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TOP 10 TIPS FOR TRANSFORMING YOUR WEBSITE

Is your web site doing you proud or does it let you down as soon as someone finds it?

If your website is over 5 years old it is probably antique by now! Things have changed rapidly over a relatively short time period and websites go out of date pretty quickly. It is blatantly obvious that an unattended site is not looked after.

Does your site grab the required attention from visitors? Is it getting any visitors at all? How long do they stay? Can they find what they are looking for very quickly? People’s attention spans only last for a matter of seconds and you can lose people very quickly.

Major problems can be attributed to such things as confusing layouts, pooly designed visuals and graphics, bad navigation and a homepage which doesn’t exactly explain what you do!

Not forgetting the fact that people can enter your website from any random page which comes up on the searches, so they need to be able to navigate to exactly where they want to be within a couple of clicks… or taps…

Which brings me to the subject of mobile devices.

Question… Does your existing web site work well on a mobile device? Is it designed to work on mobiles as well as desktops and large tablets? In the early days of mobile internet access, you could view a web site but it would be designed for a desktop screen, not a mobile screen. Problem… you couldn’t read anything without zooming in and shuffling all over the place! Customers could give up at this first hurdle and you would stand to lose their business. Now that over 70% of the world’s mobile device users access the internet on the move, they want to be able to see what they want very quickly in such a way that it is simple to read and navigate, place an order, call you, share, email you etc. without getting bogged down.

Google are starting to look at web sites in a different way now. If your web site works efficiently and fast on a mobile device, they will index the site quickly and give some preference to its ranking. They call it “Mobile First Indexing”. If your web site is primarily built for mobile device screens with the desktop layout being of secondary importance, you will begin to see better results (so I am led to believe).

HERE ARE 10 COMMON ISSUES RELATING TO POOR WEB SITES

1: Old and dated design / layout

A poorly constructed homepage with a bad layout, confusing text, wrong use of colour, dated visuals and techniques, complex content etc etc., are classic examples. Simplicity is today’s mantra. Keep it simple. (Remember KIS?) Does the site work properly on a mobile device? Use a colour theme throughout the site to maintain continuity. Keep the text simple and don’t use too many typefaces. Explain exactly what you do and make it obvious. You can lose a potential sale in just a few seconds!

2: Lack of quality images

Dreadful and boring images will get the wrong message across to the visitor. You need to look professional and great images will indeed help. There are plenty of free image sites out there (just read the Ts&Cs carefully though) and also a host of excellent photographers. If you can avoid generic images… do so. Images pertinent to your business are best.

3: Too much irrelevant page content

Too much clutter and not enough simplicity and white space, will be the downfall of many. It is so tempting to cram as much info into the pages, just in case someone accidentally falls over it.  That approach does exactly the opposite to what you want to do and hinders progress.

The following would be a great step in the right direction:

  • Good images
  • Well placed and written text
  • Easy to read content
  • Short bullet points
  • Punchy headlines

4: Slow and muddy operating speed

It is quite possible that over the months and years your site has been around, that updates and unsuitably large filesize images and videos have been applied without considering the consequences. Perhaps it’s old and complex coding… who knows? This is something which needs to be ascertained and addressed properly. Large image files can quite easily be remedied and you will be surprised at the better download speeds you experience. Other things may be such items as scripts which need to run in order to make parts of the page work. You could end up waiting for just one item which messes things up for every other part of the page.

5: Badly written content

Yes… that old chestnut! Grammar, spelling and careless mistakes are the obvious culprits but text which takes the reader nowhere, slowly and painfully, will kill off the page. You need to grab attention, create interest, a desire to have what you can offer and then tell them how they can obtain it and cure their “pain”. Waffling will get you nowhere! Nothing is more boring than just tons of rambling text. You need headlines, sub headlines and short sentences with nicely laid out bullet points to make it simple for the reader to take in.

Here is an example of some rambling text (I guarantee this is a cure for insomnia) “Here at the Widget Company, we endeavour to strive for perfection in everything we do. We take the customer’s exacting brief and after a period of consultation we break the brief down into several key components and address each one separately ensuring that the attention to detail is second to none. Having analysed the complexity of the client brief to a suitably coherent stage we at the widget company set to work to realise the end goal via several stages of work & creative processes which guarantee a final result exceeding expectations.” At which point did you nod off? See what I mean? Did it really tell you anything?

6: Bad navigation & signposting

A fatal flaw in may web sites is bad navigation. You need to let people see what you can offer and give them a simple way of finding their way around the site. A simple navigation bar at the top of every page can be exactly what the visitor needs to get around. Make sure that all the pages / links you need to show people are clearly marked under obvious and concise headings. Expect people to get totally lost if you don’t make it 100% easy for them to get about. Imagine a map of London with only a few street names marked… how do you expect to get anywhere, let alone find your destination? If you have a complex site, then having a clearly accessible “Site Map” is one answer. Talking of which… always make sure there is a sitemap for the search engines too. They need to get around quickly in order to index your lovingly made pages!

7: Poorly done SEO

Search Engine Optimisation. Every search engine is looking for web sites which are relevant and well constructed. Each page should have relevant “keywords” relating to the content. If you are selling 12 volt widgets, then you need to find out what people are typing into, perhaps, Google in order to find them. If you want local customers, it is a lot easier but the keywords are essential. You use the keywords in the page title, description and also well spaced and loaded into the page text too. Google wants to know that the page is relevant to its subject. Do this for every page and you will start to see results. SEO goes far deeper than that and it takes an expert nowadays to make your site stand out from the ever increasing crowd in a countrywide or even worldwide sense. Start simply and than move up as required. Be very careful with costs too!

8: Promoting your website

Promote, promote, promote! Social media, directories, networking, email campaigns, mailshots, business cards, comp slips, letterheads, merchandise, giveaways, exhibitions, trade shows etc etc. Get your web site URL on everything you can… even the company cars and vans. If you are not promoting your web site at every turn, you are missing a trick.

9: Domain Names

A domain name which is irrelevant to the business name is not really ideal. “thewidgetcompany.co.uk” is ideal for The Widget Company Ltd but not “fredbloggsengineeringworks.co.uk” if all you make is widgets. It needs to communicate your business message. If your domain name is not an obvious link to your business, then you may want to rethink it. However it does have it’s problems doing that, so take advice before you do otherwise you will find that all your pages show as broken links in the search engine pages. It is best to begin your site with a good domain in the first place.

Also be very careful when choosing your domain name as it might be a series of words in one string like Speedofart.com and Americanscrapmetal.com for instance. (Sorry boys but you chose them!) You see where I am coming from?

10: No obvious contact details

A flaw in some sites and people wonder why no-one calls them! You must make it incredibly easy for people to get hold of you. Have a CONTACT US button or link in your navigation bar and in the footer area too. Have contact us buttons on the pages occasionally too. Face it… your site is your advert and you want people to get in touch… don’t you?

Conclusion

I have only touched on these subjects and you will be able to research things a lot more when you set aside some time. I am always happy to help and on the end of a phone or email. It is worth checking out your site to see if improvements may be made. You never know what will happen unless you try.

Drop me a line with your domain name and I will be happy to analyse your site for you to see if problems are lurking in some dark corners!

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