5 Website Mistakes To Avoid
Having a website online these days is really the equivalent of being in the phone book back in the day when phone books mattered. If someone tries to find you or your business online and you don't exist, well then... you basically don't exist.
Everything from restaurants (being able to scope menus and pricing before you arrive) to a personal portfolio or online resume is important in making yourself accessible to your audience.
If you want to keep visitors engaged on your website, and help move them from stumbled-upon-your-site to contact, sign-ups, opt-ins or purchasing customer, then these are 5 mistakes you don't want to make:
1. Poor imagery/design:
When you don't put any effort into having captivating imagery and consistent, quality design, you're telling your visitors you didn't care enough to consider or invest. This doesn't mean you need to run out and hire a designer and a photographer. It would significantly help, but you can definitely get great imagery from stock photos, or a friend who has a half decent camera. You can also use beautiful templates and customize them with your own visual brand identity and graphics.
2. Unclear copy:
You need to be extremely clear about what it is you do, who you are and how you can help your audience. I mean crystal clear. We know people CAN figure these things out on their own, but we shouldn't make them work so hard to read paragraphs of text or click link after link just to understand exactly what it is you do. Make sure your headlines and subtitles are being used effectively to give summaries and quick details to your user.
3. Not having a clear call to action:
What is it that you want users to do when they land on your website? Do you want them to purchase something? Sign up for your email list? Follow you on social media? Download an app? Whatever your most important call to action is, it should be VERY easy to find and very visible. Make this the entire point of your website.
Do you sell software that offers a free trial? Make that button a part of the navigation menu, or include a free trial button in the header banner of your home page. Want someone to opt-into your email list? Include the form along with some graphics wherever it's most visible.
Look at how clear the call to action is here with Active Campaign's landing page. The "Try it free" button is highlighted and the signup form is nicely designed right there in the header.
4. A super long navigation menu:
When someone stumbles across your website, it shouldn't take them 10 minutes to figure out which tab they want to click on to get the info they need. Make your navigation menu clear and keep it under 6 tabs, if possible.
Use drop down menus so you can categorize pages under broader subjects. For example, if you have a page with your bio, another page with your process and another page for FAQs, you can roll all of these up into an "About" tab in your menu. Voila!
Bonus points if you have something simple like a "Work with Me" tab or "Start here" option!
5. Not branding your content:
Anyone on the internet can use stock images and anyone can use standard template design and fonts. What's setting you apart from all of them? Your brand.
You need to ensure all content is following your branding visual system of fonts, colours, tones, imagery, icons, patterns...etc. When someone skims your content, they should know it's coming from you (or rather, your brand). This is what sets you apart and gives you a step up in standing out in a crowd. Your website should be visually consistent with the rest of your brand content so that users can recognize you and remember you!
Related: Need some help working through the branding process? Read: Branding Checklist
By focusing on making your website incredibly user friendly, using high quality imagery + design and keeping things visually consistent with your brand, you'll work to increase the engagement of visitors and decrease your bounce rate (the rate of people landing on your home page and closing the tab right away).
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