Why do horrible websites exist? Why does anything horrible exist? Simple: the people who have them don’t see that there’s a problem. However, ignorance is not bliss. If you’re using your website to market your products or services, you only have a few crucial seconds to convince potential clients that browsing is worth their time—or else, the sale will be sacrificed to the dreaded X button. (Or red circle for Mac users. You know what we mean.)
Below are 10 details that may seem unimportant when assembling your website, but actually have a tremendous impact on forming that all-important first impression.
1. Your users are required to download Adobe Flash
There is a time and place for Adobe Flash. That time is 1996. No, seriously, there are a lot of modern websites that pull off very beautiful and striking Flash intros, but the problem with Flash is that if your visitor is asked to download it, or update it, in order to view the website, there’s a 99.99% chance he or she will just exit. We made that percentage up, but we’re pretty sure it’s true. We can’t remember the last time we were asked to download or update our Flash players and actually did so, and we’re sure you can’t either. We aren’t willing to invest that sort of time when we just want to look at some yoga pants.
These are not worth a 2-minute Flash download, nor are they worth $118, @Lululemon.
Remember that even if everyone in your circle probably already has Flash, and the patience to update it, Paw Kettle sitting in his farmhouse probably doesn’t. Skip the fancy Flash intros, and you’ll be ensuring that your site is accessible to all.
2. Your colors are super boring
When you’re putting your website together, there are about 10 million colors to choose from. If you have selected gray with blue words, or white and gray, or blue and white, or blue and gray, it does not speak well for your company’s creativity, uniqueness, and personality. We understand that blue, gray, and white are all nice, clean, neutral colors, and you may have selected them because you feel that they’re inclusive to all tastes. However, remember that the web world is massively competitive. If your clients are opening up your competitor’s site and being dazzled by beautiful imagery, colors and words, they aren’t going to be wowed by your more modest site…no matter how much better your offerings are.
3. Your colors are an assault on the eyeballs
Purple and yellow. Green and brown. There are a lot of color combinations out there that are just too much. Fortunately, bright, contrasting colors are a web design trend that largely disappeared with the Backstreet Boys, and nowadays it’s rare to see a website whose colors are straight-up blinding. However, every so often we’ll run across one…and it always makes an impression.
A bad one.
To make sure that your site isn’t clashing, consider consulting with a professional graphic designer who can give you some industry-informed feedback.
4. Your font is tiny
We get it. You’re a hip, happening tech/finance/advertising guru/ninja/pirate, and you want everyone to know that you’re too school for cool. And as we all know, cool guys have tiny things.
However, think back to Paw Kettle sitting in his farmhouse. Paw Kettle doesn’t truck with all your new-aged microscopic font sizes, and he’s not going to bother investing in your services when he needs a magnifying glass to find out what you have to offer. And he doesn’t know how to enlarge the page. Or how to Google how to do it. (No offense to Paw Kettle. He, unlike us, is a true man’s man).
He is more of a man than we will ever be.
Anyway, all jokes aside, you get the point: your tiny font might make you look modern and cool, but it might also be driving away your customers, even the non-farmer-stereotype ones.
5. Your navigation bar uses weird language
The best name for your contact page is probably “Contact Us”. Not “Send us a Smoke Signal”, “Reach Out and Touch Us”, “Start a New Chapter”, “Light our Fire”, or whatever creative line you’re itching to go with. Never make your visitors do any work, including thinking. We get that you want to differentiate yourself, and we are totally on board with personable, unique branding. However, when it comes to the navigation, simple is best.
6. Too much about you, not enough about your company
This is a mistake most commonly made by startups and sole proprietors. It’s definitely a great idea to have a space where visitors can learn more about you, your team, and your company story, but the front landing page should be all about your services and what you have to offer. If your front landing page is a very long description of yourself and your motivation for starting the company, consider moving all that information to an “About Us” or “About the Owner” section, and let your work do most of the talking.
Also, remember to differentiate yourself from your company. Using the word “I” throughout the copy instead of “we”, for example, reduces your professionalism. Instead, try to define what makes your company a company and not an individual man or woman, even if that’s exactly what you are.
7. You don’t have any work samples
It’s just as true online as it was in school: Show Your Work. If you’re a contractor, make sure your website has a photo gallery of nice remodeled kitchens you’ve done. If you’re a hairstylist, show off the cuts and blowouts you’ve coifed. Make sure that it’s easy for visitors to investigate the quality of your work. Anyone can say that they’re good, regardless of whether or not it’s true, and modern consumers are keenly aware of that. A missing work samples page might suggest that you have nothing good to show, or that you aren’t proud enough of your work to display it.
If your services are more intangible, you might have to get a little creative. For instance, if you’re an after-school math tutor, you might want to post a student’s A+ math test (with parent permission, of course). References and quotes from happy clients are never a bad thing, but try to accompany them with concrete work samples whenever possible. Most people know that glowing reviews are cherry-picked, making them a tad less convincing.
8. It’s slow to load
Here, we run into the same problem as with the Flash downloads: If web visitors are forced to wait for something, they’ll just leave. In fact, according to research from digital marketing blog Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of visitors will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Kissmetrics also found that a 1 second delay in load time could result in a 7% reduction in sales. In other words, an ecommerce site making $100,000 a day could lose $2.5 million in yearly sales from just a 1 second delay. Slow load time can also negatively affect your SEO rankings in search engine results.
The bottom line? It’s important for your page to load as quickly as possible. If it isn’t, a professional web developer can help you figure out what’s slowing it down. There are also numerous free speed tests on the web that you might investigate, as well as articles on the subject. Typically, though, slow load time is a result of all the bells and whistles we like to add: cool graphics, huge images, and all the free widgets and add-ons that come with most web themes.
It was a dark day at Etailpro when we had to get rid of our glitter mouse cursor.
9. Your contact info isn’t obvious, or present
It should take your visitors about .5 seconds to locate your phone number and email address. If they can’t, you run a great chance of losing the sale. In fact, we recommend placing your phone number on every page, especially the front page. That way, your visitor doesn’t have to put forth any effort to find out how to get in touch with you, making him or her much more likely to do so.
10. Your Contact Form is Broken
Recently, one of our employees called the cable company to find out why her internet had suddenly cut out. The first thing the helpful customer service guy advised her to do was check that the modem was still plugged in.
“Ha ha ha ha HA,” said our employee. “Do you really think that I, a bright upstanding millennial working in the tech industry, have made this foolish old-person mistake?” At which point she promptly arrived at the wall outlet and discovered that someone had indeed unplugged the modem.
The point is, if you’re not receiving any mail, check the simplest thing first: your contact form might just be broken. Send yourself an email and verify that it’s working. Then go check on your modem.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you identify some common web mistakes that can cause businesses to lose customers. If you need more help retaining and converting your visitors, Etailpro can help with custom exit popups and an integrated email marketing campaign that encourages visitors to return again and again. Click here to learn more about how we do it, and when you’re ready to give your ecommerce site a boost, give us a call.