If your business relies heavily on the performance of your website, you’ve got to hope that it’s working hard for your brand. But some websites don’t. This is really common to see in new businesses, and even SMBs which have been around for awhile.
The problem is, many people who run these businesses fail to see what’s not working. They’re not web professionals. They have expertise in almost totally unrelated fields. Unless they’re able to wrap their heads around the problems in the site or ecommerce platform, the problems are going to persist, and will weigh down or collapse the business with time.
Luckily, most of the common website problems will be easy to spot for a web professional. If you’re not sure you need to hire someone yet, but you want to see if your site has some of these problems, the responses of the recent USIO survey should offer some insight.
1. It’s Hard to Use
Survey respondents hate websites that are hard to use. This problem can manifest itself in various ways.
Some people reported difficulty with disorganized websites. You see this all the time: sites which don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason to the way they’re laid out. Sometimes sites have individual pages which are only accessible when you type in their URL manually, or use relevant search terms through Google. This is unacceptable.
The same goes for sites that are heavy on text. Your website is not a book. It shouldn’t contain everything you think your customers need to know about everything related to your business.
A website starts a conversation. Leave the customer wanting more; don’t chase them away because your site is cluttered and chaotic.
2. It’s Obnoxious
One of the most common survey responses was that people hated pop up windows and videos which started playing on their own. Because both of these are totally ubiquitous on the web, there are plenty of opportunities to be reminded about how much you hate one or both of these. Sometimes these techniques can be used well, and for the advantage of the website they’re placed on.
Many bloggers find that auto-pop content actually brings in a lot of contacts and repeat views, especially when it pops up after someone has read a lot of a particularly interesting piece of content. But it’s the bad examples of this stuff that gives them the reputation.
Make sure your website isn’t intolerably cluttered with this kind of stuff, and use “noisy” elements like autoplay videos very strategically.
There were other responses to the survey, but most of them boiled down to one of these two problems.
People want a website that works. They want to show up for the first time and be able to find the information they’re looking for. They also want to do this in a setting that doesn’t besiege them with marketing materials. The look and feel of your site is also important, but unless it’s navigable and tasteful in its obvious marketing efforts, people are going to tend to be turned off.
So, review your site and have someone else – an expert, hopefully – to help you identify issues that you can’t previously see. Start improving what your business website is lacking, and stop giving your site visitors and potential customers second grade service via your layout and content; they deserve more.