to find what they’re looking for, your website is probably on the wrong track. Search bars, drop-down menus and other organizational tools can be extremely useful, but you really need to get rid of the junk first. A site that consists of heaps and heaps of unnecessary information, ads, links, and other irrelevant content can be a huge turn-off for your visitors. Keep it neat and user-friendly.
Number Seven Too Much Marketing Hype: Refrain from making unrealistic claims on your site, and avoid using hype words like “unique”, “awesome”, or “the best”. Unless you have tangible proof that your product or service actually is the best on the market, don’t toot your own horn. Instead, let the customers be your judge.
Number Eight Too much advertising: There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make some money out of your website. However, flooding your website with pop-ups, pop-unders, in-text links, banners, apps, and all kinds of advertising material can be seizure-inducing to your visitors. Don’t get greedy; keep the amount of ads you display per page reasonable, and make sure they don’t interfere with your content.
Number Nine: No clear call to action: If you want your readers to sign up for your newsletter, make a donation, or buy your products, you’ll have to be clear about it. Don’t expect them to guess, or figure things out on their own. Your call to action is the direction you give to your visitors as to what they should do next –and it works like a charm!
Number Ten: Mandatory Registration: Few things are more annoying in the online world than a website that asks you to give up your personal information before you can even take a peek at its content. The moment you ask a visitor to enter his email address, he knows that he will be bombarded with promotional material. Instead, let him see what your site is about, and kindly invite him to sign up
If you find that your website suffers from more than a couple of these mistakes, you’re probably in dire need of a revamp. Make your site as functional and user-friendly as possible, and the traffic will follow.