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Six Rookie Website Mistakes to Avoid

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Rookie website mistakes can compromise your visitors’ experience and sacrifice your credibility. Frustrated visitors will abandon your business and products and move on to another website. Here are six blunders website novices typically make:

Missing the Call to Action

Talk about missing the forest through the trees! You’ve been so focused on the details of your website that you omit one of the most critical elements — What exactly is your customer supposed to do on your website? From “Buy this product now” to “Subscribe to our blog” — whatever your action is — you need to make sure it’s clearly defined and easily accomplished. Get the results you want by figuring out what you want your website visitors to do and then tell them to do it.

Unclear Home Page

Not all your website visitors know your business, so a home page that doesn’t immediately communicate what you do is a big problem. Now is not the time for subtlety; be obvious. Make sure your home page headline clearly states what your business actually does. Your feature images should show your products or services and your text should outline your value proposition.

Encouraging Your Customers to Jump Ship

The impulse may be to litter your homepage with many social media icons to show you are plugged in. Think twice though because all of these buttons will distract your customers from your products and content. Without realizing it, you might be encouraging your visitors to leave your website and go to those social networks. We’re not saying not to use social media, just use it thoughtfully and consider putting those share buttons in your footer or on the “about us” page.

Scrimping on Photography

Poor photography can negatively affect your reputation, credibility and sales. Not every business can afford a high-end professional, but a decent digital camera or stock photography can be a good option.

  • Low-resolution, blurry or pixelated pictures. Especially if you’re selling a unique product, your images should be clear and visually appealing. In a shopping environment where the customer can’t touch and feel your products, no amount of persuading and bulleted benefits will convince customers to buy products they can’t see.
  • Photos that fail to answer questions. Approach your products as a customer and align your photography accordingly. Have you answered all the questions a consumer would have by showing details and various angles?
  • Stock photography. Stock photography is a worthy option for businesses with a limited budget. Make sure you research your competitor’s website before investing to make sure you both aren’t using the same images. Also, purchase royalty-free images and don’t resort to using watermarked placeholder images. The only reason your photography should have a watermark is if you’re selling your unique artwork and the watermark ensures that the images aren’t used without a sale or your authorization.

An Ineffective Contact Form

A bad contact form could be costing you communications and customers. A few simple things to keep in mind:

  • Keep it simple. If your form is too long or complicated, customers won’t waste their time filling it out and they will move on to your competition. If your form is usable and friendly then it should only take a minute to fill out and submit.
  • Get basic information with the asterisk. Make friends with the asterisk (*) and put it in fields on your form that the customer is required to complete. Don’t go overboard and put an asterisk next to every question. Required fields are a great way to avoid incomplete or inaccurate forms but you walk a fine line to frustrating your customer by overdoing it.
  • Test, test and retest: Make sure your contact form works and that the customer inquiry is finding its way to you so you can respond in a timely manner. Before your site is live, test your content form to make sure your potential customers have a positive first impression of your company.

Leaving Your Website to Beginners

Your business website isn’t the place for your best friend’s nephew who dabbles in website design on the side in his basement at off hours. Your website is critical to sales and as a marketing channel for your business so don’t waste your time with anyone other than a professional website designer and developer. Finding a professional team will save you time and money in the long run and will ensure your vision is executed competently. That doesn’t mean you just hand over the keys of your website blindly. As the owner of the site, the website may not be your main job, but you still need to know the basic operations and how it works. You should know how to make basic edits, add content (like posting blogs, for example) and make backups.

Whether you’re just starting out or want to discuss a redesign, the web development team at West Press is here to help by putting together a great website that will work hard for you. Contact West Press or your Account Executive at 520-624-4939 today.