Let’s face it, we both know why you’re here. You’re here because you’re worried. You’re worried about your website.
And you should be. Your website is your right-hand-man, your front-line fighter, your 24-hour salesman. If your website’s not getting the job done, it may be time for some turnover, or a website redesign.
If your website is not cutting the mustard but you’re not sure why, read on. We’ve compiled a list of 6 too-common web design practices that make your website, to be frank, stink.
1) Too Much Media
Honestly, is there anything more annoying than a website that automatically starts playing a video or other audio? I mean, who wants their website to come across like a MySpace page circa 2008?
Some call it “shouting,” a way of establishing yourself above the competition through guerrilla marketing tactics. But it’s a user experience downgrader for sure, and it shouldn’t be something you actively support on your next project.
Not only is it annoying, but you’re probably hurting your website’s load time, which in turn hurts every aspect of your business.
HubSpot has a great infographic about how your load time hurts your sales, SEO, conversion rates, and so many other things. In fact, the majority of users will click away if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and 1 second of page delay can cause an 11% loss of page views!
So drop those pesky bandwidth-draining elements and be kind to your users and your bottom line.
It’s a win-win really.
2) No Conversion Opportunities
A call-to-action (CTA) is a request from your site to persuade visitors to act, usually represented by a button or link. CTAs are a key driver of lead generation. You need them on your website if you want to attract more visitors, generate more leads, and convert more customers. If they are done right, your optimized call-to-action buttons can have a huge impact on click-throughs and conversion rates.
When you’re planning a page, you need to ask yourself what you want your visitor to do once they arrive. Without a CTA, your audience has no way to actively engage with your site, and they’ll likely click away.
3) Bad SEO
Is your site crawlable? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then it’s probably not.
The goal of SEO is simple: earn that coveted first or featured link at the top of the search page. How you get there is not so simple.
Websites and content can be structured (or, you know, optimized) so that they’re more easily crawled and indexed by search engines. A common way to do this is through including keywords and phrases recognized by Google, Bing, Yahoo, and the myriad other search engines out there.
However, SEO has changed heavily over the years, and tactics that were once easy to abuse - such as spamming a keyword or phrase repeatedly throughout a site - are much less likely to result in high search rankings, and may even get your site penalized.
To supplement SEO-optimized keywords, you need to pay attention to your off-page SEO, which can affect your search ranking just as easily. These are factors like being linked-to by reputable sites (like Hubspot!), linking to other pages within your own site, or having a website navigation that’s easy to follow.
4) Confusing Navigation
Not only does your site’s navigation affect your off-page SEO, it also affects your user experience (UX). Good UX on a website is the online equivalent of holding a child's hand while crossing the street. If your site is easy to navigate, it speaks volumes to the user about how much you care about their time, experience, and overall outcome.
The average user-experience comes with a timer. If a user can’t navigate through your website to reach the info they want in 3 clicks or less, they’re going to run. But, if your site easily gets visitors from point A to B to X, back to K, and then maybe back to F without a hiccup or frustration, your chances of generating a lead, a sale, an advocate or brand-believer is significantly increased.
That’s why, at Stratus, we always start a website project with a fleshed-out site architecture and site map. That way, we’re organized right from the start and have a clearly defined focus straight to the finish line.
So, remember to KISS your site to make it better (Keep It Simple, Stupid!).
5) Putting Design Over Strategy
Look, we’re not bashing a pretty design. Take a look at our portfolio, we know how to make a website sparkle and shine. But aesthetics shouldn’t be the first priority, they’re the icing on the cake.
Instead, take the time to build buyer personas and understand your audience. Knowing what will compel and engage your visitors is the approach that positions your site for long term success.
HubSpot has a great guide (and template) for what you need to consider as part of your web design strategy, like setting your overall goals for the website (Increase visitors? Increase time on site? Improve SEO?), taking inventory of your high-performing assets, and protecting your SEO optimized pages.
6) Your Site Is Not Alive
The most common problems associated with traditional website designs are: an inability to evolve as the business evolves, and the inability to be easily modified over time based on visitor behavior and performance.
Your website exists on the internet and the internet is a constantly growing and evolving organism. Your website design isn’t a one-time project, it’s life-long.
Consumers want the latest and greatest, they want to interact with a site that is living and breathing (and thriving). They want a site that is constantly updated and never ever out of date. No one wants to see outdated information or design trends from 2006 on your homepage.
Sadly, because most traditional website design projects are such a monetary and time investment upfront, there is often no room left over post-launch to update, enhance and optimize for user experience features and functionality.
A better design methodology is focused on making ongoing, incremental changes over time to keep your visitors engaged. We do this through a website design methodology called Growth-Driven Design.
Lucky for you, that’s our specialty!
If you’re guilty of one (or even a few) or these faux pas, then chances are your website stinks. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back!
Stratus Interactive was named to the 2017 Inc. 5000 list and we’re saying THANKS! by offering beautiful, user and Google-friendly websites for $7K through the end of 2017, because workin’ with the big dogs shouldn’t cost the big bucks!