The Top 5 Website Mistakes You're Making
Your website can make or break a customer’s first impression of your business. Not only the way your website looks, but the way it functions, how quickly it loads, and the ease of your website navigation. And while many people will tell you everything you need to do with your website, there isn’t a lot of advice about what NOT to do with your website to set your business up for success.
To further complicate matters, the general population is under the impression that website design is easy thanks to platforms like Squarespace, Wix and even Wordpress, due to their ease-of-use and accessibility. Contrary to common belief, building a website involves a lot more than plugging pretty photographs and written content into a website builder. Though it may seem easier than ever to DIY your website, designing your own website leaves a lot of room for error when you don’t have the proper knowledge and skills to design an effective site.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the top website mistakes you can make no matter if you choose to do-it-yourself or hire a professional.
1 | Not optimizing your website images
This is one of the top mistakes we see clients make at MJC. Why should you optimize your website images? Uploading images with huge file sizes greatly impacts your website load time. And your website load time greatly impacts both your user experience and your SEO. Imagine if you upload 8-10 images to one page that are 3MB each. That’s 30MB that your site has to load in addition to your theme files, plugins, and any additional code associated with your site. At average website speeds, this can take up to 30 seconds for your page to load. Do you think your visitor is going to stick around that long?
Your website images should ideally be in the 300-500KB range or less. There are a number of methods you can use to optimize your images. If you do not have Photoshop, we recommend using a service like tinyjpg.com or https://compressor.io/compress to compress your images.
2 | Overlooking or overdoing your calls-to-action
Users need to know what you want them to do when they come to your site. Whether that is to purchase a product, subscribe to a mailing list, or contact you for a consult, you need to clearly communicate what their next step is. And the way to do this is through a call-to-action, or those buttons that say “Get Started” “Contact Us” or “Buy Now.” Your calls-to-action should be simple and straightforward without confusing your user.
Use one to two calls-to-action per page, ideally one towards the top of your page and one towards the bottom leading your users to the next step or page you want them to take. Use bright colors and clear language, being sure that your call-to-action is easily clickable on all screen sizes.
3 | Your website is not secure
At this stage, all websites need to be secure (ie https or SSL). Whether you’re simply collecting personal data on a contact form or taking payments online, that little green padlock is vital to showing your visitors that you take their personal data seriously. Having a secure site ensures that data sent and received through your site is encrypted, therefore it is harder for “hackers” to gain access to personal data.
The remedy depends on your website platform. For Squarespace users, you’ll find your website security under the Settings > Advanced tab. Then you will want to ensure SSL is switched to the Active position.
For Shopify users, Shopify takes care of your SSL for you when you connect your domain since you’ll be accepting online payments. Doesn’t get easier than that!
For Wordpress and other 3rd party hosting platforms, it depends on your hosting. You’ll need to purchase a SSL certificate and install it. Some hosting providers offer this service for you and some require you to do it yourself.
4 | Not having a responsive website or ignoring the responsive version
Many people are so focused on having a beautiful desktop version of their website that the mobile-version becomes an afterthought. Except that depending on your target market, as much as 70% of your website traffic could be visiting your site from a mobile device (phone or tablet). Therefore it’s vital to pay close attention to the responsive version of your website. In addition, Google search engine algorithms penalize non-responsive websites in mobile searches.
The best strategy for this is to design for mobile first. Pay close attention to font sizes, spacing and size of elements, scrolling and navigation. Ignoring the design of these elements can quickly frustrate a mobile-user and send them over to the next website in their search results.
5 | Not updating your website
This mistake is two-fold; first, not keeping your platform core, themes and plugins up to date can open your site to cybersecurity risks. Second, not regularly updating your website content in the form of blog posts is doing a detriment to your website’s SEO and visitor engagement.
If your website is on a platform like Wordpress, make sure that your site is set to auto-update when new core versions are released. Some hosting companies will even update plugins and themes automatically. If you can’t remember to keep your site updated, set a regular reminder on your calendar or hire a professional to handle website management. It’s worth the additional expense to ensure your website isn’t hacked.
Lastly, regularly update your website content through an onsite blog, even it’s just once a month. You can outsource your content writing or do it yourself by setting a content calendar and sticking to it. Remember: quality over quantity!
Your website is one of the most important tools in your business arsenal. It’s where you can gain new clients and customers and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Make sure your visitors are taking action and turning into valuable customers by avoiding these website mistakes and setting yourself up for success. And when in doubt, hire a professional.