It’s not completely unknown for companies to express disappointment at just how little business their web site is generating for them.
Let’s leave to one side the question of whether or not they are trying to sell a product or service that the marketplace wants. Of course, if that is debatable then nothing else really matters!
Let’s also assume that the web site is being relatively highly ranked by the search engines and is actually visible to people looking for such products and services.
What else could be putting off potential customers?
Look and feel
It’s amazing how many customers take one look at a homepage and then simply click to go off somewhere else.
It’s often said that you have just a few seconds to communicate what your business is about and to persuade someone to go past your landing page to look in more detail are what you are offering. So, it should go without saying that poorly-designed homepages are a major factor in some companies being unable to make their presence felt on the net.
Now there are some web designers who will tell you that this is all “in the eye of the beholder” and that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison“. Don’t believe it!
Here is a list of common homepage failings that most professionals would agree are a major turn-off to newly arrived potential customers –
- Too much text on the first page
- Pages that do nothing other than say “click here to enter“
- Text that contains major spelling or other grammatical errors at the very outset
- Dozens of advertisements and links to other sites – i.e. zero value-add advertising
- Garish clashing colours
- Pages that are very slow-loading due to excessive use of embedded images, graphics and videos
- Endless home pages that just scroll down and down with thousands of words and images
Do any of these things on your home page and you can expect to see very large numbers of visitors never going any deeper into your site.
Ease of use and processes
The moment a potential customer goes past your home page and further into your site is a major milestone.
That can be completely undermined the instant they discover something on your site that isn’t working properly or which doesn’t do what it says it will. Many potential customers will simply see this as a sign of incompetence or negligence and will immediately go elsewhere.
Variations on this theme include things such as –
- Not providing key information when it is required
- Making navigation around your site difficult and confusing by failing to provide appropriate information (remember, visitors are not psychic)
- Offering to do or sell things which you can’t actually deliver on and which you then have to say can’t be done at the checkout or equivalent
- Slow responses due to insufficient web hosting resources or downright bugs
The key point to remember is that your website is inextricably associated with your brand. If it doesn’t look and feel professional or even worse, doesn’t perform professionally, you can be sure that you won’t see potential customers for the dust they’ll kick up as they ran into the distance to one of your competitors.
So, when you are putting the website up, don’t skimp on professional design and if necessary, be prepared to pay someone to do it for you properly.