As a copywriter who specializes in website content, I spend a lot of time picking apart websites that are about to undergo an overhaul so I can understand what is going to change and what additional content I need. As a result, I also spend a lot of time talking to web designers and developers about the user interface and user experience (UI/UX) to ensure the new website is going to meet its marketing and sales goals.
You see, without a fabulous UI/UX, your website will be useless. People won’t be able to find what they’re looking for quickly, or worse – they could be so distracted or annoyed that they leave your website with a bad impression of your brand.
Let’s avoid that outcome by avoiding these 12 terrible, horrible, no good, very bad website mistakes that can cost you customers:
1. Beautiful slider images that take up the home page and provide no guidance If you add a slider to your home page, overlay calls-to-action on those beautiful images to direct visitors towards your most popular products or services.
2. Hiding your top products and services Likewise, don’t hide your top selling products or services. Splash them front and center on your home page, as it’s likely that is what your website visitor is looking for.
3. Deep navigation Make the navigation on your website as flat as possible rather than rolling page after page under one section. Flat navigation will help your visitor find what they need faster.
4. No search function No matter how flat your website is, add a search function. This is especially important if you have an ecommerce site. The faster your website visitor finds what he wants, the more likely he is to buy it.
5. No contact information If you hide your contact information – or don’t even include it –what else are you hiding? Are you even a legitimate business? Why don’t you want customers to get in touch with you?
6. Auto-play audio or video Unless you want to annoy the crap out of your website visitors, don’t include auto-play audio or video ever. This is a common mistake made by salon and spa websites. I know you want to give a taste of the relaxation you offer, but if your client blasts this at work she may lose her job, and her ability to pay you!
7. FAQs that aren’t really FAQs Keep your FAQ page updated so that you really do answer the questions you get most often, or you could find yourself inundated with emails and phone calls.
8. Too many graphics, fonts, and colors A busy website leaves no place for your visitor’s eye to land. They won’t know where to begin looking to find what they need.
9. Slow loading time If your website takes a long time to load, visitors may abandon it altogether in frustration – and never come back.
10. Links that don’t work Double-check all of the links on your website to make sure they actually work, especially at the point of sale.
11. Non-responsive design How does your website look on your mobile phone or a tablet? If it looks awful, time to switch to a responsive design that will ensure a consistent experience across all devices.
12. Long forms No matter what you forms you have – newsletter sign up, coupon download, registration or reservation – only require that visitors provide the bare minimum of information.
Did I leave anything off this list? What makes you to abandon a website?
Monika Jansen is a copywriter and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, website content, and other marketing materials for her clients, who tend to be startups and professional service providers. She is a blogger for GrowSmartBiz and the managing editor of UberStories. You can follow her on Twitter (@monikacjansen) or find her on LinkedIn.
Any views, opinions, advice, or endorsements herein are the author(s)’s and are not necessarily the views of Groupon or its partners.