Millions of websites fill the Internet, but many of them provide just “so-so” experiences. Even some of the biggest websites could be better. Of course, unlike them, you probably don’t pump millions into advertising and brand development so everyone knows your company name, regardless of how bad your site experience is, right? That means you have to be smart, provide something better than the other guys, and avoid some common mistakes if you want to see your site (and business) take off. Here are 3 of the most common website fails, and how you can avoid them:
1. Outdated and Slooooooooooooow
Many small business owners figure “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That folksy advice might be useful in some situations, but web design is not one of them. To compete, a site needs regular updating and maintenance. That doesn’t mean the site’s user experience (UX) has to be on the bleeding edge of design principles. But, it should always follow best practices for site navigation, layout, and design to maximize usability and SEO boost.
As technology evolves, things can change behind the scenes of a website. Old formats may fall out of favor (like Flash giving way to HTML5), and these legacy elements of your site may appear broken in newer browsers. Possibly worse, they can also slow your site to a crawl, make it difficult to navigate, or prevent users from seeing important parts of the UX. Slow and infrequently updated websites also rank lower in search results, as search engines assume that infrequent updates equate to out-of-date information that’s less relevance to the searcher.
How to avoid these issues? Update your site regularly. Start a blog on your site and use it to keep fresh content flowing. Update the overall look and feel of your site every few years to keep it feeling contemporary. Make sure images are large enough for modern, higher resolution devices and monitors (tiny pictures are an immediate give away of an outdated site). For a more in-depth guide to what Google considers best practices, check out their Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. Remember, these guidelines change over time as technology evolves, so be sure to check back often.
2. Not Friendly to Mobile Devices
Speaking of outdated sites… Avoid building something that looks great on a desktop or laptop computer, but does not convert well on mobile devices. Although modern mobile devices are much better than their predecessors at showing content on non-mobile optimized sites, the experience is still pretty clunky. Content extends beyond the edges of the screen, gets too small to read, and may limit functionality (e.g., if menus only open on hover).
The fact is, according to StatCounter, the number of people using the web via a mobile device is now higher than the number of desktop users, and it is growing fast. If your site isn’t mobile optimized, you may be discouraging more than half of your potential audience from visiting.
The fix is fairly straight forward: mobile optimize your site. Once, this meant building a separate page your site would redirect users to when it detected a mobile web browser. Modern site building technologies, however, allow for responsive designs that automatically change site layouts to suit mobile devices. If you have questions, or need help building a mobile optimized site, check out Web Hosting Hub’s Custom Web Design page for more information about how we can help you reach your mobile audience in no time.
3. No Useful Content or Hard to Understand
Have you ever searched for something online, found something promising, but couldn’t understand what the author was saying? Maybe this was due to overuse of technical terms (jargon), bad grammar, or slang? Or worse, you visit a site looking for something specific, but there’s no relevant content on the site? It has happened to most of us. Meaning, you understand exactly why someone would immediately click the back button and look for something more useful.
Take a step back and imagine that you knew nothing about your own industry. What might bring you to a site like yours? What problem is your site solving for that visitor? Is it providing information that both identifies the issue and explains how to solve that problem using the product or service listed on your site, or just jumping to the conclusion that they should buy? Did you write your content at a level that a novice could understand? Or, did you fill it with a bunch of technical terms?
This is another place where a blog is useful. People searching the web are often in need of answers as badly as products or services. Just saying you have the greatest widgets in the world means nothing without some explanation of what the widget is useful for, what makes your widgets better than the competitions, etc. A blog can provide all that information, capturing significantly more leads, upselling others, and engaging your audience in a way that helps them see you as both an authority and a trusted advisor.
Video and interactive content can be great tools for improving your site’s user experience. That is, as long as you keep them on point, useful, and short. Who wants to watch a 10 minute video if only 20 seconds of it are actually useful?
Want to Know More?
For more information about how to avoid these common website fails, and how to make your site truly remarkable, visit our Web Design page, and request a FREE website consultation by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.