There’s no denying it, every business needs a website. Whether it represents the core of the operation or acts as a glorified business card, a great one can pay untold dividends and a poor one ends conversations with potential new customers before they start.
For those who excitedly launch their new business site only to be met with relative silence, it might be worth checking these common mistakes which could just be a part of the reason the business isn’t being inundated with appreciative emails and product orders.
1. One click, two clicks, three clicks…gone
Blame it on the online environment having created an increasingly shortened attention span but if people can’t find what they are looking for within seconds and it is not clearly signposted, they’ll be scrambling for the search bar in no time. Most websites overestimate the number of clicks their customers are willing to make before they abandon you altogether. Tailor your website to your core customers, make the key information easy to navigate to and also help to guide them to where you want them to go. Take control and decide what action you want them to take, whether it’s making a call, finding your address or placing an order and make sure they can get there quickly and efficiently.
2. Not getting mobile
According to GSMA Intelligence, there are officially more mobile devices in the world than there are people, and they’re multiplying five times faster than we are. Ignoring mobile optimisation for your website, or having it at the bottom of your ‘To-do’ list is one way to lose the attention of users. The mobile phone is the fastest-growing manmade phenomenon ever, and so making sure your website is mobile ready should be key for any business. Design your website with mobile in mind. When viewed on a mobile a well-optimised site should look similar to an app and be navigable by swiping, not clicking. There should be a constant action point visible so your customers don’t have to use their detective skills to establish where to go. If you use the mobile ‘one click’ mentality first, you can apply the same theory to you website.
3. Keep descriptions simple
When meeting your customers face to face, there’s time for the lengthy description about how your products are produced or where your original idea came from, but on the web, there’s not. Not only do your customers have that increasingly short attention span, but they also have an incredibly short time frame to be reading about the finer details and would commonly rather know the key facts NOW. Try to distil your value proposition into one sentence keeping it clear and concise, avoiding over-complex, jargon-laden descriptions. Also, prioritise what you are including. Many small businesses write lengthy essays but forget the simple stuff – 60 per cent forget to include a contact number!
4. Minimal content
Although similar to point 3, this is not about what you’re writing, but how much you’re writing. Don’t go overboard on text. Wherever possible try to include images, videos or diagrams to get the message across. We are all visual beings, so including something other than a slab of text will prove to be eye candy for your customers. Minimal, concise content will make your website appear slick, sophisticated and support your overall company image, which will engage with your customers far better than bombarding them with a text-heavy webpage. Understanding the purpose of your homepage is also essential – it is not a place to be sharing business news or gossip, but rather a platform to, firstly, articulate clearly who you are and what you do, ensuring a visitor feels they’ve come to the right place and, secondly, to ensure they can navigate easily to any additional information they might want.
Alison Curry-Taylor is operations director at Daily Internet.