This post exposes 27 of the most common mistakes people make when designing a website for their small business. These tips will help you turn your website into a lead generating machine.
1. Does a visitor understand what you do or sell in 5 seconds or less?
2. Does the website focus on “we”, “us”, and “our company” – or does it focus on the problem the product/service solves -- the visitors problems, fears, or desires.
Good websites use words like “you” and “your” instead of “I” and “we”.
3. Is the homepage focused on the benefits of the product/service, or does it waste the readers time with corporate history and vague company philosophy statements.
4. Does the website speak the reader’s language, or does it use fluffy corporate language such as “we strive” and “developing superior solutions”?
5. Does the website use long/complicated words when short/simple ones will do?
6. Does the website have paragraphs longer than four or five lines? Long paragraphs intimidate readers, and decrease the number of people who will read them.
7. Does the website have sentences over 20 words? Sentences should almost never be more than 20 words. Sentences over 30 words are unreadable. Never start a page with an overly long sentence.
8. How many sentences does the reader have to read to understand what you are selling?
If you answered even one this can be too many. The product you sell should be clear from the headings and imagery of your site – or your visitor might not bother to read the body copy.
If the answer is one, try to make it the headline or a self contained sentence in a noticeable font. Never assume the visitor will read the body copy to find out what you are selling.
9. Is there a compelling graphic on every page? Does the imagery convey the primary benefit the customer receives by reading your website or using your product/service?
10. Is the website cluttered? Does the website use white space effectively to separate key elements?
Most professional magazine ads leave plenty of white space to ensure the reader’s eyes are drawn to the most important part of the page, and to convey a clean professional look.
11. Does the website use professional quality images, or are low-resolution, ineffective, or confusing images used?
12. Is it clear within 3-4 sentences how this product/service is different or better than those offered by competitors.
13. Is it clear within a few sentences what the reader needs to do if they are interested in purchasing, or have you hidden that step at the very bottom of a long page?
A “Buy Now” tab that stays with the reader when they scroll up and down the page can be very effective.
14. Is all of the prominent real estate being used effectively, or are unnecessary graphics or text using up key positions?
15. Do images accompany each section of text to visually tell the reader what is being written about? Are those images vague or abstract, or do they accurately represent what is being talked about?
16. Does each page have an h1 tag containing the main keywords the page is competing for?
17. Is the text one big chunk, or do prominent subheads (in h2 tags) separate the page into logical sections? Do those subheads help the visitor understand the benefits of reading the body copy? If the reader scanned only the subheads would they be inclined to read more?
Your Most Desired Action
18. Does the website funnel qualified customers towards a Most Desired Action?
Your Most Desired Action is the action a visitor can take that results in them moving to the next stage of the buying cycle.
19. Are unnecessary paths that lead the visitor away from completing the Most Desired Action given too much prominence?
20. Is there an attractive, noticeable and prominent button above the fold (on the first monitor screen) that moves the reader closer to taking your Most Desired Action?
21. Does the website prominently promote the businesses Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other Social Media accounts?
Turning Browsers into Buyers
22. Is there a lead-capture on the homepage which captures the contact information of people who are ready to buy, or interested in moving to the next stage of the buying cycle? Or is the “Contact Us” page the only way a visitor can reveal themselves?
Good websites offer a variety of ways for anonymous browsers to reveal their contact information for the sales team to follow up on.
23. Is there a call to action designed to move visitors forward in the buying cycle?
Do the calls to action use graphics to jump off the page? Is it clear that those graphics are clickable links? If text is used, does it stand out enough?
24. Is the typography attractive and easy to read?
25. Is the font size forced to a very small size so that lots of text can fit on the first monitor screen?
26. Does the website use more than four colors prominently? Do they compliment each other well, or does the website lack a coherent color scheme?
27. Does the website use more than two or three font styles?