By Andrew Lowen
A website is often the first point of contact between you and your customer. But what if you’ve launched a brand new website and — for whatever reason — it’s converting badly?
I know how it is: You want to build your own website because you’ve convinced yourself that you can totally do this. You’ve watched a tutorial or two and feel confident that you’re ready to make a start.
However, if you’ve never done this before, you can soon run into problems. While many of us think that our own website looks simply stunning (because we created it!), the truth is that website building is strictly for those who know what they’re doing. That said, if you can iron out mistakes from your game, there’s no reason why you can’t build your own amazing website.
Let’s take a look at some of the rookie mistakes that even the pros sometimes make.
Lack of Mobile Readiness
Mobile usage overtook desktop for the first time in 2016, and Google has launched the “mobile-first indexing of the web.” What does that mean? It means that Google uses information about the mobile version of a website — such as a page speed, meta tags, and structured data — to rank you. In the past, it used to take the information it needed from the desktop version of a website.
As a consequence, website builders need to pay very close attention to the mobile version of their sites, but yet so many of us are still not doing this.
From now on, you need to test your website on your mobile device. If there are areas that are hard to read — or which don’t seem to be working at all — make a note of them and then fix them. If fixing them seems impossible, hire a professional website builder to help you out.
Here are some more tips as you seek to make your website mobile ready:
- Don’t use Flash software; it doesn’t work on mobile devices.
- Don’t place links too close together. If your Contact page is too close to your About Me page on mobile versions of your website, site visitors might find it hard to select the link they want.
- Don’t make text so small and hard to read that people have to zoom in to read it.
No Proper Direction For Customers
We’re talking about pure user experience here. When someone lands on your page, they’re looking for something to do. Are you going to show them the way? Or are you going to confuse the living heck out of them?
It’s key that you provide clear instructions on your website that guides people to the right places. This includes using the right headings (About Me, Blog, etc.) and the right links that take customers to where they want to go next. If you sell products, make it very easy for people to find your product pages.
Too Much Choice for Customers On One Page
This one follows on from the above point. If you give people too many choices on a single page, they might cave in to the paradox of choice and not make any choices at all.
This all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve on each page. For example, if you want to capture email addresses, create a clear and concise page that does just that.
No Clear Call To Action
The call to action (CTA) is the part of your website where you tell people exactly what it is that you want them to do. It’s where conversions are meant to rocket. But so many newbie website builders get this so wrong that their CTAs aren’t compelling enough to land them the conversions they want.
A good CTA needs to have just one thing that you want your customer to do. It needs to be visually compelling (contrasting colors work well), and ideally it should take the form of a button. CopyBlogger did some research on this and found that a CTA button boosted their conversions by 45%.
Write your CTAs in the first person, too. This way, you’re involving people and giving them a sense of ownership.
Slow Site Speed
When building your own website, the last question that’s probably on your mind is, “What if this thing takes ages to load?” Slow site speed costs businesses a lot of money. Research has shown that 50% of site visitors expect a website to be fully loaded in just 2 seconds. If it hasn’t loaded after 3 seconds, they’re probably going to bail out.
Worse still, 40% of site visitors will share a bad website experience with their friends – and a slow loading website is a bad experience. A slow loading website harms your bounce rate, which has a negative impact on your position in the SERPs.
When building your website, here are some things that can cause a website to load slowly:
- Overly large images
- Content that hasn’t been compressed
- Too many 301 redirects
- Web pages that you haven’t cached
- Too many HTTP requests
- Placing the script references at the top of the page instead of the bottom
Hidden Contact Details
This is a big one. Not being able to find the contact details of a company via their website is a source of huge frustration for site visitors. People want to be able to find your contact details easily – they don’t want to spend too much time searching for them. So, make it easy. Make your contact details super visible.
All in all, website building can be fun! …
… But it can also be a pointless and costly exercise if you don’t iron out the mistakes. One final point I want to make is that even once your website is up and running and looks amazing across all devices, there’s still one blunder you can make, and this is not checking your analytics. Always monitor your performance so that you know what’s working and what isn’t.
Other than that, good luck. Follow the guidelines on this article and you should be well on your way to creating a website that’s user-friendly and which works for both the customer and your business.