6 Big Website Mistakes Brands Still Make

February 18, 2014By
Blogging Stats

Time to fix these website issues.

I don’t want this post to come off like a rant so I’m not calling out any specific brands.

You know how sometimes you might have a speck of food in the corner of your mouth that you don’t know about and you feel awkward, but thankful when someone mentions it?

That’s the angle of this post. I just want to point out a few specks of food that I see on some websites out there. These mistakes aren’t life and death, but they do annoy and frustrate visitors. Making a few changes to your site can make things more enjoyable for visitors leaving them wanting to buy more from you.

So here are some of the big mistakes out there.

1. Auto-Play Music, Audio

This is still happening and it drives me nuts.

When I used to work in an office setting it was more of a bother, but it still bothers me working in my home office. When I open a page and I start hearing music or audio I immediately look for the source and try to shut it off. If I can’t find it within a few seconds I hit the mute button or just close the tab.

I probably overreact a bit to it, but I’m sure a few others out there feel the same way.

At least with a pop-up ad I know where to close the window. With audio it’s like a noisy pop-up ad with no off switch.

Even if you’re a musician with beautiful music you want to steer away from auto-play. Make sure your jukebox or music play option is easy to find, but gives visitors the option to make it play.

Action Step: Remove auto-play. Make music or audio easy to find an allow visitors to start it on their own.

2. Auto-Play Video

This one is similar, but there is still one additional point to make.

Auto-play video with audio goes in the first category, but even if your video auto-plays without sound I get frustrated for another reason. If I miss a few seconds I feel like I’m missing out and I’ll have to start the video over again.

It’s almost always a better experience if you let the visitor find the video and play it on their own time.

Action Step: Remove auto-play. Make the video easy to see and let visitors start it.

3. Slow Loading, Won’t Load

Speed has really become important on the web. Even in the old days when people had dial-up connections it was frustrating if a page wouldn’t load. We had different expectations back then, but slow loading pages was still a frustration.

Today, we expect things to load fast. If it takes more than a few seconds we’ll close it and move on. There is plenty of content out there to see and if your site is taking too long to load people will go somewhere else.

Action Step: Have a designer and developer look through the site for slow design and code elements. Get a better host.

4. No Clear Direction Or Context

When I get on a page I want to know within a reasonable time (a few seconds) what the site is about.

The title of the page is so important. You want it to be simple yet descriptive especially on your homepage, which is often one of the first pages a new visitor visits.

I’ve tried to keep updating the content on the GBW homepage over the years. I want to keep it simple. I want to give the visitor an instant idea of what GBW is and what we can offer them.

Action Step: Visit your homepage. Ask yourself if you know what you do within a few seconds. It not, change your content to something simple and descriptive. Say what you do in a short phrase.

Example: Ghost Blog Writers – Blogging Services

5. Too Much Clutter

Some sites, especially ecommerce sites, are really cluttered. Some blogs and news sites are the same way. There is just too much going on. It’s not a good first impression to make. I think ecoms and news sites can get away with it a little more than B2Bs. If you’re a small business you can’t get away with clutter.

Action Step: Keep your website goals tightly focused. Think about one key action that you want visitors to take on every page. Think of the journey visitors will take on your pages and on your site. Remove any clutter that detracts from that goal or at least minimize it.

6. Too Small On Smartphones

In one new study, over half of people were frustrated by the small screen sizes of websites on their smartphones.

Last year, we upgraded the GBW site to be responsive. You can visit this site on your phone or tablet and you’ll get a good experience. If your website is too small on smartphones you’re going to start losing visitors. They’re going to go to other sites that are easier to read.

This trend will only continue. People will continue to browse the web on their phones more and more.

Action Step: Upgrade your site to be responsive.

Conclusion

These probably come across as personal pet peeves and they are, but I also think they’re mistakes. No website is perfect and it’s good to have a different website. The focus for any website is to attract target users and get them to complete desired goals (purchasing, contacting, etc.).

The things included here are generally things that make visitors frustrated across the board. Take care of them if you are at fault and you should see positive improvement from your visitors.