A long, long time ago, it was enough for businesses to simply have a website. It didn’t necessarily have to be engaging, informative or easy-to-navigate. As long it existed and met the basic, fundamental definition of a website, then all was good.
But these days, websites must be far more than static, boring digital brochures. They need to be dynamic business assets that enhance brands and drive engagement. Yet if this is the case, why are so many business websites riddled with basic errors? Here’s a rundown of three major blunders that I see each day:
1. Bloated graphics, animations and other things that slow things down to a c-r-a-w-l.
It’s incredible how many business websites force visitors to wait…and wait…and wait things to loan. What businesses fail to appreciate here is that, unlike movie goers who are obliged to sit through a seemingly endless stream of “coming attractions,” website visitors are not a captive audience. They can and will bounce away. Research by Kissmetrics found that visitors expect a website to load within two seconds.
2. Making it harder to subscribe to a blog than it is to clear international customs.
Yes, we all know that data is the new oil, and businesses are eager to get their virtual hands on information about customers. But a surprising number of business websites make it needlessly difficult for customers to sign-up for their newsletter. For example, they want to know a customer’s phone number, location, industry, and sometimes even their salary range or budget size. Ironically, the 1 in 50 or so customers who are willing to endure this invasive sigh-up process, are almost certainly going to plug in false information (e.g. “Joe Smith, 123 Main Street, Up Yours, OK, 11111”). For an example of a business that gets this right, check out the blog run by Retail Management Solutions at http://www.rm-solutions.com/blog. All they ask for is a name and email address. It’s short, sweet, non-invasive and it gets the job done.
3. Not using responsive design.
The world isn’t just going mobile: it has gone mobile. No, this doesn’t mean that people are abandoning their desktops (and to a lesser extent, laptops). But it does mean that most users have a range of devices that they use to browse the web, including smartphones and tablets. Yet despite this new normal, some businesses continue to use non-responsive design templates and coding, which means that their website doesn’t display properly (or sometimes, at all) on mobile devices. They’re basically losing more than half of their web traffic, which is about as counter-productive as things get.
The Bottom Line
On today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, businesses have enough of a challenge keeping their competitors at bay. The last thing they need is to undermine their own success by making what in the tennis world are politely called “unforced errors”— but in the business world are bluntly called major mistakes. If your business is doing any of the above, then fix them ASAP. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your current and future customers!