Your website is one of the most important, if not the most important marketing piece you own. It is the home-base, virtual storefront of your business. As a result of that, you need to make sure it is working for you, and is in line with your business.
As a web designer, and avid internet user (I can't tell you how much I read and absorb random, amazing things on the interwebs!) I am online A LOT. As a result, I see a lot of websites on a daily basis. There are website mistakes I see on a consistent basis and it makes me want to bang my head against the wall! These mistakes are such easy fixes that can improve your website experience time a gabillion (that's a real stat by the way).
Review these seven website mistakes you're making, and put in your calendar to fix one of these a week. In just a short time, you will be on your way to a more profitable, and strategic website.
7 mistakes you're making on your website
1. There’s no personality
Using a template is a great starting point (especially with Squarespace). But the problem with using a template is having it look like every other website using the same one. You want to stand out, not look the same. Add some personality to your site by implementing some custom graphics or photos.
Some easy ways to give it more personality:
- Creating custom graphics to help break up text, and make it more interesting.
- Add in some custom icons
- Custom photography or using on-brand stock photography
- Change the colours in buttons, social media links, headlines and your navigation
- Hire a copywriter to infuse quirky sayings, or personality into your words, calls to action etc.
2. Updating it once a year or once in awhile
Your website should be a fluid piece. I have changed my website countless times since launching my business a year ago. I’ve scrapped designs and started from scratch, tweaked graphics, changed the copy, re-designed pages, moved pages around etc.
It’s okay to change things up and tweak as you go.
Especially if you have dates on your website, or time sensitive information. I have seen so many websites that still have lines like "now booking 2016" or "Coming in February 2017". It's obvious that these people aren't taking the time to update their content, and it automatically makes me think their business is on hold or stagnant.
Another business owner, Olive sent a newsletter a few weeks ago about why running a business is a lot like changing the temperature in your shower.
A little to left and it’s to hot. A little to the right and it’s too cold.
Constant tweaking. Constant adjustments. Constant response. Zig, zag. Pull forward, push back. Hang on, let go.
The same thing can be said for your website. Constant tweaking, constant adjustment, constant response.
This may sounds a little overwhelming, and may imply that the work is never done. And trust me, it isn’t. Through all of this, I want to stress the importance of having a website that allows you to adjust, tweak and change.
If you have to contact your web designer or developer every time you need a change made, you’re doing it wrong. There are easier platforms, and ways to do business then having to run to someone else every time you need something.
Choose a platform that you update easily, by yourself. Have it setup by a designer to get you started (read here for more information about why that’s important), but ensure that you get trained on how to make changes and use the platform correctly.
Your website should be updated on a regular basis. An update can be as simple as changing your pricing, adding new availability or start dates to your packages, and changing out some images or graphics to freshen it up.
3. Not telling people what you want them do
What is your main goal for your website? Is it to get more email signups, more inquiries, more page views or blog post shares? People are lazy and don’t have time to figure out what they want to do. Make it easy by telling them exactly where you want them to go or what action you want them to take.
When you go to your homepage is it clear what you want from them? If not, then what can you change to make your goal more prominent. Maybe that’s moving your sign up form to the top, or just having one call to action instead of three.
4. It’s not clear what you do or how you can help
Like I said above, people don’t have time to figure out what you do. If it’s not clear to them within the first minute of landing on your website, then they’re moving on to the next tab.
Having a clear sentence about what you do, and how you help people on the first page of your website is good for SEO purposes and for hooking people within the first few seconds.
When you’re working on your business, is can be hard to critique what’s working and what isn’t. Get someone outside of your business to take a look at your website and ask them what you do. Were they able to figure it out, or is it a little fuzzy?
5. You're missing information
Imagine a client landed on your website, and they are so pumped to work with you, but as soon as they go to contact you..... the form freezes, doesn't exist or they simply can't figure out how to book you! Imagine how many clients you could be loosing if any of those things were true!
Make it super simple for people to get a hold of you, and better yet, give them more than one option. Put an email address beside the contact form, give them another option if something were to happen to your form.
Website visitors also need it to be clear cut. Tell them exactly how, when and where to contact you, and include it in more than one spot! A potential client won't be going on every page of your website, so you need to hit them in more than one spot.
IMAGES OF YOU
I don't know about you, but I like to see the faces behind the business. If a website doesn't have an image of the owner, or team of people, I close the tab and move on. I want to know who YOU are, so I can visualize how we would work together. Put a picture of yourself in at LEAST one place on your website. And don't make it a cheesy selfie you took in the car on your way to an appointment, make it professional, branded and a reflection of your personality. It will help build trust with your audience, and put a face to this business they are now interested in.
6. It looks generic and like everyone else’s
While platforms like Squarespace are simple to use and update (which Is why I use them for my clients), it also means you have limited options for templates to use. This puts you at risk for looking like everyone else using that same template.
Your brand is unique, and your website is the storefront of your business. It needs to showcase your brand and infuse your personality into it, not look like everyone else’s. Hiring a designer to make your website will ensure that you’re showcasing yourself the best you can. Read this post for more info on why it’s so important to hire a designer.
7. You direct people off your website
This is one of the most common mistakes I see on business websites especially. There are a TON of great apps and services out there to make our life easier as a business owner. But that also means a lot of integrations, and ways to move people off your website.
The most common culprit is Leadpages! Business owners have it linked to their opt-ins, pop-ups, blog posts.... you name it, it's there. But the one downfall of using this feature, is after signing up for your email, you re-direct me to a thank you page OFF your website.
Often times I'm in the middle of reading an awesome blog post, when I see your AMAZING, Give that to me now, opt-in. Only to sign up and be directed away from that article I was in the middle of reading.
Find a way to keep people on your site, and don't interrupt their natural flow.
As the virtual storefront of your business and brand, your website should be working extra hard for you. By simply making a few updates and avoiding the seven website mistakes above, you are well on your way to having a successful and strategic website.
What are some of the biggest website mistakes you've seen?