Website Designing Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Website Designing Mistakes You’re Probably Making

If you run a business online or off then you understand the importance of having a website and online presence. However, if it’s your first website, or you designed your website yourself then you might have made mistakes. Luckily, a lot of these mistakes are easy to correct. If you’re relying on your website to drive traffic your way, then you’ll want your website to be a well-oiled machine. Below we highlight the ten mistakes that most beginners make, and what you can do to fix these issues.

1. Lack Of Vision

Your website needs to exist for a definite reason, not simply because you think you should have an online presence. You need to decide upon the purpose of your website before you even begin building. Your website must have a definite purpose, as every page on your website will work to fulfill this purpose. For example, your website could be used to build authority, source new leads, sell a product or service, give information about your business, and much more. You’ll want your user to land on your website and immediately know what your website is all about.

2. Rushing To Market

Instead of getting your website up as soon as possible it’s important you take time to research your market first. For example, if you have an older target market you’ll need to make sure your website is easy to read, digest, and navigate. By having an understanding of your market first you’ll be able to build a website that actually serves them, instead of simply taking up space.

3. Complicated Design

In order to have a successful website it needs to be simple, not flashy. Having an overcomplicated design will only lead to confusion. The goal of your design should be to create the best possible user experience across your website.

4. Design Is Too Trendy

Trends come and go, but timeless design lasts forever. By building your website on the back of solid design principles you’ll be able to create a website that outlasts certain trends and fads. Websites that rely on trends will become outdated very quickly.

5. Out-Of-Date Content

If you haven’t updated your content in years then chances are it’s not up to date with your current business, or the latest web standards. If you have older content your site your visitors may assume you’re out of business, or aren’t as innovative as your competition. If you have a blog make sure you update it on a regular basis, as nothing looks worse than a vacant blog.

6. Poor Quality Photography

Low-quality photography, or outdated stock photography gives your website an amateur feel and won’t do a lot to draw your visitor into your website. Images can help you build a connection with your audience, but only if they’re aligned with your message and business. Make sure you either hire a professional photographer, or use high-quality stock photos that aren’t cheesy.

7. Having Broken Elements/Links

Every element of your website needs to be working. This means you need to test all of your links and pages, so your users don’t end up with the dreaded 404 page. You’ll also want to check all of your internal links to make sure you’re not leading your users to a dead end.

8. Poorly Designed Logo

Your logo is a central piece of your branding. By designing your logo yourself, or getting a cheap logo designed, you won’t do much to further your branding or website. Although your logo is a subtle part of your design it can communicate a lot about your business.

9. Poor Font Choice

Font choice is another subtle element that most business owners neglect. The font you choose needs to compliment your design and increase the readability of your content. This is when it can be helpful to consult the opinion of a professional designer. But, if you’re choosing your own font choice the simpler font is often the better choice.

10. No Call-To-Action

You must lead your visitors somewhere. A website without a call-to-action is akin to nothing more than a virtual business card. Once you’ve proven yourself valuable to your visitors you need to direct them to take action. That action can be signing up for your email list, giving your business a call, or a multitude of other options. Getting your website into tip top shape can take a lot of work. But, it’s time well spent because a well functioning website will help your business grow for the long-term.

What Does Your About Page Say To Your Audience?

What Does Your About Page Say To Your Audience?

Your about page is a crucial part of your website. You can use it to convey valuable information about your business and connect with your user in new and more meaningful ways. Sadly, most business don’t use their about page to actually deepen their relationship with their users. Instead they just use the page to talk about themselves and give a quick rundown of their services offered. These elements are necessary, but they shouldn’t be the sole focus of your about page.

Make Your About Page About Your Visitors

When you’re at a party, or having a conversation with someone and they keep going on and on about themselves, it’s not a very fun conversation is it? Your about page comes across the same way when you only talk about yourself and your accolades. Instead, try a different approach, and make your about page about your readers. The moment a visitor clicks over to your about page you’ll want to tell them the benefits they’ll receive if they stick around. You want to speak to anything that will prevent them from clicking the back button. Address their needs and pain points as soon as possible.

Speak To Their Feelings

When you can convey emotion and feeling with your about page it’s much easier to get them excited about what you’re offering. By taking the time to explain their feelings, your visitors will automatically feel like they’re accepted and part of what you’re building. It’s much easier to get someone to take action when you show that you deeply understand their needs.

Get Into Their Heads

Once you’ve shown you understand them on a level of emotion you need to make your readers feel as if you can read their minds and present them with the perfect solution. You can do this by going deeper into their pain points, and showing how you can solve their problems, and that you’ve done it before.

Use The “Humble Brag”

When you brag about yourself or your business accomplishments you need to do it in a way that doesn’t turn off your readers. Simply listing your accomplishments can actually isolate your readers and make it harder for them to relate to you. A great way to do this is to wrap your accomplishments inside of a story or a joke. Or, you can highlight them alongside other less than perfect details.

Wrap Up With A Call-To-Action

Once you finish your newly upgraded copy on your about page it’s time to tell your visitor what to do next. Since your about page often gets a lot of traffic you should conclude the page with a call-to-action that leads to a subscribe form or some other course of action. Give your users a way to continue the conversation with you. Making sure your about page connects with your users is a crucial piece a lot of online business owners are missing. Get this piece right and you’ll see your subscribers and relationships start to blossom.

Why WordPress Is The Best Choice For Non-Technical Business Owners

Why WordPress Is The Best Choice For Non-Technical Business Owners

When the time comes to create your website, you’re going to have no shortage of options to choose from. In fact, the decision-making process can be very overwhelming. It’s hard to cut though all of the marketing messaging to truly find a platform that works for you. Luckily, there’s one platform that outshines most other platforms when it comes to an intuitive platform, that will help you build a beautiful website in no time at all. In this post we’re going to dive into why WordPress is the best choice for business owners with little to no technical know-how. WordPress began as simple blogging software, but it has now grown into a full-fledged website builder with a massive and interactive community.

1. Easy To Use Backend

WordPress has a very easy to use backend. They’ve had the same backend for a number of years, which means there are a number of tutorials to guide you through anything you may be unsure of. The backend is straightforward and doesn’t require any knowledge of code to actually customize the look of the theme as well as implement many additional features.

2. Small Learning Curve

Customizing your WordPress theme couldn’t be easier. Most themes also come with easy to follow documentation that will allow you to set up and populate your theme rather quickly. A lot of other website building platforms require little technical knowledge to get up and running, but the curve increases very quickly. WordPress is easy to setup, and also requires little technical knowledge to customize.

3. Massive Theme Selection

There are literally thousands of WordPress themes available for you to download, both free and premium. The free themes are great for getting started, but if you really want to take your website to the next level you should consider upgrading to a premium theme. Most premium themes cost less than $50 and can leave you with a truly customizable, professional website.

4. Great Plugin Selection

Plugins add increased functionality to your theme without having to outsource plugin creation, or invest a ton of money. There are thousands of WordPress plugins, both free and paid, that add things like increased payment support, homepage sliders, upgraded security and much more. If you want to add a specific feature to your website chances are there’s a plugin for it.

5. Large Support Community

Since WordPress has been around for such a long time there a large dedicated support community. Most premium WordPress themes come with dedicated support, while the large free theme community has a very active user base. If you keep running into a problem, chances are someone else has faced the same problem, and the solution already exists.

6. SEO Optimized

When you’re relying on search engine traffic to send you new customers, then your website must be optimized to rank. Luckily, most WordPress themes are primed to rank in the search engines right out of the box.

7. Very Inexpensive

Like we mentioned above you can get a WordPress theme up and running without too much of an investment on your end. Aside from purchasing a domain name and hosting, you can even get by with a free theme. As you can see, WordPress is a great choice for business owners looking for a beautiful website without having to learn to code first.

Website Usability Testing 101

Website Usability Testing 101

Sure, your website may be beautiful, but is it doing its job when it comes to converting first time visitors into lifelong readers? If you aren’t sure whether or not your website is performing as well as it could, measure it against all of the following usability metrics:

Step #1 – Accessibility
As you might expect, a great place to start your website usability testing is to determine whether or not visitors are able to access your site in the first place! Ask yourself the following questions to minimize any such issues:

Does your website display correctly in multiple browsers?

What looks good in Chrome might not work in IE – and what looks good on your desktop might render horribly in a mobile environment. Check your website in multiple browsers at once using cross-browser compatibility testing tools like BrowserShots.

Are your load times reasonable?

Slow load times frustrate both users and the search engines alike. Make sure your site speed is up-to-par (or get recommendations on how to improve load times if necessary) by using Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool.
Can the search engines index your content?

Plenty of different website elements can interfere with search engine indexing, which can prevent your site from receiving all of the natural search engine traffic it should. Run your website through the WebConf’s Search Engine Spider Simulator. If you don’t see your content appear as text, something in your site’s code is preventing proper indexing and must be resolved.

Step #2 – Branding Identity
Of course, website usability isn’t all about your site’s functionality. Another key component of your website’s operation is its ability to distinguish itself from other sites in order to retain readers. Here’s what you need to know:

Does your website pass the “5 second test”?

Using tools like FiveSecondTest, determine whether or not your company’s most important website elements are appropriately highlighted through your site’s design. If not, make changes and run future tests until visitors hit upon your most important content right off the bat.

Do your visual aesthetics distinguish your brand?

The importance of a site’s visual qualities can’t be understated. Use the principles of color psychology and the process of split testing to ensure that the visual aesthetics of your website don’t conflict with your brand’s identity or positioning. website navigation

Step #3 – Navigation
While it’s important to address any deficiencies in your site’s structure, it’s just as critical that users be able to find the information they’re looking for upon arriving on your website. Check your navigation before it wrecks your site’s usability.

Is your main navigation easily identifiable?

When it comes to navigation, don’t make your visitors guess! Ask friends, family members and other contacts whether or not they can immediately identify the main navigation elements of your site. If they can’t, your website visitors can’t either – meaning that a redesign is in order.

Are your links styled clearly and consistently?

Beyond your main navigation bars, internal and external links help your readers to move through your site and find the content they’re looking for. Make it clear how they should proceed by styling your links using a consistent set of colors and fonts.

Can visitors quickly identify important pages on your site?

Website visitors have notoriously short attention spans. If they can’t find what they’re looking for on your site in just a few moments, they’ll hit the “Back” button and head to your competitors’ websites. Minimize this by making key pages and key pieces of content immediately apparent through your site’s design.

Step #4 – Content
Once you’ve helped your visitors to move through your content, make it as easy as possible for them to digest the information they’ve found by optimizing your page text from a usability standpoint:
Is your content easily digestible?

Large blocks of text fail when it comes to usability. Instead, break up your content through the use of headings, sub-headings, bullet point lists, numbered lists and bolded text.

Are your critical pieces of information placed above the fold?

Don’t hide important information below the fold (that is, below the point at which a user must scroll his browser window to read more). Doing so frustrates users, leading to unnecessarily high bounce rates and low on-site engagement.

Does your page content utilize on-site SEO best practices?

Although SEO often gets a bad rap as being “scammy,” it can be used appropriately to benefit both users and the search engines. Make use of meta tags, keyword placements and internal links in accordance with current on-site SEO best practices for best results.

Though the thought of measuring all of these different website elements might seem overwhelming, don’t let this prevent you from taking action to improve your site’s usability. Addressing individual elements as your schedule permits will allow you to create a culture of continuous improvement that results in better website performance over time.