Today, most customers and clients expect the businesses they deal with to have a website, and in fact most small businesses need an online presence as much as they need a phone, mail box, or email address. Used effectively, a website can boost your business credibility, improve customer service, increase the effectiveness of your advertising and generate leads. But simply having a website isn’t enough. To attract and retain visitors it must be well designed, easy to navigate, up-to-date, and clearly provide the information or services that users are likely to want. A poorly designed and managed website may actually be driving potential customers away. To help you determine if your business website is in need of a new year makeover, below is our list of the top 10 website turn-offs (in no particular order)….
10. Lack of clear contact information
You’d be surprised how many site visitors just want a phone number to call or an email address to contact. They may have additional questions about your product/service or want to make a booking/purchase. Contact information needs to be easy to find. Users are quickly frustrated if they cant find it, and will quickly leave your website. Make sure you also provide a few different contact options (ie. phone, email, web contact form, physical store/office).
9. Slow load times
Graphics that aren’t optimised for the web and complex web animations can cause websites to load slowly which is frustrating for users. Slow load times are particularly problematic for users who access the internet using a dial-up connection. While broadband use is becoming more common, in 2007-08, 17% of Australian internet users were still accessing the internet using a dial-up connection.
8. Having a horizontal scrollbars
Horizontal scrollbars are annoying for users as they make scanning your website difficult and require extra mouse clicks/movement to view your entire webpage content. Websites that are designed using appropriate screen resolutions will avoid the need for horizontal scrollbars.
7. Using “splash” pages (or false home pages) that require an additional click to enter the site
Users want information about your product/service and they want it NOW. Splash pages are usually totally unnecessary – all they do is frustrate the user by adding an additional page and mouse click before they can get to the information they really want.
6. Requiring the use of plug-ins
A plug-In is a piece of software that works in conjunction with a browser to display specific material (eg. animation, sound etc). If your visitor doesn’t have the required plug-in they will need to download and install it before they can continue using your site. Often people are unwilling to or do not know how to do this.
5. Broken links
This is just plain frustrating for users. They are expecting certain information to appear when they click on a link on your site and will be disappointed when instead they get a HTTP 404 Not Found error message.
4. Poor graphic design
The design of your site should be easy on the eyes. This means that text is easy to read (choose appropriate fonts and text sizes), images should be appropriate sizes, colour choice appealing, and layout consistent between pages.
3. Music/sounds that play automatically
Users like to be in control of their web browsing experience. Sites that automatically play sounds or music remove that control and can annoy web visitors. The music on your site is unlikely to be to the taste of all visitors. In addition, if the user is viewing your site in a public place (library, internet cafe) or at work, they may be embarrassed by the sudden sounds and elect to exit from your site immediately.
2. Out-of-date content
There’s not much point in having information on your website if its obviously out-of-date. Users see little value in information that they suspect is out-of-date or no longer relevant. Make sure price lists and contact information are always up-to-date. Consider integrating a blog onto your website as this is a great way to keep users updated with latest news and offers, and it keeps your content fresh (which search engines love).
1. Grammatical and spelling errors
Grammatical and spelling errors demonstrate a level of carelessness, which may leave users wondering if you are careless in other aspects of your business. Have a friend/colleague/family proof-read your website content, and consider signing up for a spellr.us account.