10 Small Business Website Errors That Always Drive Customers Away
You have a shiny new website design, or a longstanding look you’re sure customers your love, so a profit boost is a guarantee, right?
Well, there are niggling little problems that can persist with even the most professional looking website. Here are 10 examples, how you can correct them, and keep more customers on-site.
It’s quite astonishing to arrive at a site and, despite reading over the content, really have little idea what the business does. Yet this is still worryingly common.
In your tagline, a snippet of copy usually less than 10 words, you should make what you do as clear as a bright sunny day. If you don’t, you could incur a major bounce rate problem, or a customer becoming frustrated before they’ve even been in touch with you.
Make sure this is right above the fold. Preferably the first thing visible when someone arrives on the site. So adorn the tagline/business explanation under your logo or brand name. Limiting confusion is a chance to limit wasted opportunities.
- Bad SEO
It’s also astonishing how many websites still aren’t setup correctly for basic SEO. At the very least, your homepage should have a properly filled out title tag and meta description.
In Google’s SERPs, this appears as what Google decides to add as your business description. That can lead to a garbled mass of data if you’ve not supplied any details.
Want to know how to update that with copy that’s meaningful? You can usually easily manage it from within your CMS. As a rule of thumb, your title tag should be no more than 60 characters, and your meta description circa 170 characters.
You can also find a free basic guide to SEO from Moz to help you take the next steps.
- Stock photography
In 2018, we should have moved beyond stock photography. Consumers are savvy these days, so the sight of what are clearly models grinning away in clearly stages images is a bit past it.
There are even free tools like Canva that allow you to create bespoke images and header designs for free. So stock images now only reek of laziness or being out of touch with the modern world.
- Dodgy pop-up ads
There’s the standard on-page arrival pop-up that’s universally reviled. But a new trend has crept in—the abandoning-page pop up ad. The latter is where the site detects someone is about to leave. The result is an enormous pop-up ad blocking their progress with a last ditch lead generation attempt.
Some businesses think these options are essential. But think carefully about them before choosing either. They can be highly frustrating and not conducive for strong customer relationship development in the long-term.
- Avoiding lead generation forms
One alternative solution to the above is a well-placed lead generation form. You don’t obstruct your visitors with this option, which is one user experience bonus.
You can also gain some essential customer information from even the most simplistic lead generation form. It could be for a subscription to your newsletter, for example. A simple form that has an email address entry section followed by a bright, eye-catching submit icon.
Once more people are on your newsletter list, you have more conversion opportunities.
- Slow page speeds
Unformatted images, lots of flashy new features, and various other gimmicks can lead to users arriving at your site with a severe lack of haste.
Impatience is high in the online world. Don’t expect potential customers to hang around if they have to wait 30 seconds for your website to catch up with them.
You can use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to find out how you’re doing for desktop and mobile. It’ll provide you with some optimisation suggestions as well, which can be handy.
A leading culprit is an image uploaded to your CMS without being optimised for size. If you’ve got several 10MB images sitting around on your homepage, for example, this isn’t good news. There are free converters you can use online, luckily, such as PicResize.
- Going design crazy
Simplicity works wonders in web design. As tempting as it is to hurl every available new technological wonder at your site, this can be overwhelming for all concerned.
Your web design should keep this in mind. An uncluttered, focussed look can draw customers to your core features, rather than leaving them befuddled.
- Leaving in dead ends
Make sure, at all times, there’s a home button somewhere for visitors to click on—it’s all part of a solid user journey.
If they work themselves through your sales funnel, but want to travel back at some stage, yet find they’re stranded online, that’s exceptionally frustrating. And they could well take their business elsewhere.
It may seem pedantic, but if you’re reading through copy and it’s crammed full of fundamental errors in diction and grammar, it doesn’t reflect well on your business.
You don’t need to hire a copywriter or freelance writer to accomplish these tasks for you. There are free tools such as Hemingwayapp that you can paste copy into.
It points out common errors, such as your and you’re, overlong sentences, irrelevant words, and if you’re writing in passive voice. From there, you can update your content—all done in a matter of minutes.
- No responsive design
This is a big one, as Google now actively prefers websites that are mobile-friendly. With more and more customers using devices to do their shopping, if they’re using your website and it’s not adapting to their screen then you’ll likely have another bounce rate issue.
You can use this Mobile-Friendly Test from Google to see if you’re responsive. If not, you’ll have to take steps to rectify this. It may seem like a lot of effort for nothing, but the future of online business is mobile.
Alistair Brown is the chief technical officer at BrightHR and helps to create HR management software for small businesses. The business consultant is based in Manchester city centre and caters primarily for SMEs.