A well-designed website organically grows a company's business and reinforces branding.
A study by Nielsen Norman Group found that users stay on a website for an average of 10 to 20 seconds. Visitors hang around longer only if they find something worthwhile during those initial glances. For a business, every second counts.
Several factors may strip a website of value. Here are 11 problems that affect a site’s presentation alongside fixes to immediately apply to help drive greater user engagement and better traffic.
1. Low-quality visuals.
Many have written about the power of visuals in communication. A 1986 study by the University of Minnesota's Management Information Systems Research Center with 3M support found presentations using visual aids 43 percent more convincing. A website’s potential can be held back by the inclusion of low-quality visuals.
Marketing expert Govind Agarwal recommends having high-quality photos to grab viewers’ attention, increase social shares and even boost overall SEO if pictures are tagged appropriately. Labnol.org offers a list of places for finding free professional images.
2. Lack of reviews or testimonials.
If its website does not have testimonials, a business is missing out on an easy and effective marketing tool. Customers are discriminating. Merely telling them of the strength of product or service is not enough anymore. Testimonials can help create trust for a company's offerings and quell concerns customers might have about making a purchase. Derek Gehl, CEO of the Internet Marketing Center, has shared guide to using testimonials and choosing ones that are suit an audience.
3. Lacking color savvy.
Another factor that might cause weak sales on a company site is its color scheme. Much research is being done on visual information that's hue-related. Many entrepreneurs probably already understand the importance of branding. A powerful brand sets the company apart from the competition and makes the business instantly recognizable to consumers. But it can lose credibility with users if its website is adorned with an unimpressive color scheme.
For a crash course on color theory, reference Smashing Magazine’s in-depth guide. Determine what the company's brand should convey to customers and be sure the website has an appropriate color scheme to match.
4. Outdated information.
Scroll down to the bottom of a webpage to where a copyright date is listed. Is it still recent? According to Small Business Trends, a website appearance that looks out of date is an instant turnoff to customers.
Clients want to see that a company has put in effort to stay current. This includes regularly adding new content and refreshing existing copy.
5. Hard to find.
The best website in the world is useless if no one can find it. An entrepreneur need not know much about search engine optimization to develop pages that are easily discoverable by search engines and consumers. Gwen Moran has recommended a strong domain name, carefully optimized page titles to accurately reflect the content inside and using keywords effectively.
6. Not being mobile friendly.
A business website may resemble a work of art when opened on a desktop computer, but if it does not display well or function on a mobile device, the company will lose out on a growing segment of the online audience. Shopify, a leading ecommerce platform, looked at data from more than 100,000 websites that use its platform and found that slightly more than 50 percent of shopping is being done via mobile. To ensure that a website is mobile responsive, check these actionable tips.
7. Difficulty in finding contact information.
Ever needed assistance in a store just when all the sales associates seem to have disappeared? In retail, that should never be the case. Online, it shouldn’t be either. If a customer has a question or needs help, the site's contact information should be easy to find. Being available on demand, such as via live chat, can also help a business better engage customers, reduce costs and boost sales.
8. Misdirected focus.
Customers want their experience on a business website to be focused on them. This means including sections that answer their questions and address their needs. An easy fix is including a frequently asked questions, or FAQ, page. The Content Marketing Institute recommends highlighting top questions, with timely answers and making the archive searchable. When possible, simplify the user experience by making answers accessible within one click. Customers want fast, helpful information.
9. Requiring sign-ups first
Forcing users to sign up on a company site before they can access can deter engagement. It puts an artificial hurdle between customers and the company's products. According to user-experience blog UX Movement, aggressive sign-up forms make readers hesitant to divulge personal information for fear of receiving spam. In many cases, consumers assume the value they'll receive won’t be worth the price they pay in sharing an email address. Make each visit count and do not corner users into doing anything they're not comfortable doing.
10. Audio or video the autoplays.
One way to surely annoy a site’s visitors is to set audio and video on pages to autoplay. In an editorial, Troy Dreier, senior associate editor of StreamingMedia.com, wrote, “Sites are overusing autoplay, and it reflects badly on the whole online video industry.” Unfortunately, publishers, desperate for revenue, are still happy to deliver autoplay ads. To minimize disruptions to the reader experience, limit a clip to five seconds or less or offer a pause or stop button if it runs longer.
11. Painfully slow load times.
Digital audiences are impatient. Even if a website is filled with incredibly captivating media, it may experience high bounce rates if pages take too long to load for readers. Visitors highly value their time, so build a fast website that caters to their needs at lightning speed. Compressing images and large files is an easy way to guarantee quicker load times. Use a tool like Smush.it to shrink files and optimize a site’s performance.