Wouldn’t you mind spending time and money to get people to your website only for them to leave without interacting with you or your website?
Depending on the business, a website can really help boost your customer base but if not done properly it could actually turn people away.
Let’s look at some of the common things that could cause large portions of your traffic to simply walk away.
1. Asking people to subscribe without giving them a reason
In a world where everybody wants your email, simply having a form on your website asking people to “Subscribe” without any real reason will do you no good.
If you want people to subscribe you should give them something of value.
Traditionally, these bribes, also called lead magnets, have been ebooks, reports, coupon codes, checklists, free trials in case of companies, etc.
The thing is that as more and more people got wind of the whole idea and started using them, the more reluctant people became to actually sign up.
Part of the problem is the spam that you’ve come to expect once you’ve signed up for a “free” gift.
To compensate for that you really need to make sure that your gift is truly something that your potential customer would want and would care about.
And once you get that email avoid being annoying otherwise you’ll burn your lead or even worse, make the person report your emails as spam.
2. Not being clear what you do
46% of people leave your website because can’t tell what the company does. That is a lot.
I can only assume that you wouldn’t want that many people leaving your website before they actually get the chance to consider using your services.
Of course, if they can’t tell what you do, they can’t consider buying.
This is more or less easy to mess up depending on the nature of your business but I think it also ties in with the point about industry jargon.
Web design trends like the big, full-screen images with very little text could also play a role in making a website hard to figure out.
The solution would be to give out plenty of information in plain language that anybody that is not familiar with the industry can understand.
And, like mentioned before, avoid having the whole website composed of full-screen images with little to no information.
Images have their place and role but unless they are the ones doing the selling and your product/service is highly visual in nature I would avoid having a website comprised in most part of images.
Even if you think of a photographer, where you would be interested in seeing a portfolio, you still need some information regarding what kind of shoots the photographer offers, what is the process, what are the prices and so on.
3. Not giving enough information
A lot of people seem to think that if a visitor of their website needs more information they’ll just contact the business.
Some will, sure, but most will probably hit the back button and go to another website.
I can’t stress this enough, a user can land on a different website with 2 clicks. Click one, back to search results, click two on a competitor website.
Done, you’re out of the race.
How you add that information will depend on a few things such as the type of website/business, budget and so on.
At a minimum, you can simply keep track of some of the most frequently asked questions. Then you can add a FAQ page on your website or create some guides if the answers should go a bit more in-depth.
4. Too much jargon
Unless you are 100% sure that your ideal customer understands the jargon of your industry you should avoid it.
The reason is simple, you want your visitors to understand what you can do for them. Understanding is a bit different than simply knowing.
I think a good example of this and its effects is school.
Think about it, what were your thoughts about professors that knew how to explain things and made you understand what they were saying?
Now compare that to professors you had no idea what they were on about most of the time and you really had to put in some brain power in order to keep up.
Who do you prefer, who do you like more?
Similarly, people would probably prefer doing business with businesses and professionals that can make them understand what the heck is going on.
To fix this, simply go through your website’s content and figure out if your message starts to use industry-specific terms or explain things in a way that requires previous industry knowledge to understand.
Imagine yourself trying to explain those things to a 5 year old. That should get you on the right track.
5. Dead-end pages
There is this weird expectation that, somehow, if a potential client sees your website or some of your service pages, he will magically be hooked. So much so that he’ll scour your website to get in touch with you and purchase from you.
Sure, that might be true in some cases but for the most part, you need to guide people to the next step. And make that as easy as possible.
For maximum results, you should consider that people can’t be bothered to move the mouse too many pixels on the screen.
What this means is that on every page of your website, after you’ve presented what you have to say you should add a call to action. This call to action would simply point people to the next step.
For example, you are a restaurant and people are on your menu page after they reached the end of the menu page don’t let the just fly off or wander around, ask them to make a reservation.
Of course, that next stage needs to be adapted to your business and on a page by page basis to make sense for the visitor.
Just make sure you are very clear what the next step would be.
6. Not updating your website in ages
If you have a website that’s not been updated in more than 5 years you could pretty much bet that it could use an update.
Part of the reason is that the visual style starts getting old and users could associate that with low quality or possibly with scams. See our guide on website re-design for more on this.
Another part of the problem is that most likely the website doesn’t play well with mobile devices.
Considering that more and more of the web traffic is from mobile devices you really need to make sure that your website is up to scratch on that.
The content of your website might also use some updates, maybe you have new services, maybe you don’t offer some of the old services, maybe you have something new for the portfolio.
Check your copyright date on the bottom of your website.
If I look at a website in 2017 and notice a copyright date from 2011 I’m not sure if the business is still active.
And if it is active I just assume they are either lazy, don’t pay attention to details or just don’t care how they present themselves. Either way, it’s a big red flag.
Maybe not everybody thinks the same but it wouldn’t hurt to change that to the current year.
So, take some time and see if your website would need some updates, if it works well on mobile devices and if it’s living in the current year.
You don’t need to do this every day but you also can’t create a website that would represent you and then just abandon it.
7. Paying for SEO when you don’t understand SEO
This one is tricky but can be so costly if not handled properly.
Here is the gist of the problem.
There are two ways of doing SEO. One involves following the guidelines of Google and another involves faking that you are following those guidelines.
I’m not going to argue that one is right and the other wrong but you need to be aware of the risks involved.
You see, the “faking” method is much easier than the “traditional” way of doing things and you have more control over it. But…
Every once in a while Google makes a big update that brings in new ways of figuring out who is cheating.
When that happens a lot of websites fall off the face of search and into the abyss. And recovering from that is no easy task.
The solution is to spend some time to understand how SEO is done in both scenarios before you commit to a pretty expensive contract.
SEO is quite expensive and if you think the $5 Fiverr gig that promises #1 spot in Google is going to help you are only fooling yourself.
So, a good starting point would be our own guide, SEO for normal people. Of course, it is.
And let’s not forget Google’s rules.
I find it quite amazing that so many people want to get on Google’s good side but don’t bother reading their own indications and guidelines.
Bare in mind, you should take that guide with a grain of salt as Google doesn’t talk much about how it operates and also has an advertising network it wants you to spend money on.
8. Not paying attention to site speed
The speed at which your website loads can have a great impact on a number of things.
These range from SEO aspects and how well Google shows you up in search results to how well the website converts a visitor into a lead or a client.
To give you a better idea consider that 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load and 1 out of 2 people expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds.
I’ve also talked about this in the ‘9 key website ingredients’ guide that you might want to grab.
So, with those stats in mind, you can check out how your website performs using a free tool lite Gtmetrix.
A tip I want to give you here, don’t check just the homepage. A lot of people stop there but the performance of one page is not the same as the performance of the other pages unless they are very similar.
I would say, check the largest pages that you have on the site, the ones that have the most images, most text and such.
These are the ones that would take the longest to load and if you get these to good numbers you could bet that the smaller pages will also perform well.
To fix it talk with your go-to developer or find somebody on websites like Fiverr, PeoplePerHour. or UpWork.
9. Not showing any trust elements
These could be the good old testimonials, trust badges like the BBB Accredited Business or security badges like the PayPal Verified, especially for e-commerce.
The reason you would want these is that they can massively increase your conversion rates.
With testimonials, ideally, you want them to reinforce the points that you are making in your marketing material and have them close to your calls to action.
Trust badges can also help gain more trust, duh, but you need to find a good match between what badges make sense for your business, where to place them and who your audience is.
There are differences in generations and how they perceive certain badges.
10. Paying for ads to send people to your homepage
There is nothing inherently wrong with sending paid traffic to a homepage. However, that depends on what that homepage has on it.
Home pages usual showcase a variety of things like some of the services the company offers, maybe a bit about the company, a bit about past projects and maybe other things as well.
The point is, your homepage is probably not focused on something specific as a page should be for a good ad campaign.
The result, most likely, is that your conversion rates will be very small thus wasting a big chunk of the money you spend on advertising.
The solution is pairing your ads with dedicated pages, also called landing pages.
The idea is that you have individual pages that are focused on one service/product and drive the user to one action only.
This way, the transition from the ad to the page and beyond is very smooth for the user and thus it increases the chances that a user will take the action you want him to take.
Another reason why you would want dedicated pages is to be able to test different versions of that page.
This allows you to find the right message of the page, the right images the right call to action to maximize conversions and get most ROI out of your campaigns.
So, if you are considering paid advertising make sure you pair your ad campaign with a dedicated landing page.
11. Using poor quality images
If you are going to put images on your website say images from inside your restaurant, hotel, maybe it’s a portfolio of some sort don’t make photos with your phone.
Your phone is good for vacation photos and selfies.It may be capable of shooting good photos but unless you know and understand photography chances are you won’t take great photos yourself.
Get a photographer to make some quality photos.
If you use images that you purchase online, try to get some images that look real.
Some of the photos that you find online are just cheezy and might actually turn customers away. So you might want to be picky on that front as well.
12. Copying a competitor
“I need a website exactly like this other website.”
I’ve heard or read this line or some variations of is way too many times.
I get where it’s coming from but simply making a clone of a competitor website is probably going to add more problems in the mix than it solves.
On the immediate surface of the issue, what would a potential client think if it happens to know the original brand you copied?
Yes, the chances are quite slim, but still.
Also, you can be sued for copyright infringement.
I would say, use those websites as inspiration, as a way to figure out how you want your own website built.
This way you would have something somewhat unique and no issues of copyright or a risk to look bad.
13. Using PDFs instead of pages
I’ve seen this on a few different types of website, the one that comes to mind right away are restaurants that make you download the menu as PDF.
Other companies make you download case studies as PDF without asking for email or anything. When you do that you are just lazy.
Why do that?
If I’m on mobile, PDF doesn’t play well and on top of that now I have a file that takes space for nothing.
Why don’t just put the content on a page of your website and if you really think your customer might need PDF offer that as an option.
A website is never perfect, but if you found your website doing some of the mistakes consider fixing them as they have the potential to actually make a difference.
Also worth mentioning, ideally you measure and test the changes that you apply, not for bragging rights but to make sure that you are getting positive results.