Bad websites can do more harm than good for your brand. They can scare potential leads away, cause you to lose out on conversions, and lead to a negative perception of your brand. If your site isn’t optimized for the user, your business will suffer.
Here are some of the most common website mistakes that can harm your business (and a few ways you can fix ‘em!).
Bad User Experience
Various factors can contribute to a bad user experience (UX), many of which we will cover in this article. A bad UX can result in a loss of conversions and ultimately hurt your business.
Each page of your site should have a clear intention. If your goal is to, say, offer digital services to potential clients, then you’ll want to make sure you direct users through your site in the correct order.
Here on our site, you can see that we offer three main services: websites, digital marketing, and web apps. Depending on the needs of the user, they can then explore the relevant category. Our call-to-action on this page is the red text below each category, suggesting the user learn more. Each category and respective call-to-action is clear to the user because of the use of negative space. If a user is on this page, it is probably because they are looking to invest in one or more of the services that we offer.
Not offering users the information they are looking for leads to a bad UX. Today, it is easier than ever for consumers to get what they want when they want it. Your site needs to deliver the information the user is looking for at the moment they get to your page. If not, they can go to another site within a second.
Your site does a lot for your business’s credibility, so your first priority should be to communicate that you know what you’re talking about.
Here is an example of a website that we designed for the National Basketball Athletic Trainer’s Association.
Websites should be simple, include visuals, provide useful content, and have a call-to-action (CTA).
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to website design. Low costs will yield poor results. An investment in a good site will go a long way and building a custom website will take your business to a new level.
Even if your outdated content is performing well, you should always keep the user in mind. The content on your site should be relevant and useful. Outdated content can drag down the authority of your site and negatively affect your SEO.
Google favors quality content and considers its publishing date when determining your ranking. When content marketing first came onto the scene, everyone was writing as many articles as they could, because it was believed that the more posts you had - the better you would rank. Now, Google is filtering out bad content marketing because most of it isn’t beneficial to readers. If the content on your site isn’t useful, it won’t be delivered to users.
To determine if your content is performing, you can complete a content audit.
There are a few steps to this process. First, you will need to assess the quality of each of your content pieces.
- Title: Is your title optimized? Does it benefit the reader?
- URL: Is it SEO-friendly? Does it need to be changed?
- Author: Who wrote it? Are they an expert or authority in the field?
- Publication Date: How long ago was it written?
- Traffic: How many people have read this article since it was posted?
- Links: How many inbound and internal links are there?
Google defines quality content as:
- Useful and informative.
- More valuable and useful than other sites.
After evaluating your content according to these standards, you can decide whether your underperforming content needs to be updated or removed.
You can leverage the value of old content by updating it. Repurposing content can help to improve your visibility, traffic & SEO. Google rewards content that was published recently with a higher ranking.
To update your old content, you can:
- Fix past grammar mistakes.
- Improve the content’s accuracy. Depending on how long ago the content was written, some information may be out-of-date or incorrect. You can update this information so that the post is relevant.
- Remove broken links & add better links. Google favors links from authoritative sources. Adding better links will, in turn. Increase your site’s authority and improve SEO.
- Add multimedia. Google favors content with multiple forms of media. Adding photos and videos can also help to break up your content and make it easier to read- resulting in a better user experience.
- Optimize for new keywords. Depending on when you last edited the content, you may need to optimize for different keywords. Or, if keywords weren’t on your radar when you first wrote the piece, you may need to edit it so that you do include important keywords.
By updating outdated content, you can improve how often Google indexes your site.
Google crawls your entire site when something is updated. Therefore, if you update your old content, Google will index your entire site more often. The more frequently Google indexes your site, the greater chance you will have at your content showing up in search results after publishing.
Updating old content will also help to improve your click-through rate (CTR). People are more inclined to click on articles that were most-recently published. Especially when reading about topics that are ever-changing, like SEO, healthcare or technology. Updating your content will give it a recent publishing date, therefore making users more likely to click through to your site.
If you find that you have content that isn’t relevant to your readers, isn’t performing well and has no backlinks, then you should remove it.
If you delete a page, the first thing you should do is redirect the URL to a related, existing page on your site.
If you don’t redirect the URL, a user may encounter a 404 error. You should build a custom 404 page to redirect visitors.
If necessary, you can request a removal of outdated content from Google.
Typos & Errors
Spelling mistakes can negatively impact the credibility of your site. Global Lingo found that 59% of people would not trust a company that had obvious grammar mistakes on its website or marketing material. According to Matt Cutts, good spelling and grammar are correlated with higher-ranking websites.
Here are a few tools we suggest to help you catch those occasional slip-ups:
- Grammarly is an AI-powered writing assistant that corrects mistakes in real time. Grammarly not only catches grammar and spelling mishaps but can correct style and tone as well. The plug-in works while you’re writing emails, browsing social media, working on projects or creating content on Google Docs.
- Hemingway is an editing tool that evaluates the readability of your content. This tool is helpful in eliminating confusing or prolonged sentences. It will highlight where it believes you need to simplify your work:
- Yellow and red where your sentences become too long
- Blue when you’re using too many adverbs
- Purple when words are too advanced
- Green when you use the passive voice
Slow Page Speed
A few tools that you can use to assess your site’s loading speed are:
Cluttered site design is overwhelming. There may be too much content or text, it may not seem organized in a logical way, or there may be too much visual noise. According to EyeQuant, clutter leads to increased cognitive load, which results in more visual confusion and frustration. Eliminating unnecessary content is an effective way to lessen the cognitive load, and also helps to increase focus on the important elements of the page and improve user experience.
If your site is too cluttered and confusing, we suggest researching how you want users to navigate the funnel of your site and to optimize your site to lead them through that path. You should plan around the conversions you hope to get out of each visit and strategize a clear linking strategy.
When designing your site, “less is more” is the golden rule. Use simple design and negative space in order to attract the reader to the most important elements on your page. You may also want to cut down on the number of pages on your site to make it easier for users to navigate.
Here’s a section of our site. The negative space draws the reader’s eyes to the copy, which is clean and easy to read. The red text at the bottom clearly highlights that we want the user to direct to our “About” page.
Missing Or Confusing CTA
A site visitor needs to know what you want them to do when they’re on your page. Your call-to-action (CTA) should give the user direction and align with your site’s goals. If a conversion for your site is to get a visitor to sign up for a newsletter, your CTA should clearly direct the user to “Sign Up” for the newsletter.
According to Crazy Egg, your CTA is the “moment of truth that differentiates a conversion from a bounce”. This means that your CTA is extremely important and should be optimized in order to convert as many users as possible.
Here are a few tips for creating your CTA:
- Use actionable words such as:
- Get to the point.
- Use a color (not black, grey or white) that stands out from your background but doesn’t clash. The color should grab your attention, so we suggest A/B testing to determine which color performs best. Also, the white font is easiest to read against colors and tends to perform best.
- Keep it simple. You want your CTA to stand out, but don’t go too overboard. The best performing CTA’s have the least amount of design frills.
This CTA from our site uses contrasting colors that stand out from the rest of the page. The copy is simple and direct- letting the user know that we want to get in touch.
Most people rely on a smartphone as their sole computer. There are 3 billion people with smartphones, and only 1.3 billion who own a desktop computer.
Mobile traffic continues to increase every year. In 2018, 58% of site visits occurred on mobile devices and the Mobile Bounce Rate was 50%. This means that more than half of searches are conducted on a mobile device, and if those users don’t like what they see, they’ll leave right away with the swipe of a finger. Mobile visitors only tend to stay on a page for half of the time as a desktop user, so it is imperative that you optimize your site for mobile users.
To render your site for a user on any device, you should optimize your site with responsive site design. Responsive design means that your site will fit a screen of any size, perform well, and present content clearly in any situation. Responsive site design will arrange content and images on the screen based on the size of the device screen. If a user has to “pinch and zoom” on your mobile site- then your site is not mobile-friendly.
You can see that on our mobile site, the pages are built vertically. Content is stacked on top of each other, which is ideal for a user scrolling through the page.
You should make sure to regularly perform mobile-testing to make sure that your site is responsive on all devices.
Mobile users are usually looking for answers fast, so if a site doesn’t give them the information they want right away, they’ll go somewhere else.
So, How Do I Improve My Website?
If your site is underperforming due to one or more of these issues - we suggest you tackle it right away. If you aren’t SEO-savvy, do what you do best and hire out the rest. Get in touch with a digital marketing agency and let the professionals help you out.