Here at Cat’s Cove Communications, we make a lot of websites for businesses big and small, and we’ve seen our share of crummy websites. There are a number of mistakes we see again and again, so we thought we'd share our list of the 12 most common website mistakes we see companies making every day.
Using low quality images. Nothing - and I mean nothing makes a website look more amateur than bad pictures. Even a professionally designed website can be ruined by grainy, low quality images. There are many places to get good stock photos, which are a better option if you have no good photos to use, but using actual photos of your business and product is way more authentic. Most modern smart phones take decent photos and you can learn to take better photos yourself. Want tips on how to take better photos? Click here.
Not listing your business location. Have you ever been to a website and you’re trying to figure out if it’s a local company but you can’t find an address anywhere? Listing your location or address is essential for people to know whether or not your services or products are accessible to them. Don't leave people hanging!
Not listing your contact information. Further to our point about not listing your address or town, don’t forget to list your email or phone number. While this seems obvious, this is a very common mistake. People hate having to dig around to find your contact information. In all likelihood they’ll get annoyed and leave your site if they don’t find it quickly.
You forget about SEO. No H1 headers? Alt text on your images? Meta tags? It doesn’t matter how beautiful your website is, if you haven’t laid the groundwork for good search engine optimization, your website performance will suffer. Sound like Greek? We can help.
You use way too much writing. Think being a hilarious or skilled writer will make people want to read a novel when they get to your site? Think again. People run out of steam quickly when it comes to reading content on websites. Be sure to break text into smaller chunks, mix it up with some visuals for interest, or even include some video to really catch attention.
Your website is not mobile friendly. Depending on your industry, up to 70% of your website visitors will end up looking at your website on their phone or tablet. Having a website that isn’t mobile friendly makes for a very poor user experience - not to mention it makes your website look out of date. Also, sites that are not mobile friendly rank poorly when it comes to search engine optimization.
You’re not using a favicon. If you’re asking yourself, ‘what the heck is a favicon?’ you probably don’t have one. Short for “favourite icon”, favicons are small images that sit to the left of your web page title and are visible in your browser tab, bookmark menu, among other places. If you’re the type of person who keeps multiple tabs open at once in your web browser, these little images are super helpful for distinguishing which webpages are on each tab - and they’re a great opportunity to strengthen brand recognition.
Having a ‘click here to enter’ page. Come on people. It’s not 2003. Let this trend die. When visitors go to your website, they want to go to your website, not be met at the door by a doorman who slows them down by asking redundant questions.
Having a slow loading time. This one can be tricky. But know this: it’s important for your website to load as quickly as possible. The longer it takes to load, the more visitors will leave your site (we live in very impatient times) The most common culprits that lead to slow load times are images that aren’t optimized for the web and the overuse of animations or videos. Be sure to always use an app like Squoosh before uploading images to your website. Read our article about how to shrink images for web here.
Having a crummy design. No one wants to go to a website that looks like the placemat at a family restaurant. Be sure to organize your content into manageable chunks with a layout that flows.
Having a poorly laid out navigation menu. Your website’s navigation should be clear and easy to use - helping site visitors find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Don’t overload your main menu with too many items, or it can be hard to read them all. And make sure your menu items are in an intuitive order, too. Contact or Blog are usually the last item in the menu (from left to right), Home or About is usually the first.
Not having a blog. Blogs are not just for aspiring chefs. They are important tools for search engine optimization and an essential way of adding fresh, keyword rich content on your website on a regular basis. Blogs make you an authority in your industry, help build your brand, drive traffic to your website and create the potential for receiving valuable links.
Want more website tips? Check out our post Best Website Builders of 2021.