One of the trickier parts of inbound marketing is not to annoy or irritate your visitors. Yet so many websites today still contain the very things that can become a hassle and cause people to become frustrated and leave their sites. Why is this? One theory is that the website design is being focused on the web design side while ignoring the marketing side. This is a sure recipe for disaster and is NOT something you want happening to you. Designing a website, understandably, can be very stressful, especially if you are not knowledgeable in the subject, but you must remember that people need to find your site easily navigable and straightforward in order for it to be successful. You also want to remember that if one visitor has a bad experience while on your website, other people are going to find out. A bad experience from one customer can lead to high page abandonment rates, low conversion rates, poor organic search listings, and worst of all, a bad reputation. DON’T let this happen to you. Use this article as a guide for what NOT to do when designing your website and you will be better off for it.
This one is so obvious that this should be a joke. Pop-up ads have been, are, and will forever be the most annoying trait a website can have. Get rid of them! Yes, you may get a few subscribers through a pop-up ad, but trust us, the traffic you will lose because of your pop-up ads will far outweigh anything you can gain. Stick to proven conversion content such as well written content and interesting CTAs, and offers, not an annoying gimmick like a pop-up ad.
Imagine yourself having a nice, silent browsing session when you are, all of a sudden, blown out of your chair by a site’s video automatically playing when you go to the site. You scramble frantically to find the mute button, but you instead hit the back button since it is quicker and easier to find. Boom. That site just lost a visitor purely because their media automatically played when you went to their site. Don’t be one of these sites! You DO want media on your site, especially since it is interactive and will compel your visitors to become involved with your site, but allow them the choice to start or stop your media, don’t bombard them with it.
When considering this, you always want to remember the 3 second test. If you don’t know what that is, it is basically the 3 seconds it takes for the average user to become acclimated with your site. If you don’t pass this test, users will be hitting the back button after those 3 seconds rather than further exploring your site. Along with auto-playing media, confusing animations, blinking and flashing advertisements, and other interactive media, bewildering animations are a sure way of losing visitors simply because their eyes can’t handle the sensory overload. Yes, your animations are probably very cool, but remember that satisfying the customer is much more important that satisfying your artistic and creative needs; as far as marketing goes anyways.
Generic Stock Photography
We’ve all seen the generic pictures of a group of “businessmen and women” gathered around a conference table, pens, notepads, and computers out, all “collaborating” on their obviously very important project. The problem is those people don’t even work for your company, those notepads are probably blank, and those computers might not even be real computers. It’s all fake, and your visitors probably know this too. Display pictures of your employees, real people who work at your company, and photos of real customers who walk through your doors. Don’t sell your consumers short. Give them real content that will not only engage them, but will give them something of value. People have been browsing the internet too long for some generic stock photography to be of any interest to them. Images are only helpful if they clarify something, so make sure your images do this.
Valuing “Contact Us” Forms Over Contact Information
“Contact Us” forms are a good way to get people to send you their contact information and build an email list, the problem is that they are very generic and don’t allow the visitor to determine whether or not they will be receiving future correspondence from you. Sometimes visitors simply want to contact you once and be done with it. Don’t look at this as a bad thing, remember that if visitors and consumers feel like they have control they are more likely to do business with you in the future anyways. So make sure you have your business’ contact information in an easily visible location on your site. This should include your phone number, email, and any social media sites your company is connected to. This is a great alternative for people who want timely answers and help, not fill out a form and wait for a response.
Confusing “About Us” Page
Make sure your “About Us” page is understandable to the average person. You may think business and industry jargon will impress your visitors, but if they can’t even understand what you are saying, you are completely defeating you purpose. Write an “About Us” page that describes your business, yet is intelligible and easily understandable for anyone to read. The easiest way to do this is write an “About Us” then give it to friends and family members outside of your industry to read and ask them if it is clear and understandable. If they say yes, you’re golden, if they say no, you may want to proofread your description a bit more.
Writing For Bots
It’s important to keep SEO in mind when writing the text for your website. However, overdoing it will result in SEO-driven copy that is as visually overwhelming as it is confusing. Remember, when you are writing copy for your website that you are writing for humans, not just web crawlers. Yes, you want to keep SEO in mind so that your content and site rank well with search engines, but you don’t want your content to become so densely populated with keywords and SEO tricks that humans can’t read or understand your content. That would defeat the entire point of getting people to go to your site in the first place. Make sure you maintain a healthy balance between writing for bots and writing for humans.
Considering the fact that you are writing for humans, you probably have some interesting and compelling content that they would like to share with their friends and family. How do most people do this? On social media of course. So you want to make sure you include social sharing buttons such as Like This for Facebook or Tweet This! for Twitter. These social sharing buttons will make it very easy for visitors to share your content with others without having to go through the hassle of copying and pasting, shortening URLs so they fit tweets, or simplifying the content so it’ll fit in various social media structures. On top of this, when your visitors start sharing your content via social media, you’ll notice increased visibility for your content, more traffic on your site, more lead generation opportunities, and higher search engine rankings due to increased social signals.
Absence of a Blog
Blogs aren’t necessarily a necessity for a website, but they are very, very important and will only help your site if your intent is to put it over the top. Your visitors are visiting for a reason, and that is to learn about you and what you do. What better way to communicate this to them than through a blog?! Blogs have become especially important in today’s day in age because consumers are becoming smarter and learning how to research products, services, and companies before making final purchase decisions. Yes, you should already have an “About Us” page describing what your company does, but that doesn’t go into depth. Your visitors will get a much better sense of who you are as a company after reading a few of your blog posts rather than just knowing what your company does. This will also grow trust in the relationship between you and your customers because you are willing to give them more information than they are even asking for.
Your Titles and Content Don’t Match
People who have written blogs for awhile understand how important a catchy title is. A great and catchy title is what pulls readers into your writing and compels them to click on your links. However, this becomes a problem when your content doesn’t match your titles. Naturally, if your titles are misleading like this, visitors will become upset and they will quickly desert your site. The trick is to create catchy titles that match your content. Not only will you visitors be clicking on your links and enjoying your content, but you will also do better in search engine rankings since readers will give your content good reviews and the search engines will find your content relevant and useful since your titles and content match.
Going along with the matching theme, you want your call-to-actions (CTAs) to match your offers or you’re going to experience the same problems you would experience if your titles and content don’t match. In fact, the two are essentially the same thing. The CTA is your title; you want to make it catchy and enticing so people will want to click on it, but if your offer doesn’t match the CTA you will again have upset visitors and your site will lose its trustworthiness. For example, if your CTA says something along the lines of 50% off, but your offer requires the customer to first spend $1,000, you are guaranteed to upset people. Don’t do this! You will not only be insulting your potential customers, but you will also lose customers and business at the same time. This is the last thing you want happening.
Internal Links Aren’t User Friendly
Internal links can be very useful for both readers and your website. However, it seems a lot of websites do not know how to do this properly. They haphazardly incorporate internal links into their content that brings visitors to irrelevant pages, link weird phrases within the text, or they overload their text to the point that it literally becomes unreadable for readers. When you include internal links properly, they direct readers towards relevant information and will help your organic ranking for important pages within your own site. Make sure you only include internal links to relevant pages that will add to the reader’s experience and include the link on the anchor text that is most logical.
Sliders That are Loading…..Loading…..Loading…..Loading…..
Sliders are a great way to display several images without compromising on space within your website. But you need to remember that they need to be done correctly. If you have a slider that, every time you click to go to the next slide, it has to reload, you are wasting everyone’s time and you will lose visitors. Make sure that your slider images load quickly (preferably 3 seconds or less), and doesn’t require a new page to load every time a user clicks.
You Used Flash
We’ll be blunt. Flash can be amazing. In fact, we have seen many amazing sites created using Flash. Unfortunately, search engines cannot read it therefore your site will not be indexed. Additionally, visitors are usually looking for very specific information when visiting your site, and if they have to sit through a 10 second visual introduction before they can get the information they want, you are going to upset your visitors. Avoid Flash unless you think it is absolutely necessary.
Your Visitors Are Lost
The worst thing that can possibly happen to visitors while they are on your site is get lost. If your visitors are on your site and have no idea what to do next, you have failed in designing your website. The main things you want your visitors to understand as soon as they land on your site is what your website does, what the value of what you do is, and what they should do next. If you do not make each of these things clear, visitors will flee your site in droves. To avoid this, you want to include a clear and concise headline, jargon-free page copy that explains what you do and the value of what you do, and one, singular call-to-action per page that easily directs visitors to the next step. Your CTAs can consist of a blog, a free trial offer, a video, or any other type of action you wish your visitors to take.
(Information pulled from hubspot.com)
Certified Inbound Marketing Strategist | Content Marketing Specialist | Social Media Strategist | SEO