Website Mistakes As Far As The Eye Can See…
When working for a web hosting company, you see websites covering the entire design spectrum. From the God awful color palettes of web builders past, to the stunning $10K+ professionally crafted masterpieces. One thing all of them have in common, there is always room for improvement. Today I’m going over 5 website mistakes I see happen way more often than they should, especially in 2017.
Drop The Curtain On Sliders
I know sliders on the homepage look cool, but please, for the love of all that is holy, stop. Small business owners I talk to want their website to look impressive, and I get that, but they often get distracted by eye candy instead of a functional and easy to use landing page. Besides being bloated resource hogs (especially in WordPress), sliders do nothing for your visitors except slow down your site and distract from content. Any flashy element implemented on your site looks great the first time, less so the second, and downright annoying after that. In all honesty, people really don’t care how cool your site is if it gets in the way of your content.
My advice is to stick with a properly optimized hero image and call it a day. IF you must absolutely use a slider, make sure to pick a well coded option. Instructional site WP Beginner performed tests with different sliders on how they affect site load time. There is almost a full second between the best and worst performing options. In a time when Google is using site speed as an SEO metric, ditch the flashy slider and focus more on making your site functional and professional.
Put Your JPEG’s On A Diet
Like I mentioned in my article on speeding up WordPress, images play a huge part in site weight and performance. If you aren’t re-sizing and compressing your images before putting them on page, you’re making a huge mistake. The worst offenders I’ve seen personally seem to be either Photographers or Tattoo Artists. Yes, you want your visitors to be able to see your work in high res, super detailed glory. No, you don’t want all of these images being loaded in full size on your homepage.
On the flip side of this, don’t upload small or oddly shaped images to use as your hero (or header) image. If you take an image and try to blow it up to fill all that space, you’ll be left with nothing but a blotchy and pixelated mess. Nothing turns visitors away faster and tanks any credibility you may have had with nasty, amateur looking images.
Write Right Way
I have been completely bewildered by legitimately professional websites that don’t spell check their content, or worse, their page titles and URL’s. People write content, and people make mistakes, so it’s completely fine to have a few typos here and there (I’m sure there’s plenty on this page). Going through after it’s live and making sure it’s the best version you can create is what makes the difference.
Same goes for site titles and URL’s. If I click on your “About Us” page, and the URL loads to www.example.com/abut or worse /aboutu-s3 (real examples I’ve seen), I make the assumption right there that you don’t pay attention to the details or care enough to fix it later. Not a huge deal for a mobile dog groomer, but a gargantuan deal for a financial advisor seeking clients. Go through and click on every page you have and make sure the title and URL resolve correctly.
If you’ve gone through the hassle of building or buying a website, hosting, a domain, and finally putting it live, make sure your message is clear. What do you want your visitors to do on your site? Is it simply filling out a form, calling for a quote, or booking an appointment? Is that Call to Action (CTA) front, center, and above the fold?
Don’t make it hard for your potential customers to interact with you and your business. People want convenience; if they have to hunt around looking for a phone number or address, you’re doing it wrong. This is one of the easiest website mistakes you can avoid while making your content.
Play By The Rules
DO NOT keyword stuff. SEO has moved way, waaay beyond that old trick. I’ve dealt with business owners who were adamant that they had to make sure and stuff as many meta keywords into their page as possible, hidden or on page. Not only does it not work, Google will actively punish your rankings if you’re caught.
There are many plug-ins and services that will help make sure your content is hitting all the right marks. Yoast SEO is the most famous and I use it myself. That doesn’t mean it’s the best by any means, but it works for me and my budget ($0.00). If you don’t have the time to learn how to be an SEO master, use a plug-in and it’ll get you 75% or more of the way there. If you happen to have the budget, look into hiring a reputable agency, but ready your wallet because it ain’t gonna be cheap.
Neil Patel has excellent content, and this post specifically details great SEO strategies you can do yourself. Following some of his battle tested techniques will help you avoid even more website mistakes.
What common website mistakes do you see that boggles the mind? Let me know in the comments.