Your website is an opportunity for you to make a good impression and help existing and potential customers decide whether or not they should do business with you. Even if your business is mostly offline (i.e. you don’t have an ecommerce site), you should still be very worried about the impression you are making online. The majority of consumers now use the web to research everything from the new restaurant that opened downtown to the accounting firm they are considering bringing business to next year. Even if their purchase or business transaction will happen in the “real” world, their decision is often made before you even get to meet your potential customer.
You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so avoid these common pitfalls at all costs!
1. No contact information
Yes, yes… you’re very busy. Putting your phone number and address on your website means that customers will be calling with their questions and requests and you have more important things to do. Right? Because that’s exactly what you’re telling a potential customer when you make it difficult or impossible for them to find contact information on your website.
In addition to telling customers who want to contact you that you don’t care to hear from them, you are also subtly sending a message that you may not be a legitimate business with an actual location and phone number. So even if someone isn’t actively looking for a phone number to call, the absence of a prominently displayed phone number can make them distrust you.
2. No logo or (gasp!) a clip-art logo
As a business owner, you would like to think that your products and services speak for themselves. Your quality, attention to detail, and solid reputation sell your products, not some silly combination of a symbol and fancy font treatment. We don’t live in a perfect world though, and any number of studies can tell you the importance an effective logo can have on your bottom line.
But forget about the lofty goal of having a logo to visually represent your company’s corporate identity and products. On a basic level, NOT having a logo on your website tells customers that you are a small or even untrustworthy business. Maybe you’re a start-up, or a fly-by-night? A clip-art logo tells potential customers that you are a small-time vendor, and they will value and pay for your products and services accordingly.
3. Audio on load
Many people browse the internet at work, or otherwise in public. If they click a link to your website and suddenly find themselves blasted with music unexpectedly, they are likely to quickly close the browser window or hit the back button to avoid glares and embarrassment. You’ve just lost a potential customer. No matter how cool your music is, or how well it fits your business, music on-load is a website traffic killer.
Not to mention the search engine ranking hit you take for slow page load speeds, issues with plug-ins, browser compatibility, and mobile device compatibility. All together, music on-load just isn’t worth it.
4. Bad links, misspellings, outdated info, and incorrect pricing
This should be a no-brainer, right. However, you’d be surprised how many businesses forget to run spell check on their website content, or are surprised when they realize a customer is quoting information on their website from two years ago. An ounce of prevention can go a long way toward making a good impression on current and potential customers. A simple QA process on all new content is a must. And make sure you take a look at your website at least every few months, to make sure everything is up-to-date.
Flash was a really beautiful and useful tool used on many websites to add visual interest and interaction. With the growth of mobile devices, and in particular Apple mobile devices like iPads, iPhones and iPods, Flash is no longer a good solution. These devices do not support Flash, so anything displayed on your website using that technology will not show up for mobile visitors. In the case of slideshows and display elements, the end result is unfortunate. However if your site relies on Flash for critical functions like navigation, applications, or search, your website is essentially useless for mobile visitors. Take a look at your website traffic stats to see just how many people that is for your site today. That number will only get larger rapidly.
Don’t let your website chase off customers. Kept up-to-date, your website can be a powerful tool for generating sales and leads for your business. Once you’ve addressed these larger no-nos, then it is time to take your site to the next level. You can find some more tips for improving your website on our blog, or call and speak with a NetSource website consultant today.