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Nine website mistakes that turn off potential customers

By on Jan 5, 2014 in Copywriting and marketing, Website tech | 0 comments

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Always a good idea to start off the new year with a rant!

I’ve asked around so these aren’t just things that bug the heck out of me but they will all make me hulk out!
photo of custom car paint job

A landing page that feels like a cheap car sales ad

Whether you’re advertising your latest product, ebook or just trying to get more email sign-ups, you need to make sure your offer is worthwhile for your potential customers and easy to get rid of (nothing more annoying than not being able to find that little ‘x’ to close the window). Unbounce has a great critique page to give you some ideas for what you should include on your landing page and what to avoid at all costs!

A Home page that doesn’t tell me What.You.Do.

Just like an essay or college paper, state what your site is all about! Don’t jam a ton of keywords in there, just tell me what you can do for me and what you do – simples.

Overstating

Just as bad as being mysterious and not really saying what your business is about, this one is infuriating.Visitors will not stick around if the first page they see on your website is all about how truly fantastic you are; how your service is the best of the best of the best.  What they’re thinking is always ‘what’s in it for me‘ so show the benefits of using your products or services, not why you’re ‘all that and a bag of change’.

Badly written

I don’t mind a bit of stream of consciousness but keep it to your blog and use sparingly. The rest of your website should read well and make sense. Check it twice and get someone else to read it as well. If you know you’re not that great at writing, get a professional to do it!

Flash! Definitely not the saviour of the universe

photo of flash gordonWaiting on a Flash page to load is like waiting for Godot. Repeat after me – “there is nothing wrong with a static Home page”. Aside from putting off time-strapped customers, Flash also doesn’t do you any favours in your bid to be Google’s #1 as it doesn’t get picked up by search engine spiders.

Not being able to find what you’re looking for

As important as content is, your site’s architecture is equally important. Web page tabs are still a winner for finding what you want on a website but keep the tab names simple and easy to understand. Having a Search feature that returns useful results also helps!

Asking for all kinds of personal information

I’m not here to build your customer database with my personal phone number, my location, my shoe size, my marital status!  On any sign-up forms, ask for a full name and email address (and name of business if you really must) – that’s it. You find out more about your customers by engaging with them and building relationships, not interrogating them.

Pop-up adverts

A lot of people don’t know about Ad Blockers.  Avoid pop-up advertising, it’s annoying and downgrades the reputation of your site and therefore business.

Out of date or ‘in construction’ pages that have been there since the dawn of time

Got a holding page? Make it an interesting one and get rid of that tacky ‘man at work’ picture. Include all your contact details and some information about your business. Again, don’t overstate or be mysterious – just say no to ‘Coming soon! The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread!’
Haven’t got the time to update your website? Hire some professionals for a one-off update or regular maintenance and content creation (and be prepared to pay for it. Hiring for pennies will never equal good work). Keep your business blog up to date (especially as Google loves finding new blog posts) and review your entire website regularly.

So, have I missed out any bugbears? Comment below or tweet me with what makes you instantly tap away from a website.

Hulk photo by Mike Baird with Creative Commons
Flash Gordon photo courtesy of X-ray Delta One with Creative Commons

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