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Does Your Website Make these 7 Mistakes?

Does your website make these common mistakes that may be hurting your traffic, your business’ reputation, or even your ability to sell? Read on to learn about seven common website mistakes we see-- and how to fix them.

People make mistakes all the time. Chances are, you’ve made a few today. And so have we. And, since people are crucial to the creation of websites, websites often make mistakes as well. It’s easy to admit you’ve made a mistake, learn from it, and not repeat it again. The problem with websites mistakes, though, is people often don’t know they’re making those mistakes. 

At Neoreef, we design and redesign websites every day. Everyone on our team comes from a different background, but we all have experience with building websites that perform well. When the topic of common website mistakes came up, we had a staff meeting. Team members from our design, marketing, and support staff came together to produce this article-- we wanted to showcase different perspectives. 

There are more than seven common website mistakes, of course, but these are the most common and the most egregious. The type of mistakes that will drive away your visitors and inhibit your ability to sell. 

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. We’ve also included some helpful resources to help you fix any mistakes you may be making with your website. 

1. Site Speed

Site speed can make or break a website. According to this research, you can lose 40% of your audience if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load. 

Here are some other interesting statistics from that report:

  • 47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less
  • A 1 second delay in page load time can cause a 7% loss in conversions
  • 73% of consumers using mobile phones say they’ve found a website that loads too slowly 

We’ve all been on websites that take forever to load. Watching images slowly appear, as though they’re fighting with unnatural forces in order to show themselves, is a painful process. According to Adobe, 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load. 

If you have an older website, or have a bare-bones mass market website, you’ve probably lost out on some qualified traffic due to slow site speeds. This may be because your host is slow to respond, your pages are weighed down by resource-heavy media files, you’re not using browser caching, or you’re running too many cumbersome scripts. It could come from a variety of other factors, too. 

So, how can you diagnose and fix a slow website? 

First, test your website’s speed with Pingdom’s site speed tool

From there, you’ll see a list of problems and recommendations. 

Make yourself a list from those action items, and then use these resources to correct your site speed as best you can (you may need to consult with your web team, IT team, or host):

 

2. Organization and Navigation 

What do your website’s menus look like? Can your users successfully find everything they’re looking for?

If people can’t immediately find what they want from your website, they’re going to head somewhere else. If your website has too many menu options, an overwhelming amount of pages, and a user deems it hard to find what they’re looking for, you’re probably in trouble.  

Econsultancy puts it nicely,

Badly-designed navigation is one of the few truly mortal sins that you can commit as a web professional. Navigation needs to be intuitive, descriptive and straightforward. Flash-based sites tend to be among the very worst sinners.

According to KoMarketing, “After reaching a company's website via a referral site, 50% of visitors will use the navigation menu to orient themselves.”

Which makes sense, because that’s how we browse through websites. You may land on a website looking for a product, but end up curious about another product, the company’s history, or who works in their marketing department. We always want to know who we’re buying from. 

Make sure your users can find what they’re looking for. If your website navigation confuses a child or an elderly person, you should probably tune it up. 

Some great navigation resources: 

 

3. No One’s Home 

When your prospective customers can’t find a way to contact you, they become frustrated. They may even begin to think there are no “real people” behind your business. 

A couple more sobering statistics from KoMarketing:

  • 51% of people find that "comprehensive contact information" is the most important element missing from small business websites
  • 44% of website visitors will leave a company's website contact information is lacking, and this is especially true for phone numbers

Provide all of your contact information for your visitors, such as address, email, and phone numbers. Don’t just leave them with a web form. 

But you can go beyond that-- build a robust “about us” page, include photos of your staff at work, and showcase your team somewhere on your site. Prospective customers want to know they’re dealing with real people. 

Again, from KoMarketing:

Once on a company's homepage, 52% of visitors want to see "about us" information.

Resources:

4. Intrusive Websites 

Ten years ago, we’d passed the age of popup ads, autoplay videos, and other annoying design elements. We lived in a golden age where interruptive ads and signup requests interrupted our browsing experience. But now? What’s old is new again. 

Popups and autoplay videos are all the rage. And, in some cases, they work. But businesses use them thoughtlessly, which tends to alienate prospective customers. 

Try this one on for size. “82% of people say they’ve closed a webpage because of an autoplaying video ad, and 51% of people say they think less of brands that use autoplaying video ads,” according to HubSpot

Nielsen Norman Group, one of the leading voices in researched backed user experience, has this to say about excessive popups:

Needy patterns like the please-don’t-go popover and the get-back-to-me tab chip away at the presentation of a professional, confident website. They also damage users’ perceptions of credibility.

As a thought experiment, ask your brand manager whether “we’re desperate for attention” is one of the company’s stated brand values. If not, why signal such desperation to customers?

These kinds of tactics are often embraced and accepted based on better conversion performance in A/B tests. However, there’s a big tradeoff that comes with being needy and annoying — the degradation of your relationship with your users.

While some amount of popups are okay, and an autoplay video is sometimes appropriate, you need to ask yourself why you’re using them. If it’s because they convert a small amount of users into email subscribers, you may need to dig deeper about how they affect that large percentage of users who don’t interact with them. 

Think before you interrupt. 

Resources:

 

5. Weak Branding and Design

When a user arrives at your website, first impressions are 94% design related, according to research from Inside Design. The same study shows 50% of users determine a website’s credibility by its design alone. 

If your website looks outdated, looks generic, or just looks cheap, it undermines trust in your brand. After all, if a brand doesn’t care about its website-- does it care about its customers? 

Looks do matter. Adobe reports that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if they find its content or layout unattractive. Taylor & Francis also reports that users form (an often negative) opinion on a website within just 50 milliseconds, all based on its design. 

Increasingly, people buy from companies because of who the company is-- not just because of the products or services they sell. You need an attractive website that accurately reflects your brand. 

Web design and branding are huge topics-- and we’re passionate about both of them! But there’s too much to cover in this short blog article. You can always get in touch with us for design or branding questions. 

Resources:

 

6. The Site Doesn’t Sell 

Some websites just can’t make a sale-- even the pretty ones. 

According to research in this infographic, 70% of small business websites lack any clear call to action, or CTA. 

Here’s the best simple definition of a CTA, supplied by Investopedia

A call to action (CTA) is a marketing term that refers to the next step a marketer wants its audience or reader to take.

If you want your users to do something, like view your product listings, sign up for an email list, or book an appointment, you have to let them know. Use a clear, creative call to action whenever it’s appropriate. 

Similarly, many websites don’t sell because no one can find them. If you’re not employing SEO fundamentals and marketing/advertising your website, don’t be surprised if traffic never finds you. 

If you have a beautiful website that no one ever sees, is it really a beautiful website at all?

Resources:

 

7. Mobile Friendliness 

If you haven’t done it in a while, take out your smartphone and visit your business’ website. What do you see?

If it’s hard to navigate, loads slowly, or just doesn’t work well on a mobile device, then you probably have a problem. 

Research from Inside Design shows that 85% of adult consumers believe a business’ website should look just as good on a mobile device as it does on desktop. 

In 2018, the number of web visits and searches from mobile devices grew from 57% to 63%, according to a comprehensive study from Stone Temple Consulting. Additionally, mobile web traffic has outnumbered desktop traffic since 2015. 

When they’re looking for products and services on their mobile devices, users will abandon your website if it’s not mobile friendly. If you don’t employ a mobile website or use responsive design, now’s the time to start. 

Last December, we wrote a post on how it’s not too late to put mobile first. We urge you to start there. 

Closing Thoughts

When we compiled this list of website mistakes as a team, there were many more than seven. We also mentioned pixelated/non-scalable images, broken links, websites that request too much personal information, and infinite scrolling as design mishaps. 

These seven, we determined, were the worst of the worst, though. If your website is making any of these mistakes, we hope these resources will help you remedy them quickly. Once you’re back on track, you can better serve your users and start selling with your website. 

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