Top 10 Website Pitfalls to Avoid

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1 Top 10 Website Pitfalls to Avoid How exactly does a website fail? Well, to put it simply, if it does not reach or exceed the goals set for it it has failed. You didn t have goals set for your website? Then your website has most likely already failed. But don t get discouraged! There are plenty of ways to breath new life into a website that isn t achieving its goals and I m going to chat about the top 10 pitfalls you should look for in your current website, or you should consider when developing a new one. Start by ensuring you have goals and a strategy set for your website, and then work towards achieving those goals. Otherwise, your website is dead weight and not bringing value to your company and brand. What kind of goals should you have for your website? That depends on your company and needs. Many websites are built as purely informational sources, some are built to sell online, others are built to capture leads and still others are built to drive traffic and sell advertising. What is your website s purpose? Determine that and then set goals, a timeline and a strategy to achieve that goal. These Top 10 Website Pitfalls to Avoid will give you some things to watch out for. Read through them and take note where your website or your new website might be failing and get to work making your web presence an awesome one! Knowledge is power and you can t avoid these pitfalls if you don t know they exist! Here s a quick rundown of the ten: 1. Slow Load Times 2. Poor Presentation 3. No Call-To-Action 4. Boring or Lackluster Visuals 5. No Internet Marketing 6. No Conversion Methods 7. No Search-Ability 8. Outdated Features 9. Difficult Content Management Systems 10. Browser Incompatibilities

2 #1 Slow Load Times A very common problem with websites is slow load times. This can be accounted for by poor coding, attempting to load images with large file sizes into the page, processing large amounts of Javascript, embedding large Flash or video files, executing large amounts of database queries or many other reasons. There are many optimization methods than can be applied to solve this problem and if it is not solved it can mean the difference between a visitor staying on the site or hitting that back button out of frustration. #2 Poor Presentation If the information or resources on a website is poorly presented, the site can be more of a frustration to a user than it is useful. If your information, resources or interactivity is confusing or hard to find, the visitor will hit the back button before you have a second chance. Always ensure elements of the website are in places where the common user would expect them to be and that you clearly communicate the purpose of the website and how to proceed when they arrive. Many great websites are ruined by poor presentation and many users leave a website not realizing it was actually what they were looking for. #3 No Call-To-Action What is a call-to-action? A call to action is really most easily explained as an obvious communication to the user that they are to perform a specific action for a specific result. Many times this might mean Click Here For Your Download! or it may be Call today! or perhaps even Buy Now, Contact Us, Enter Your To Win!. There are many possible call to actions. One very common reason websites can fail is because they lack call to action. Without direction, visitors wander around a website and may or may not actually perform the intended action. Make sure you always give your visitors obvious call to actions to perform, guiding them to the most important areas of the website and urging them to take action.

3 #4 Boring or Lackluster Visuals One of the most critical elements in those first five seconds of a user visiting your website is earning that visual trust. Many websites lack an appealing design and tell visitors indirectly that they are not serious, not important and not well funded if they do not look good. With plenty of internet fraud going on, people want to feel like they can trust the website they just landed on. If you can t earn that trust, you can expect them to hit that dreaded back button. Ensure your website is not boring and does not utilize older styles or colors or low resolution images. Building that initial visual trust is extremely important! #5 No Internet Marketing Many companies have great websites with fantastic visual and call to actions, but they are not seeing the results they expected? Why not? Because there is simply no traffic going to the website! A website can only convert traffic that it receives. So how are people finding your website? Without internet marketing, your website would be like a billboard put out in the middle of the Sahara desert, wouldn t it? If you want traffic, you need to make sure you are doing some sort of effective internet marketing. Be it SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing or even marketing. #6 No Conversion Methods If your website is designed with the idea to sell or generate leads, but has no real method to do so you cannot expect it to meet its goals! Many business owners build a website, put up their information and expect the leads to flow in. When a visitor to the website goes from just a visitor to a lead or sale, this is called conversion. To convert our traffic, we need to ensure we have effective conversion methods in place. Most websites do not have any methods to do this. Common methods would be to have a contact form, perhaps an newsletter signup, a whitepaper download (In exchange for ), a product shopping cart, a registration form or even a quote request form. There are many ways to convert a visitor; make sure you have several setup.

4 #7 No Search-ability Another big reason websites fail to perform is they lack search-ability. This means search engines cannot read or index them. Common reasons for this are poor coding (many w3c errors), use of Flash for content or navigation, lack of links to pages containing important content, lack of content or textual content posted as images instead of HTML text. If search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing cannot read your website, they cannot list your website or if they do, you will not rank high. Should you wish to be found in search engines, ensure your searchability is top-notch or you may be wasting your SEO efforts or budget. #8 Outdated Features Outdated features can quickly lead to a failed website. In some cases it just shows the website s age and can lose the trust of the visitor, however in other cases this can mean the website does not work properly, displays improperly on modern browsers or, even worse, is open to hacking by not only malicious hackers, but automatic hijack scripts designed to redirect traffic from your website. Always make sure your website is up to date and any software updates are made. Websites left dormant or un-updated for long periods of time can become virus-ridden or even removed or destroyed altogether. Keep your website up to date. #9 Difficult Content Management Systems A content management system allows the website owner or administrator to quickly and easily make updates to the site content without needing to open up the code and work on the HTML. This is done using databases to store the data and common CMS systems for websites are Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and a host of others. If your content management system is difficult to use or you have not received the training to use it, your website can quickly become outdated or irrelevant to your visitors. Fresh and accurate content is key to a website s success and if you or your webmaster are unable to make changes to the website, it can become useless very quickly.

5 #10 Browser Incompatibilities One of the most common problems websites run into is browser incompatibilities. HTML is a language and web browsers interpret that language. The trick is many of these browsers interpret various HTML/CSS elements differently than other browsers. Having a website work and display properly in all major browsers can be quick difficult and is one of the key elements of a professionally built website. Even more difficult is having the website display properly on mobile browsers as well. Ensure your website displays properly on all the major browsers: Internet Explorer, Chrome, FireFox, Safari and even Netscape and Opera can be good to test your site on. Beyond those, check ipad, iphone and Android phones as they all display your website differently. Thanks! I certainly hope this gives you some insight into some of the common mistakes made on the web. Of course, there are dozens more I could go into, but these are the big ones we run into on a daily basis and ones that can make a huge difference if addressed. Be sure to visit our blog at rockpapersimple.com/blog for more great information and to learn what we are up to over here at Rock Paper Simple. Written by Joshua Adams at Rock Paper Simple Joshua lives and breathes web development and internet marketing and is passionate about not only providing quality service, but also educating fellow business owners about internet marketing and web presence.

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