A poorly designed and/or executed website will cost you visitors. Whether you used a friend that dabbles in web design or even a “professional” web designer you met on Fiverr, you may find your site underperforming. We’ve seen websites that people have paid over $5000 for that not only looked like garbage but also performed like garbage. So take a few minutes to read the below guide and check it against your website. You might be surprised at what you find.
1. Your website is not secure (no SSL/HTTPS).
This is an unforgivable mistake that is usually straightforward to fix. In fact, most hosting plans come with an SSL certificate so it’s a no-brainer to set it up. Even if it’s an extra cost, it’s well worth it as if you’re not using SSL, you’re losing traffic and conversions. Here’s why:
- Some organizations (especially schools, and some small businesses) will block sites that are not secure.
- Some browser extensions and antivirus tools block websites that are not secure.
- Google penalizes sites that are not secure from their main search results.
You can tell if your site is secure by looking in the address bar of your browser. If you see a padlock there, your site is secure. If not, it means that you either don’t have SSL set up or it’s set up incorrectly. We share how to use a tool like WhyNoPadlock to determine the cause of the issue in another post. But feel free to reach out to us if you’d like us to take a look.
2. No Calls to action.
A call to action is an element on your website that instructs visitors to do something. This is a critical piece of your online sales funnel. Example actions include:
- Purchase a product/service (or click on your affiliate link).
- Fill out a form.
- Schedule an appointment.
- Sign up for a newsletter.
- Download a file.
- Make a donation.
- Contact you via email or phone.
We see a lot of websites that have great information, but there’s no action to take on the site. Having your contact information only in your site’s header and/or footer with no call out to reach out to you is a huge mistake. Instead, create a call to action on your site that encourages your visitors to take an action.
3. Calls to action are social media follows.
You should be driving traffic from social media to your website and not the other way around. Imagine your website as a building in your city’s downtown. Social media is like a billboard on the highway that directs people to your place of business. It would be silly to have someone walk into your business only for you to tell them to go look at your billboard.
Social media sites come and go, change their rules, and often display your competitors’ info next to yours. You control your website and what’s on it.
4. Social Media links open in the same tab.
It’s okay to encourage people to follow your business on social media. To use our analogy from the prior item, it’s like telling folks to pay attention to your billboard when they pass it on their daily commute. Of course, they could be distracted by other drivers, solar glare, or other things happening on their commute so there’s no guarantee that they’ll see it.
So share your social media links on your website, but make sure they open in a new tab. If they open in the same one, it’s likely that visitors will get caught up in baby pictures, political discourse, news, or something else that prevents them from clicking the back button on their browser to go back to your site. It’s pretty easy to make a link open in a new tab. Some WordPress themes make this difficult so you may need some scripting to get it to work.
5. Your website is difficult to navigate.
Have you ever gone to a store and been so frustrated at being unable to find what you’re looking for that you’ve left? It’s the same thing with a website. Make sure that it’s easy for visitors to find the things they are looking for on your site. If you sell products and/or services, there should be a link in your main menu. If you blog, that should be in your main menu as well.
Make sure that you take advantage of your top menu and space in your footer for links to key pages of your site. Also, enable search on your site so your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for. If you need help with this or would like us to perform heat map analysis on your site, please schedule a complimentary consultation with us.
6. Your website has no emotional connect.
“We’re quilt makers and we make the best quilts in the county.” It doesn’t have the same effect as “we all know how harsh our winters can be, ensure your loved ones keep warm and protected this winter with our washable, hypoallergenic quilts.” Instead of just features, address the problem you’re trying to solve and how your client will feel when they use your product/service.
7. Your website takes too much time to load.
Google published a study a few years ago that 53% of website visitors will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Add in that people’s tolerance for waiting is trending down and the amount of web searches via mobile devices is trending up and it doesn’t bode well for sites that take 10 seconds to load. We can run a speed test on your site and get to the bottom of what’s causing the slowness.
8. Images are not sized/compressed correctly.
This is another easy thing to do but is skipped by sloppy web designers. Images that are not compressed and/or sized correctly are the primary reason many websites load slowly. We’ve seen sites that take over a minute to load when, with properly sized images, should only take two seconds to load. Anyone with a decent paint program should be able to resize and compress images. We can provide more detailed analysis and automation to make this problem go away permanently.
9. The website does not have security tools in place.
From using a weak password to not having a firewall installed, we’ve seen sites that are ripe for attacks. If you’re using admin as your username, change it. If your password is less than eight characters long, includes only letters, is made up of one or more words, or doesn’t contact numbers & special characters, you need to change it.
If you don’t know what your website has for security, ask your hosting company or web designer. If either doesn’t know the answer, then reach out to us to do a security check on your site.
10. Your website is not updated.
Your site should have a modern look to it. Just like leg warmers and parachute pants looked good in the 80s, doesn’t mean they look good today. The same is true for your website which was designed over five years ago. Unfortunately, old web designs don’t come back in style like old fashions.
You also should be updating your site regularly with new content to give visitors a reason to return. The easiest way to do this is with a blog (which you can also call “articles). Stale sites lose traffic.
Also, ensure that the technology behind your site is updated. If you’re on WordPress (which we highly recommend), ensure that your version, theme, and plug-ins are all updated. Not updating these things regularly can lead to potential security issues.
So there you have it. Take five to ten minutes to take a look at your site to see if any of these issues exist. The security-related ones should be addressed immediately while the content-related ones may take more time. If you have any of these issues on your site, please contact us for a complimentary consultation and we’ll create a plan to help you resolve the issue.