New year, new website. If you’re reading this blog, your website could probably use a complete overhaul. Or you’ve come to this page because you haven’t been getting clicks, or haven’t made any sales, and you just can’t put your finger on what’s wrong. However, as a website owner, it can be difficult to assess the problems of your own website. Here are four common mistakes that make your website lackluster.
1. Using a Stock Template
We’ve all seen website stock templates: bland color palette accompanied by clip art, and each blurb contains the same pre-written jargon. What if a business left the site like this? The absence of distinctive copy about your business may raise suspicions. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with using a stock template, it may raise concerns about credibility when left untailored.
Website design is an extension of your brand’s personality, and a unique design will help set you apart. A stock template may be a good option for beginners, and many DIY website building platforms, such as Wix, offer such templates. However it’s important to creatively customize your site in terms of visuals and distinct copy to set an engaging tone and stand out amongst the rest.
2. Not User Friendly
It’s imperative that your website’s interface is user-friendly, particularly for things such as booking or e-commerce. Otherwise, visitors will quickly get frustrated with navigating the site and click away, increasing bounce rate. The end result: you lose business.
Some easy ways to make your website more user friendly is to use taglines, incorporate skimmable content, and value simplicity in your design. Make sure the website has a logical flow, and that each button and link works – and leads to where it should.
3. Lacking Updates
Did you know that outdated blog URLs could hurt your website? Say you wrote an evergreen blog entry in 2016. Google might look at your URL structure and associate the content with the year, as its hierarchy categorizes content by date. This lowers your credibility and ranking in the search engine process. Furthermore, a lack of updates, especially for a prolonged period of time, may lead visitors to assume your website is defunct.
Updating your site consistently is a sign of proper maintenance and an acknowledgement of a modern online presence. Be sure there are no broken links or inaccurate/outdated information on your website, and replace any old content – say, anything more than six months old – with recent content. A contemporary appearance, with nods to current design trends and social media links, can help assist with the aesthetics of a freshly updated site.
4. No Incorporation of SEO
Think of Google, or whatever search engine you aim to focus on, as an ocean, and your website as a raft. In this metaphor, SEO are the oars that propel the raft forward, ahead of the other rafts. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a useful tool to increase visibility, rank higher among your competitors, and increase the CTR (click through rate) to land on your website. In this sense, without SEO, your website is dead in the water.
On-page SEO involves optimization on your webpage, including but not limited to header tags, meta tags, and image optimization. On the other hand, off-page SEO, such as backlinks from authoritative sites, social media marketing, and brand mentions, build social proof to provide reputability for your brand.
Acknowledging these problems and implementing the advice could make a huge difference, and help your website suck less. Ask yourself if these categories apply to your website, or perhaps recruit a co-worker or friend to act as a “mock visitor.” Did they find the site up-to-date? Were they able to navigate through successfully? Getting their honest feedback could help put your website’s shortcomings into perspective, so you can take the steps towards improvement.