Your website annoys people, and that’s no way to drum up business!
You understand the importance of being on the Internet so that when people search for you and your business, they can find you. But what are they finding? Will they stay? Or is your website annoying and pushing prospective customers toward your competition?
We live in a global-local world. The other night when we were wondering if there was any live music happening at the community club a mile away, I searched online! I was pleased to see that they had a brand new website!
“Oh cool,” I thought. “They needed an upgrade.” A half of a second later, however, my delight soured. And another minute later, the ONLY reason I stayed on the site, is because I know the place, I like the place, I really wanted to find out what was going on and I am very stubborn!
If I had been a new visitor to the site, I’d have skipped out at first glance. If you don’t want to send your website visitors running, please consider these issues when putting together or upgrading your own sites. Paying careful attention to these issues will help you avoid failure.
Remember when you would go over to Uncle Fitz’s house, and he would have 10 slide shows set up? You knew right away it would be a long night. He would drone on, “This is when we went to North Dakota. This is the grain elevator. This is the grain that goes into the grain elevator. This is the guy that drives the train to the grain elevator …” Enough already, Uncle Fitz!
Well, when visitors stop at your website and the first thing they see is a slide-show, they get that same sinking feeling. Only you aren’t their uncle, and it’s not impolite to bolt for the exit. They click out of that window as quickly as possible.
Automatic slide shows can be especially annoying. They will inevitably be set to change too quickly or too slowly for your viewers. These will annoy people quicker than your slideshow moves. In general, slide shows are outdated and should be avoided.
Site loads slowly
Photos are great on your website but not when they are slowing the entire operation to a crawl. What do people do when a sites loads too slowly? That’s right. They move on to the competition’s website.
If, by the nature of your business, you’ve got a lot of events going on and a calendar is a main feature of your site, it needs to be on the main page or close by, easy to find and easy to use. A clearly visible link to the calendar will suffice as well.
Going back to my example of the community center’s website, I became frustrated during my visit as it took several attempts and a few pages deep to locate the calendar. Finally, I spotted it in a drop-down menu, far down along the list. When my mouse hovered over the word calendar, another drop-down menu appeared to the right. Ah, but when I attempted to move my mouse to that drop-down menu, it vanished.
Site visitors aren’t going to play some twisted whack-a-mole game with your drop-down menus. If they can’t get to the information they are seeking, they will leave.
Fortunately, after a good deal of frustration, I found another work-around and got into the calendar. Unfortunately, however, after all of that effort, I discovered that there were no events that night. Can you imagine my dismay?
404 error messages
One of the most frustrating things a visitor will encounter on a site is a page that doesn’t exist. These will pop up as 404 errors when you click on a broken link. Pay attention to your SEO by using a tool like Moz to uncover these types of errors and fix them by redirecting or the like.
Speed and simplicity
Most searches conducted on the web are seeking either an answer to a question or a solution to a problem. Searchers want to know what the answer is to the question in the simplest, fastest, most accurate form, and they want to know if can you help them? Oh, and how much does it cost?
Time is a valuable commodity. Don’t waste your site visitors’ time. They are people and their time is of the essence. They don’t have time for links that lead to nowhere and drop-downs that fizzle out. Be sure to provide high-quality, valuable information. Make the tabs and drop-downs simple and obvious. Navigation is not the place to get creative or tricky!
If you have such little respect for visitors’ time, they’ll head right to…well, you know the rest by this point.
Videos on pages that starting playing automatically are really irritating. I actually contacted a company the other day and complained because their ad kept showing up on the side of my email, and when I would move the cursor to open my email this thing would start blaring its message about some plumbing service that I do not need and do no not want to be forced to hear about! It was terribly disruptive, and if I had not been in the privacy of my own home, and the ad starting blasting out its message in a public place can you imagine my embarrassment?
If you are including video, please give visitors the option of starting it manually.
Publish one story over a series of pages
Lately, it seems to be popular to publish one story over a series of pages. Site visitors are presented with a short blurb that entices them to click over to read the rest of the article, but instead find themselves on another page with links to share to Facebook, to other stories we might like, to ads, to everything EXCEPT the rest of the story, which was the original draw!
If you are doing a piece, even with a number of photos, it’s best to keep it to one page if possible.
Google is slapping sites that are not mobile-friendly, and it’s about time. Even if rankings weren’t an issue, consider your prospective customers. People are only willing to pinch and zoom and zoom and pinch for so long on your site before they shut it down and lose interest.
Hidden Contact Information
Make your contact information easy to find and accessible. If you are in business, you need to have contact information. Not hidden or buried where no one can find it. If you have no way for me to contact you, it’s hard to trust you. What happens if the customer has a bad experience and needs to contact you? It doesn’t bode well that you aren’t making it easy for them before they even make a purchase.
So to sum it all up, you put your website up so that people can find you. This is why it’s critical to ensure that their first impression isn’t one of annoyance. As they say, you only have one first impression. Make your site user-friendly, full of value and a place where your customers and prospective customers will bookmark to return!
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