Every element on your website has the ability to build — or damage — how visitors perceive you. To gain insight on how to generate confidence, earn trust, and entice visitors to reach out and invest in your offerings, we asked website professionals:
What are common website mistakes that decrease confidence, trust and sales?
President/CEO, BIANCHI Enterprises
“Building confidence and trust is crucial in any online business. Here are a few things that I would say are common website mistakes that lose you customers and money:
“Filling your site full of ads. This is seen almost everywhere online these days. This shows a lack of interest in your own product or service and is just showing the end user that you want them to click away.
“‘Too good to be true!’ I come across several websites like this every day claiming they have the latest and greatest, but have no proof. If you are going to make any such claims, make sure you can show proof of what you are stating!
“Asking for too much information too soon. This is one of those annoying things that most people will click away from. By letting your customers browse and/or check out your site before making them sign up, you are more likely to gain their business.
“Website with no contact or privacy information. This is the worst one of them all, but is also seen everywhere. You’d have to ask yourself, “Would I buy something from someone if I had no means of contact, or knew nothing about who they were?”
“These are just a few, but by following a few simple methods, you’ll see your numbers rise.”
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President, Idea Web Design
“A quick way to deter visitors is to throw too much at them. One of the most important rules learned in design and marketing comes from the acronym KISS. Yet, it is commonly overlooked. Keep It Simple Stupid. Yes, it is a blunt reminder, but also a highly effective rule to follow.
“A website needs to deliver a clear and concise message with very little time to do so. This is done through creative design and professional writing. A well-executed design will capture the viewer’s attention and draw them in. From there, a clear message needs to be presented in order to address questions and influence the viewer to take that next step.”
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Principal, Tommy Humphreys
“Avoid Flash intros. If you take payments on your website, have icons like security locks and gold star guarantees as they influence buying behavior. Include testimonials and press mentions if you have them. Emphasize the benefits of your product or service, but avoid self-aggrandizing copy; your content should be about your customers and not you.
“It’s also paramount to be honest. People see right through companies that claim to be ‘world leaders’ and have 16 employees when they really don’t. I also believe in practicing the art of giving before receiving. As I wrote last year, help your customers make an educated buying decision and they will reward you for it. At the end of the day, your website should be like your best sales person…attractive (enough), honest, resourceful, evolving and never afraid to ask for the sale!”
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Operations Manager, MintTwist
“One of the biggest mistakes we see is poor content. People usually leave this as the last thing to do and don’t spend enough tailoring it for the Web.
“We often see too much copy that waffles instead of giving users the key information they need up front. If they can’t pick out what is important to them, they will navigate away. Too much marketing speak is also off-putting and hard to process if they are scanning.”
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Owner, m/l design
“One common mistake in website design is to disregard the user’s experience and only take in consideration the stakeholder’s expectations. Users are the ultimate people who will be visiting and experiencing your information, so it’s critical to engage the target audience from the planning stages to deeply understand their needs, their preferences and how they will experience the information you are sharing.
“Ultimately, by doing this research, you’ll be able to empathize with your audience and literally walk in their shoes. This will make the process more valuable as the information can reveal features and conventions you can use in your design that will make your users not only visit, but keep coming back to your site more often.”
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Founder and President, Motive8 Media
“I think the biggest thing for any business’ website is to make sure it functions properly and is user friendly. A well thought out website should have its content organized so that it is easily accessible (with an intuitive navigation structure), and not buried deep within the website. As an Internet user, it shouldn’t take me more than three clicks to find the information that I’m looking for.
“As a consumer, I also appreciate businesses that showcase the people within their organization on their websites. I’m more likely to give my business to a company that doesn’t hide behind a veil of anonymity. Transparency and knowing who I’m dealing with goes a long way in building trust.”
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Senior Web Design / Developer, Inventive Management
“Common website mistakes that can kill business include:
“Background music. People want to feel like they are in control of their browsing experience, so the last thing they want is to be assaulted with music that is most likely not to their taste (it would be an odd coincidence if it was exactly what they wanted to hear at that moment), and which will draw attention to them in a work environment.
“Bad or unusual spelling or grammar. Just one ‘it’s’ or ‘you’re’ in the wrong place immediately sets off alarm bells. To give visitors confidence, get your copy checked, double-checked and triple-checked if you want to convey your professionalism.
“A lack of information. People like to read. Even when they don’t, they want to know the information is there, and that you’ve taken time over your website. If you don’t take your site seriously as a major channel of information and sales, then you can’t expect anyone else to.
“Bad or inconsistent design. Again this is about taking your site seriously so that others will too. With all the amazing sites out there, people come to expect a certain level of quality, and anything less is a turn-off.
“Broken links and errors. When visitors to your site can’t rely on your site working, they’re not likely to hang around for long, let alone buy anything.
“Contact details that are difficult to find. Very often, all people want to do when they visit your site is to get some contact details and, if they are considering making a purchase on the site, they want to know beforehand that they’ll be able to call you if anything goes wrong.”
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Vice-President, Client Services, Thrillworks Inc.
“All companies have catch phases, acronyms and terminology that becomes a form of communication short-hand within the company. Unfortunately this ‘inside the box’ language often creeps into the navigation and content areas of websites. This common mistake is potentially damaging to the success of the site because the outside world simply doesn’t understand or connect with your jargon.
“If a user encounters language that does not connect to their information seeking behavior or the way that they refer externally to your product/widget/service they are unlikely to look further. A good web agency will uncover these ‘inside voices’ and suggest alternatives that fit more closely to the way the business is viewed, and spoken about, from an outside-looking-in perspective.
“Many companies have large marketing teams representing the various services or product lines that a company carries. Often each of these teams has their unique marketing goals and targets that are not shared by all teams within the same organization. One common mistake is to allow these internal ‘silos’ to become apparent in the content or structure of the company website.
“It is important to understand that the consumer of your product/service interacts with the company as a whole and that the internal composition of the business units should be transparent. In addition to giving the impression of a lack of cohesion with the company, by approaching the website based on internal silos, companies can miss the opportunity to cross-promote their products/services across compatible lines of business.
“By engaging a web professional to make these connections between the lines of business will better serve both the needs of each business unit, but also better align with the customer’s mental model of how he/she interacts with your company.
“Companies can make the serious mistake of underestimating the immediate, visceral reaction that a user has to how a website ‘looks’. If it doesn’t look professional, your potential customer is hitting the back button and trying a different site. Even a site with the most informative, most relevant content can be overlooked due solely to poor visual presentation. In addition, many users incorrectly equate something that doesn’t ‘look good’ as being something that doesn’t ‘work well’. Even a website containing text-heavy or technical content should still follow the tenets of organized presentation, logical architecture, and follow the basic principles of good design.”
Follow Karen and team @thrillworks
Are there other common website mistakes that should be noted? Let us know below.