Your business website is a valuable marketing tool and a critical part of your business. Unfortunately, Canadian businesses are lacking on this front. Based on recent data from Statistics Canada, 46.6% of all Canadian businesses did not have a website in 2017 and only some businesses that had a website had advanced e-commerce features such as the capability to receive payment online (8.5%), or collect customer information (31.6%). This is worrisome, because businesses that do not have an online presence risk losing customers to competitors. Internet technologies such as search engines, e-commerce platforms, and online marketing has made it easier and faster to generate leads and sell outside your local market. But if you have tried various Digital Marketing techniques like SEO, social media, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), content marketing, etc to bring visitors to your website and are not giving any results, then it’s time to analyse your website to understand what’s wrong, so that it can be fixed. Avoid these 14 common pitfalls to build the best website and attract lots of customers:
best website design
1. Don’t make people search / figure out / think
Visitors come to your website looking for specific information and if they are not able to find it easily, they will simply move to the next one. Do a 5-second test; if visitor is not able to find relevant information or figure out what to do within 5 seconds, website needs to be fixed. The pages should be setup in a hierarchy with most important pages on the horizontal menu bar on the top of home page, with drop-down menu for sub-categories or sub-topics. That way, visitor can quickly glance at the menu and click on what he/she is looking for. Also, I would highly recommend adding a search box on top of every page, which makes it very easy to search for relevant information.
2. Don’t expect visitors
There is a common misconception that “if you build it, they will come”. Just putting up your website will not automatically attract visitors. You have to develop a digital marketing strategy around your website to bring visitors. Depending on the type of product / service you sell and the target market you are after, it can be a combination of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) / Pay-per click ads (PPC), Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, or Email Marketing. If you are not sure which one to invest in, build your customer persona and see where does your ‘ideal customer’ hang around and can grab some of his attention.
3. Don’t spend all your money at once
Don’t spend your entire marketing budget on getting a website. You can get a decent website with 10-15 pages for under $1,500. As your business grows, you would like to update and enhance your website further. Also, you want to focus on other marketing avenues like search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM) to bring visitors to your website.
4. Don’t have an outdated blog
If you have a blog, make sure you are posting a new blog regularly. Or else it will backfire as visitors will think either your company is out of business or really small with owner doing everything.
5. Don’t have social media buttons, with few followers
If you are placing Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media buttons on your website, make sure you have a sizable no. of followers. If visitors see few followers, they will lose trust and think you have just started and don’t have any credibility. So build your social presence through social media marketing and then add it to your website.
6. Don’t target every visitor
If you try to target and please every visitor that comes your way, your website will be a mess with no clear content, theme, and call to action. Focus on your specific target market with whom you have a better chance of converting into a customer.
7. Don’t add vague or fake testimonials
Testimonials play an important role in building trust and credibility, but they need to be genuine and specific. “Great work. Highly recommended..” is extremely vague and doesn’t seem very believable.
8. Don’t use inconsistent color combination
Please don’t use a different color on every webpage, or use too many colors on a single page. The color, design, and layout should be the same throughout the website, to make it look appealing and professional. The best way to choose color palette is to stick with the logo color throughout the website.
9. Don’t use too many images or videos
Images are important and should be used on every web page of your website, to grab the visitor’s attention quickly. Only word of caution is not to over-use it, as it will delay your website’s loading time. Most of the visitors will quickly move away if your website is taking a bit too long to load.
10. Don’t overcrowd the web pages
If you fill up your web pages with text, graphics, images, and videos, visitors will feel overwhelmed. I would strongly advise using the white space, allowing visitors to digest the information that you have presented. If there is alot of stuff to talk about, break it up into categories or sections and spread it out on a single page, or among multiple pages, with clear navigation.
Make sure your typography is well spaced and easy to read (preferred font size is 14) so that customers can easily read and digest your website content.
11. Don’t forget to use headlines
Many studies have proven that headlines are consistently the most viewed items on a web page, even over images. So use them wisely.
Bold, concise headlines attract eyeballs because users want to see if it has the relevant information that they are looking for.
12. Don’t forget to make your website mobile-friendly
I can’t stress on this point enough, as more than 60% of web traffic originates from mobile devices. So you need to make sure that your website is accessible and presentable on smartphone, tablet, and laptop, of various screen sizes. The easiest way to test it is to open the website on mobiletest.me and check the results.
13. Don’t design the website from your perspective
This is a no-brainer, but people are so focused on their products and services that they forget about the most important aspect of their business; customers. So always try to think from the customer’s point of view on why would they come to your website, what information are they looking for and how will they find it, why should they sign-up for the newsletter, etc etc.
14. Don’t expect an awesome website overnight
Good websites are not built overnight. They require several revisions to create that perfect look and feel with the right content to grab visitors’ attention and make them take one of the actions specified in your call-to-actions.
Have you noticed other pitfalls that should be avoided to create an awesome website? What else can be done to make visitors stay longer and keep returning to your website? Please share your thoughts in comments below.