In an increasingly virtual world, your website is one of the most important components of your business. A good business website experience is as vital as having a presentable space and friendly staff at your business office or brick-and-mortar store.
Imagine if someone walked into your office and there were papers, folders and trash littering the reception area. Also imagine if they asked your receptionist a question and she was rude or, worse, completely ignored them.
A bad user experience on your website is almost the exact same thing. First impressions count, so if your website is unhelpful or carelessly done, then potential customers and business partners may think that this is how you approach all aspects of your business.
To make your virtual office as impressive as your real one, watch out for the following 8 common blunders business websites make:
Your site does not have to drop jaws with its design, but it should not offend the eyes either. Avoid the following:
- Garish, high-contrast or uncomplimentary color schemes
- Stark or blank websites — minimalism can be good but only when it does a lot with little
- Too cluttered of a layout
- Unreadable or obnoxious text — no comic sans ever!
- Aspects that make your site look dated like plain HTML formatting, frames or aging templates
Navigation is a component of visuals, but it is also a logical challenge as well. Make sure that the categories you use make sense. Also be certain that the user will be able to find the information they are looking for without too many clicks or guesswork.
Have your friends and family test out the site to ensure it is easy to navigate, especially people that do not use the internet very often.
Have you ever visited a website to find out something and wondered, “What? Are they trying to keep it a secret?” Users can often shake their head when your website fails to tell them important information they need to make a decision.
First and foremost always have:
- Contact information — provided or linked to on every single page
- Office/store location — maps are especially helpful
- A description of your business and what you specialize in
- Hours of operation
- Accepted methods of payment
- Qualifications — any licenses, certifications, accreditations or past experience you may have
- Photos — either of the typical work you do, happy clients, your staff, your office, etc.
- Frequently asked questions
- Some “flavor” text for your business to differentiate you from competitors — Your unique values, a story of your foundation, something about the community you like to serve
- Reviews, testimonials and case studies
- Links to available services, product listings, real estate listings, etc.
Visiting your site should feel like your brand is having a conversation with the user. Keep that conversation fresh with the latest news, information or updates on your business and your field. “Evergreen” content that provides general information and never gets stale is also useful as long as you add more on a consistent basis.
Not only will visitors appreciate these updates, but so will search engines. Outdated and neglected sites often get passed up for newer content. Keep your website up to date and start a blog to stay on people’s radar.
Forcing Something Upon Your User
Flash intros were a terrible idea in the early 2000s, and they continue to be a terrible idea today. In fact, any sort of presentation, video, music or other content that pops up automatically will frustrate your users.
You should especially consider the fact that these forced components punish people who want to use your site regularly — your best customers.
Along with videos or music that automatically plays, also avoid steering your visitors immediately to something they might not find relevant. Redirects are rude, if nothing else, and they make it harder for the visitor to find your homepage again. Make any survey prompts or offer notifications subtle and unobtrusive.
Leaving off a Call to Action
A call to action is anything that prompts a user to move to your next desired step. Maybe you want them to ask for a quote, maybe you want them to visit another part of your site or maybe you just want them to share your page with their friends.
No matter what you would like them to do, prompt them openly but politely to do it at the end of your page’s content. An engaged user is a captive user, so use that scenario to your advantage and tell them what you think their next step should be.
Ignoring Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a method of constructing your web page information and text in such a way as to make you more visible to search engines. Research keywords your market would use and include them on web pages to get better ranking on search results.
An example would be a Surrey-based real estate firm using “Surrey homes for sale” as a web page title rather than repeating their business name.
Not Making Your Design Responsive/Mobile Friendly
In 2014, more people used their smart phones to browse the internet than desktop computers. Make sure your website displays in an attractive, usable way on mobile devices.
A simple workaround is to put responsive parameters in your page code, telling it to resize based on the display (monitor, phone screen, etc.) the visitor is using. Even better mobile optimization means structuring your whole page in such a way that it looks beautiful and fun to use on a touchscreen device.
Many of these problems can be fixed with your existing web team, but only an expert can help you out with the most vital ones. Aspects like SEO and mobile optimization are not something you can learn on the weekends. Only trust qualified, experienced web design and development teams to help you create a web page that represents your company well.
To learn more about how to make your business website the crown jewel of your field, you can visit our Website Design page.