Five Reasons People Hate Your Website.

When I audit many small business websites, I am reminded of my friend Sharon who taught contractors how to sell to women. A petite, outspoken Texan she would start her presentations to a room full of men by saying, 

“When you got out of bed this morning, I am sure it wasn’t your goal to piss off a woman, but I am pretty sure by the end of the day, you did.”

This always got a laugh, but it was also little uncomfortable, as everyone realized it was probably true. The same applies to many of the small business  websites I evaluate.  It wasn’t the intention of the designer to annoy visitors, but they accomplished that goal, none the less. What have they done to turn off site visitors? Here is a list of the five biggest mistakes.

Outdated Design

Like walking into a dirty restaurant, it is hard to convince visitors you have kept your skills fresh when your website looks like it hasn’t been updated in several years.  The internet moves fast and even two years is a long time 

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Confusing Navigation

Do you make it difficult for people to find information?  Often we see confusing site architecture, or clever page titles, which don’t mean anything to the average visitor.  I made that mistake on my first website.  The pages all rhymed:  Create, Generate, Collaborate.. etc.  People left, never knowing that we did graphic design, brainstorming strategy sessions and team building.

It is also time to stop trying to cram everything into the top level navigation.  Don’t overwhelm people with everything all at once.  Lead them on a journey through your website. 


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Copy that Misses the Mark

I know it is your website, but before I care about your years in business, mission statement, and return policy, I want to know – Can you solve my problem? So move the mission statement and credentials to an about page, and lead with content that lets visitors know they’ve come to the right place.  

And stop trying to impress with technical jargon and graduate level text.  It doesn’t make you sound smart, it makes you sound pretentious.  Remember even the NY Times is written at an 8th grade level. Why?  It is done to make it easy for people to digest the information quickly. and that is your goal too! 

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Speed is Everything

People and search engines have short attention spans, so make sure tey can find what they want, quickly!

Convert those high resolution images to small, quick loading images.  Leave the high resolution versions for print material. Consider lazy loading with sections appearing as the users scrolls down the page. 

Also work with your developer to eliminate (bloat) this is unnecessary code which slows your website down. 
Too much, too much, too much – Pages with too much text or too many graphics can be a bit overwhelming.  Search engines may love the content, but people will be turned off and leave.  Don’t be afraid to break the content up with a link to another page.  If people don’t follow the link you have not made a compelling case for the follow.

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Lack of Attention to Detail

Simple grammar and spelling errors can make you look foolish and negatively impact your credibility. Broken links drive users and search engines crazy. 

Whether you are linking to another page on your site, or elsewhere on the internet, make sure the links work. There is nothing more frustrating then a “page not found” error.

Is Your small business Website Ready for Company?

Are you welcoming visitors, turning them into prospects or sending them back to Google to find your competitors?  Don’t disappoint visitors with an out of date website. Learn how to make web visitors welcome!


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