It’s 2018 and we’ve gone beyond brands just needing to have a website – you need to have a good website. If you want to increase awareness and help your target audience understand and purchase your products and services, your brand need to have a user-friendly website. And what better way to understand how to make a good website than by learning everything that contributes to a bad one? Here are ten major website fails that will have your potential customers running for the hills (or at least back to Google).
1. Auto-Play Videos or Music
You never know where your audience might be accessing your website (the library, at work, on public transit, etc.). The last thing you want is them clicking away from your website because noise began pounding through their speakers at full-volume. Include videos on your website, yes – but give your audience the courtesy of clicking on them first.
2. Slow Loading Times
Certain website factors (like cluttered photos/videos or disabling browser caching) deteriorate the user experience and slow down your website’s load time. Users that have to wait longer might get impatient and click away. Your website speed also affects your website’s ranking in search engines. Check out how to optimize your website’s speed here.
3. Confusing Navigation
A successful website is as user-friendly as possible and that means having an intuitive and simple navigation. This is a super easy way to help your user find the information they’re looking for. And if they don’t know what exactly it is they want, a strong website will help to guide them.
4. Vague or Complicated Product Descriptions
To ensure customer satisfaction, your audience needs to thoroughly and accurately understand what product or service your brand is offering. Remember to include enough information but to also put it in terms that they know. When first introducing the iPod, Apple didn’t say that they offer 1 gigabyte of storage, they offered “1,000 songs in your pocket.”
5. Poor Web Design
As much as we’re told to never judge a book by its cover, this sentiment hardly extends to websites. Think of your website as a physical representation of your brand – it needs to be able to make a strong and impactful first impression. From font to color choice, your website displays who your brand is and what it’s about.
6. Too Many Ads
Ads aren’t always a bad thing. With the right brand, they can add additional revenue opportunities for minimal extra effort. But when a website is cluttered with ads, it can often discourage potential customers and even breed distrust. Strike a moderate balance and place ads in strategic locations to avoid driving users away.
7. Outdated Plugins
For a high speed and streamlined web experience, you should have a solid selection of plugins that are always kept up-to-date. If you have too many or outdated plugins, this could affect your load time (see #2!) and you run the risk of your users not having the plugin they need to view your website. As an added tip, the HTML5 plugin works flawlessly across all devices and is highly recommended!
8. Dead Links
Not only are dead links an annoyance to customers, they also affect your SEO and can drag down your website ranking if they go unattended. Perform thorough and frequent web maintenance checks to ensure that all of your buttons, links, and pages are working properly and that they’re sending users to the intended location.
9. Security Threats & Breaches
It isn’t just major corporations like Target or Home Depot that fall victim to hackers and data breaches. Even the smallest businesses are vulnerable to cyberattacks and, once your customer’s information has been stolen, it’s difficult to earn back that trust. Take the proper precautions to ensure that your website and your customers are protected.
10. Not Mobile-Friendly
No matter their age or location, more and more users are accessing websites using their smartphones or tablets as opposed to desktops or laptops. When creating your website, use features and templates that are optimized for all devices to avoid potential customers being unable to navigate your site from any location.