Today I’ve called in the help of Millicent Schnebly of Maker + Made, our design partner, to give us some tips about what makes a crappy website. Your website is the only real estate that you actually own on the internet. You don’t own your Instagram followers or Facebook fans, but your website is YOURS. It’s the most valuable part of your online presence. It needs to perform, and if it’s not? Well, it’s time for an upgrade. So here are 5 reasons your website might be terrible.
1. Poor User Experience
What do we mean when we say “user experience”? We mean that when a person comes to your website, they know exactly where to navigate to find what information they are looking for. It’s their experience of your site—how it makes them feel, how easy it is to use, and their overall perception of your company or product.
Too often sites are built with only the company or product in mind. Instead, focus on your user—your customer, your client, your mom. How should they be lead through your website? What goals would you like them to accomplish, and which pages do they need to visit before that goal can be accomplished?
For example, if you’re selling a product, you probably first want your user to understand what that product is and what benefits it provides them. After that, they need to understand what buying options they have, and how to purchase. But—they might also have some further questions. Do you have an FAQ page, or a place where they can contact you for questions? Make it easy for them to find what they need.
Story short—put yourself in the shoes of a brand new customer visiting your site and ask yourself the questions they would ask themselves, then make it blindingly easy for them to find what they’re looking for.
2. Calls to action—too many or not enough
Have you ever visited a website with flashing words and buttons and bold text and arrows all over the place and it felt like you were going to have an epileptic episode? Yep, us too.
Now, have you ever visited a site and wholeheartedly wanted to purchase their product or learn more about their services, but there was nowhere to click to “buy” or “get more information”? Again, us too.
These examples run both spectrums of the call to action conundrum. First, the belief that all customers need in order to buy your product are millions of flashy lights, and second, the fear of feeling to pushy and sales-y and “how could anyone possibly want to buy this from me??” Somewhere in the middle of these two scenarios is the appropriate amount of calls to action.
The key here is going back to that initial user experience point at the top of this blog post and decide what your user’s goals are for your website, what questions they’ll be asking themselves, and where they need to go to answer those questions. Add buttons to “buy” or “get more information” where it makes sense, and never anywhere beyond that.
The second thing to keep in mind for calls to action is that you never want someone to stop at the end of a page of your site and not know where to go. For example, at the end of your about page, after they’ve read all about you and your company and the purpose behind what you do, give them a button that says “see what we sell” so they can navigate to your shop page to browse the options. They should never hit a dead end. Not only will this make their experience better on your site, but it should decrease your bounce rate on your analytics.
3. Poor Quality Images
Say it loud for the people in the back! Your terrible images are ruining the entire feeling of your website! I wish we were being dramatic, but unfortunately for everyone that owns a website, we are not.
Cell phone photos are great for Instagram, but blow them up big on a high-resolution desktop screen and they don’t look so hot anymore. Stock photography? Don’t get us wrong, sometimes it can work. But unless your paying good money for a high-quality subscription service—that sunset-filter image of two people smiling while looking directly into the camera probably isn’t doing you or your business justice.
What we would recommend is hiring a photographer to do a brand shoot annually. It’s the best investment you can make for the look of not only your website but your entire business presence. You can use the images for social media, brochures, blog posts—the list goes on and on. Find a local photographer that specializes in brand shoots and make a list of the images you want—headshots, flat lays of your desk, styled shots of you “doing your thang”.
It’ll cost you a couple of hundred dollars up front, but you’ll have content for the next year. Money well spent, in our opinion.
4. Bad copywriting. Too much, not enough, etc.
Copywriting=the words on your website.
Although, the importance of “the words” on your website is much more than “just words”. They’re the base of your entire message, your voice on your website, and how you’ll “sell” whatever you’re selling.
Do you want to know the secret to writing the best copy in the entire universe? It’s simple, and it’s right in front of you.
It’s your customer.
If you focus on the needs of your customer, everything else will fall into place. What questions do they want to be answered? What information do they need to know to hire you? HOW do they want to hear that information? Pretend your target customer (you can link to our blog post about finding this if you want) is sitting at a table right across from you, and write your website copy specifically for them. Pay attention to the voice or tone you’re writing in and make sure it’s talking directly to them. Is it funny and light-hearted, or is it professional and elevated?
The worst thing we see across the web are sites that utilize too much copy content. Your customer doesn’t want to wade through paragraphs of text to reach the information they want. So keep in mind the amount of content you’re presenting, too.
5. Your brand
Hate to break the bad news, but—if you’re not standing on a solid base of a great brand that speaks directly to your target audience, your business is already suffering, and there’s probably no amount of good user experience or copywriting that will save you all of the way.
Your colors need to draw in the people that you’re trying to speak to, your font choices should appeal to those people as well. This is your target audience, and your entire website is focused on them—shouldn’t your brand be, too?
Did your website pass the test? If not, we would love to help!
We build highly optimized websites that are lead generating machines. We believe your website should not only look incredible but also be a tool to help you grow your business. Interested? Fill in the form below and we will be in touch!