A business without a website is like a shop without a front window. It’s difficult to find, hard to trust, and impossible to understand what’s on offer. In an increasingly sophisticated digital age, a business website is simply a must.
Although websites today are relatively easy to create, there are plenty of potential pitfalls along the way. Avoid these common website mistakes and you will be well on your way to owning an informative, engaging and successful website.
There are now millions of websites and most seem to be trying to sell us something. From Caribbean cruises to budget bed linen, it’s impossible to ignore the vast number of products and services on offer.
Today the average consumer is exposed to over 5,000 marketing messages per day – both online and offline – and the majority are ignored entirely. Avoid over-selling your product and your website’s visitors will thank you for it. Instead of a showy sales pitch, offer your customers something that your competitors are not.
Stand out from the crowd by offering genuinely valuable and educational content that complements your product or service. Consider creating useful infographics, writing informative blog posts or interesting opinion pieces to keep visitors returning to your site again and again.
Research has shown that returning customers are more valuable to online businesses than new ones, so enrich your website and start reaping the rewards.
Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia highlights its strong ethical values on its website, rather than simply pushing its products.
2. Not Future-Proofing Your Images
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your website is failing to prepare for the future. Digital professionals across the world are noticing a surge in the popularity of visual search – a trend that website owners can work to their advantage.
People are searching with more their eyes and typing less. For website owners, this means that the images you choose to display now play a more important role than pure aesthetics. Every image you upload is an opportunity to drive traffic to your site.
Ensure you capitalize on the changing search landscape by optimizing every single image you upload to your site. Include the correct alt-tags which will allow search engines to understand your images.
Pinterest lead the way with their visual search technology which allows you to buy products directly from their extensive image library.
3. Not Mobile-izing Your Website
We all know that technologies can become obsolete quicker than you can say Blu-ray. Yet one technology that is here to stay is the smartphone. In 2015, Google confirmed that mobile searches had overtaken desktop for the first time, highlighting how important it is for websites to now be mobile-ready.
Slowly but surely, businesses and website owners are waking up to the significance of developing mobile-friendly sites, but for some there is still a long way to go.
If you haven’t already, consider investing in a fully responsive website. This means that no matter what device your visitors are browsing from, your site will adjust depending on their screen size. WordPress offer hundreds of responsive templates to help make the switch a little easier.
Another option is to hire a freelance developer which, though more expensive, will guarantee a tailored and fully-responsive website. Not only will a responsive website offer a better user experience for visitors, but it will also help them find you.
Google announced that they will be looking at the “mobile-friendliness” of sites to help determine where they should be placed on query results pages. The more mobile-friendly your site, the better. Check how mobile-friendly Google deems your site here.
Virgin was the first airline to go fully responsive with its website, resulting in a user experience that outshines its competitors.
4. Style Over Substance
A surprising number of websites fall victim to this mistake. Bad websites are the ones that prioritize style over substance. Designers and developers can spend hours perfecting whizzy animations and whacky visuals, but often at the expense of form and functionality.
The more extravagant your website design, the slower it will load. Also, some older browsers might not even be able to load your high-spec parallax page at all!
Blindly following the latest web design trends can mean you lose site of your site’s primary purpose. Just because everyone in the photography industry is topping their websites with full-width hero images, it doesn’t mean this will work for your tourist information site.
Instead, whether you’re briefing your designer or creating the site yourself, concentrate on getting the basics right. Focus on the things that will really matter to your end users, like the navigation, brand messaging and ease of use. Flashy graphics can always be added later, but it’s much harder to go back to the fundamentals once your site is already up and running.
5. Weak SEO
Neglect your website’s SEO at your peril! SEO is no longer the mysterious younger cousin of the digital marketing family. Companies across the globe are investing time and money into SEO and bringing it to the forefront of their digital strategies.
After all, the difference between appearing on the first page of Google and the third can be worth jaw-dropping amounts of money. Make sure your website doesn’t lose out to competitors through a half-hearted attempt at SEO.
Some of the most common on-page SEO mistakes include poor quality content, missing or duplicate meta titles and non-indexed pages. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with SEO best practice, or hire a professional to help you get started.