6 Mistakes Your Website Could Be Making (& How to Fix Them)
In a diverse sea of online shops, e-courses, and digital everything, your website is the ultimate gateway to success - or to your businesses failure. Hard facts - I know.
But your website is the face of your brand and the conveyer of your message. Think of your website like your best sales person, your personal assistant, marketing manager, businesses backend offices, and so much more - so it should it be set up for success and pulling it's weight for you so that you can get back to doing what you do best.
Unfortunately, I've seen it time and time again - the most beautifully strategized of brands launches a website, only to hear crickets instead of cha-chings. And while yes, as a brand strategist, I'm always focused on the brand's strategy & developing a very clear and concise identity that emulates exactly what their ideal audience needs and wants to hear - your message is only as good as the platform you're using to deliver it.
Every mistake your brand makes has a cost - and your website goes far beyond aesthetics. It can effect the visibility of your site, your brand's reputation, and ultimately, your bottom line. As a website designer & developer, it's my mission to empower you with the knowledge and insights you need to create a business with beauty AND brains.
That's why today, I'm breaking down some of the most common mistakes your website might be making - AND, giving you some tips to make sure your site is back on track, in just one afternoon. So grab a cup of coffee, laptops open, and let's dive in.
WEBSITE MISTAKES YOU COULD BE MAKING (& HOW TO FIX THEM.)
Mistake 1: Slow Loading Time
One of the most common issues I see with websites is that their load time is too sluggish, and their visitors are closing the window before the homepage even loads. According to study by Google, even a 1-second delay can slash conversions by a 20%. Although it may depend on many factors, an ideal website should take approximately 2 seconds to load.
How to know if your website is too slow? Ubersuggests free Site Audit (linked here) will give you a breakdown of each page, how quickly it loads, any errors you should fix (like broken links) and so much more- plus they give you tips to fix any issues. With their free account, you can run an audit on your website. Here are some quick tips to fix slow loading time:
Optimize Images: Large and uncompressed images can significantly slow down your website. Compress and resize images without compromising on quality. You can use imagecompressor.com to compress the size of your images for your website without affecting the quality of the image.
Compress Files: Compress any digital downloads, PDF's or files by using pdfcompressor.com to reduce the size of your files. You can also add them to Gzip or ZIP folder to make them quicker to load.
Reduce Page Interactions: We've all seen those pretty websites where images move as you scroll the page, videos play automatically, the text moves in and out as though it were typing a message directly to me. While website interactions are beautiful, they are slowing your website's speed. Reduce the amount of interactions on your website to only the most necessary and impactful.
Reduce Redirects: Have you changed the name of a page and redirected your old URL to your new URL? Rather than any redirects, simply use the new URL and update anywhere the old URL may have been used. For instance, if you had your old URL in a link in your email, on a business card, in a blog post or podcast, etc., change the URL to the new one and remove any redirects. You can usually find a redirect link on the specific page of the website.
Enable Browser Caching: Leverage browser caching to store static resources on visitors' devices, reducing the need to reload assets upon each visit. This significantly improves page load times for returning users.
Monitor Third-party Plug-ins: Third-party plug-ins such as social media widgets and analytics tools, can impact website performance. Regularly review and remove unnecessary scripts or consider asynchronous loading for non-essential elements.
Monitor Website Performance: Regularly analyze your website's performance using tools like Google PageSpeed, Ubersuggest's Site Audit or your website host's native site optimizer tool. These tools provide insights and suggestions for further optimization.
Mistake 2: Chaotic & Unorganized Layout
We've all had the experience of walking into a store only to feel overwhelmed, unimpressed and booked it out of the door before the sales person even had a chance to notice we were there. A cluttered, unorganized website with a confusing layout can leave us feeling the same way and undermines trust in your brand. According to study by Adobe, unappealing layouts, messy content, and no clear call to action drive away 38% of potential users. To make your website feel less chaotic and create a more harmonious user experience, consider the following strategies:
Simplify Your Navigation: Streamline your website's navigation by organizing content logically and reducing the number of menu items. Use clear and descriptive labels for navigation links, making it easy for users to find what they are looking for without getting lost.
Use Whitespace: Whitespace, or negative space, is the empty space between elements on a webpage. Embrace whitespace to create a sense of balance and clarity. It allows content to breathe and enhances the focus on essential elements, making the website feel less cluttered.
Limit Color Palette and Fonts: Stick to a cohesive color palette and font selection throughout your website. A limited number of colors and fonts create visual consistency and reduce visual noise, making the website feel more organized and cohesive.
Declutter Homepage and Landing Pages: Ensure that your homepage and landing pages have a clear and focused design. Avoid overcrowding with excessive text, images, or calls-to-action. Highlight the most critical information and use concise, engaging content to guide users through the page.
Use Visual Hierarchy: Establish a clear visual hierarchy to guide users through your content. Use larger fonts, bold colors, or prominent elements to draw attention to essential information. This helps users understand the importance and relationships between different elements on the page.
Consistent and Intuitive Layout: Maintain consistency in your website's layout across all pages. Users should be able to predict where to find certain elements like the navigation menu, search bar, and contact information. An intuitive layout reduces cognitive load and enhances user experience.
Group Related Content: Group related content together to make it easier for users to find what they need. For example, place related product categories together or group similar blog posts under relevant topics. This helps users navigate your website more efficiently.
Limit Pop-ups: Excessive ads and intrusive pop-ups can disrupt the user experience and make your website feel chaotic. If you use ads, ensure they are tasteful and don't overwhelm the content. Minimize pop-ups and avoid using them for every user interaction.
Regularly Review and Update Content: Periodically review your website's content to ensure it remains relevant and up-to-date. Remove outdated or irrelevant information, and consolidate or reorganize content to maintain a coherent structure.
Responsive Design: Ensure your website is responsive and adapts to different screen sizes and devices. A responsive design provides a consistent and enjoyable user experience across desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.
Mistake 3: You're Not Mobile-Friendly
With mobile devices driving over 50% of global website traffic, neglecting mobile optimization is going to get you nowhere fast. A mobile-unfriendly website alienates a significant portion of your audience, diminishing engagement and potentially leading to lost opportunities. Mobile optimization ensures that your website looks and functions seamlessly on smartphones and tablets, providing a positive user experience for mobile users. Here are essential steps to optimize your website for mobile:
Responsive Web Design: Implement a responsive design that automatically adjusts your website's layout and content based on the screen size and device. This approach ensures your site is user-friendly across various devices, from smartphones to large desktop screens.
Mobile-Friendly Navigation: Simplify your website's navigation for mobile users. Use a hamburger menu or other collapsible navigation options to conserve space. Make sure buttons and links are easy to tap with fingers, avoiding close proximity that could lead to accidental clicks.
Minimize Pop-ups and Interstitials: Avoid intrusive pop-ups or interstitials that cover the entire screen on mobile devices. They can frustrate users and negatively impact user experience.
Use Mobile-Friendly Fonts and Text Sizes: Choose fonts that are easily readable on small screens and adjust text sizes for optimal legibility. Avoid small font sizes that may require users to pinch and zoom to read content.
Simplify Forms and Input Fields: Streamline forms and input fields for easy completion on mobile devices. Use auto-complete, input masks, and clear instructions to simplify the data entry process.
Design for Touch Gestures: Design interactive elements with touch gestures in mind. Ensure buttons and links have enough space around them to avoid accidental taps.
Test on Real Devices: Regularly test your website on a variety of real mobile devices, including different smartphones and tablets. Emulators and responsive design tools may not replicate the actual user experience accurately.
Prioritize Above-the-Fold Content: Ensure the most important content is visible without scrolling (above-the-fold) to capture users' attention immediately.
Optimize Meta Data: Use responsive meta tags and canonical tags to indicate that your website is mobile-friendly to search engines.
Mistake 4: No Proper SEO
Search engine optimization is not just a buzzword; it's the key to unlocking your website's potential and ensuring it gets the attention it deserves. Consider this eye-opening statistic from HubSpot: a staggering 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. If your website doesn't make it to the top, it might as well be buried in the darkest corners of the internet. Optimizing your website for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essential to improve its visibility in search engine results and attract organic traffic. Here are some steps to help you optimize your website for SEO:
Keyword Research: Conduct comprehensive keyword research to identify relevant and high-traffic keywords related to your content and industry. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest's Keyword Planner to find valuable keywords to target.
On-Page SEO: Optimize your web pages for target keywords. Include keywords in the page title, meta description, headings (H1, H2, etc.), and throughout the content. But be sure to use them naturally and avoid keyword stuffing.
High-Quality Content: Create valuable, engaging, and informative content that addresses the needs of your target audience. High-quality content is more likely to be shared and linked to by other websites, which boosts your SEO rankings.
Mobile-Friendly Design: Ensure your website is responsive and provides a seamless user experience on various devices, including mobile phones and tablets. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in its search results.
URL Structure: Create clean, descriptive, and keyword-rich URLs for your web pages. Avoid using complex URLs with unnecessary parameters.
Internal Linking: Add internal links within your content to guide users and search engine crawlers to other relevant pages on your website. This helps search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your site.
External Linking: Link to authoritative and relevant external websites when necessary. Outbound links to reputable sources can improve the credibility of your content.
Use Header Tags: Use header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to structure your content. Search engines use header tags to understand the hierarchy and importance of your content.
Optimize Images: Add descriptive alt tags to your images, as search engines cannot "see" images but rely on alt tags to understand their content.
Submit Sitemap: Create an XML sitemap and submit it to search engines like Google and Bing. This helps search engines discover and index all your website's pages efficiently.
Local SEO (if applicable): If your business has a physical location, optimize for local SEO by adding your address, phone number, and operating hours to your website. List your business on Google My Business and other local directories. Remember that SEO is an ongoing process, and it may take time to see significant results. Consistent effort, adherence to best practices, and adapting to algorithm changes will help your website climb the ranks in search engine results and attract more organic traffic over time.
Mistake 5: Form Failure
Complicated forms are the bane of conversions—which, according to a recent study by Formisimo, may lead to a smaller than desired average completion rate of 14%. The study found that too many steps or confusing forms will almost ensure people don't join your list. Simplifying a form on your website is crucial to enhance user experience and increase form completion rates. By removing unnecessary elements and streamlining the process, you can make the form more user-friendly and efficient. Here are some tips to simplify a form on your website:
Minimalist Design: Embrace a minimalist design approach by removing any unnecessary visuals or decorative elements. Focus on clean lines, ample whitespace, and a straightforward layout.
Reduce Form Fields: Ask for only essential information. Limit the number of form fields to the most critical ones that you need. Reducing the number of required fields makes the form less overwhelming for users.
Use Clear Labels and Instructions: Provide clear and concise labels for each form field. Include instructions or placeholders to guide users on what information is expected.
Group Related Fields: Group related fields together logically. For instance, place contact information fields (name, email, phone number) in a single section for easy comprehension.
Consider Multi-Step Forms: For longer forms, consider breaking them into multi-step or progressive forms. This approach allows users to focus on one section at a time, reducing cognitive load and making the process feel less overwhelming.
Avoid Captchas if Possible: If captcha is not essential for your form's security, consider omitting it. Captchas can frustrate users and impede form completion.
Display Progress Indicators: For multi-step forms, provide clear progress indicators, such as steps completed and remaining, to keep users informed of their progress.
Make Submission Easy: Use a prominent and easily identifiable submit button to encourage users to complete the form. Avoid distractions near the submission button.
Remember, the goal of simplifying a form is to make it as user-friendly and frictionless as possible. By prioritizing essential information, organizing the layout thoughtfully, and optimizing for user experience, you can create a streamlined form that encourages higher completion rates and fosters a positive impression of your website.
Mistake 6: Broken Links
Broken links can shatter trust and credibility, and according to a study by Accenture, hitting 1 single 404 error on your website can deter 52% of customers from engaging with your brand. Ubersuggest's Site Audit will crawl each page of your website to find any broken links. Go page by page and make sure each page has links that aren't unused or broken and leading to the correct places on your website.
Phew... I know that seems like a lot, but the stark truth is that your website is the gateway to your businesses success. Take the time to go through this checklist, optimize your website, and you'll be on the path to success. Want help planning your website's content? Download a free copy of my Website Planner & Checklist to make sure your site is set up for success.
Need help designing a website for your small business? I offer 3 different design packages to help small business owners build brands with beauty and brains.
For new business just starting out or for brands that need a website up and running STAT, check out my VIP Design Intensives. These 1-5 day design intensives will help you get your business designed, organized and launched in under 1 week. VIP Design Intensive >>
For brands looking to overhaul their business, redesign their brand strategy and design a custom website tailored to expand their growing brand, my Custom Brand + Web Design Package is for you. From a fully custom brand strategy & design, a full email marketing suite designed with custom copy & visuals to keep your brand consistent, to a full automated, data-driven and user-focused website to help you expand in your industry and dominate your market. Custom Brand & Web Design >>
So grateful and glad you're here!
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for man." - Colossians 3:23