When developing marketing plans for clients, an overhaul of their company website often tops the list of recommended tactics.
Because so many websites do a poor job of
telling the company’s story
and, ultimately, driving leads and sales for their business.
And no, I’m not just talking about aesthetics. There are plenty of sites that look good, yet fail to hit the mark.
Why are they so bad?
I often see businesses make four critical website mistakes.
Common Website Mistakes
1. Bad navigation.
If visitors can’t quickly find information they need, they’ll move on to a site that can deliver.
For instance, image-based navigation looks really cool, but if I have to hunt around to determine which image takes me to the next page, I’ll move on in a heartbeat.
That’s why your navigation menu should be clearly labeled. In other words, call your “About” page just that instead of “The Inside Scoop.”
You can still be
creative with navigation, just don’t make it too hard on your visitors.
Include a search bar
and other navigational cues to make it easy. Traditional navigation works for a reason; people know where to look.
2. Poorly written copy.
Businesses pay a lot of attention to how their corporate website looks. But sadly, the copy gets left to the back burner.
I’ve seen all sorts of problems in this area:
- Empty pages or “coming soon” messages throughout.
- Pages laced with
corporate jargon and industry lingo.
- Too much French content (saying “we” too much).
- Unfocused copy that doesn’t succinctly explain what you do.
Your website needs to tell your story. It’s your one chance to show how you can solve your customer’s problems and answer their most pressing questions. It’s your opportunity to show why they should pick YOU.
If you don’t have the talent on staff to get this right, hire someone to help. After all, well-written copy is just as important as the design. Don’t skimp on this.
3. Zero personality.
A website is the digital storefront for a brand. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, inject some personality into your website and give me a reason to take a look.
Don’t try to mimic everyone else. You need to show your special sauce and what makes you different.
That means you should use images of your company and your team instead of stock photography or cartoons. I want to see your smiling faces and the people behind the business.
integrate video into your website content
by interviewing members of your team, offering how-to guides answer questions as
Facebook Question of the Week.
Dare to be different and give people a reason to connect with you and your brand. It will pay off.
4. No calls-to-action.
What do you want people to do when they visit your site?
If you sell products, you want them to buy. It you are a service-based business, you want them to contact you or sign up to receive your premium content,
such as an ebook, white paper, or other lead-nurturing content.
But most websites do a poor job of leading you down that path.
Each page of your site should have a call-to-action. Make it easy for the visitor to know exactly what you want them to do on that page.
This requires both
strong call-to-action copy
design that draws attention to the button
or design element.
You’re in business after all, so make sure the corporate website is helping you drive the results you’re after.
This list doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface of problems with company websites, so I’ll turn it over to you.
What are the biggest problems you see with business websites?
A version of this article first appeared as a guest post on Spin Sucks.
Image credit: Beckytekkie
4 replies on “4 Critical Website Mistakes That Kill Your Business”
I’ve been working on integrating creative calls to action on my site … thanks for sharing this! P.S. I’m going to be in Nashville later this month … I’d love to take you to coffee!
Glad to hear that, Kate! I think that’s what many businesses miss – strategic CTAs. So glad you’re thinking through that. I saw you launched a new brand and website – need to come over and drop you a line!
And yes, if you’re going to be in Nashville, we most definitely should get together. Shoot me an email and we’ll set it up!
So many potential clients want to start on design right out of the gate. As you say, copy is almost ignored. But I like to start any project with a focus on copy first. Start with a positioning statement and then work up from there. If you already have that, site design should start with a combo of wireframing and key copy points. Then and only then do you start on design. At least in my world 🙂
Craig – It sounds like our processes are similar! I develop key messaging first and then the design flows from that. I don’t know how on earth you design without copy in mind. But, so many do. And it shows.