I recently saw a list of a few simple mistakes that even the best website designers make that can greatly affect a visitor’s experience. This brought back the memory of some of the mistakes I have seen (and made myself) that affected a website’s performance.
Here is my short list of website mistakes that can be most detrimental to a site's reputation and relevance on the web. Fix these and you’ll see an immediate improvement in traffic, leads and sales.
1. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
In this, the age of information, where a dictionary or thesaurus are as close as our cell phone, it is nearly inexcusable to have misspelled words in website content. Spelling and grammatical errors can easily reduce a visitor’s level of confidence in the content. It is worth the expense of a few minutes (and use of a spell and grammar checker) to use the tools available to us.
2. Lack of Mobile or Responsive Design
I have seen many beautifully design websites. The artistry and dedication to design shows through so well. That is until the site is viewed on a mobile browser. Often I see sites that are not designed for mobile browsing and everything is so small you can’t read it. I also see sites poorly designed to adapt to mobile so content becomes hard to find or disappears. Not designing for mobile browsers is like asking visitors on mobile devices not to return. Even worse, if the site is still developed entirely in a Flash platform, iOS devices from Apple so popular today will refuse to display anything from the site. I think it is safe to assume that a good percentage of site visitors will try to view our sites from mobile devices. Mobile design considerations are paramount to any site design.
3. Confusing Website Navigation
Most of us have heard the horrifying stories of getting directions that included “Just past the old Miller farm that burned down ten years ago”, or “I don’t think you can get there from here.” These are examples of bad navigation. One primary function of a website is to give the visitor the information they are looking for in a way that makes them want to return to the site. Why would anyone come back if the site’s directions are “you can’t get there from here?” In navigation, two of the biggest mistakes I see is not having intuitive navigation and not including a site-map available to the visitor.
4. Missing Social Share Links
We live in a social society. Facebook alone is boasting over one billion monthly users. This is an audience that should not be ignored. Most buying decisions include web search and social media review. Not including links to a site’s social media outlets can adversely affect the relevance and reputation of a site and its products.
5. Broken Pages
The biggest mistake I have seen, and made, was not testing content before or very soon after publishing. I have personally caused the dreaded “White Screen of Death” by too quickly publishing or correcting content in a response to other issues. Even bigger than producing a faulty page is not catching the error in testing, but finding out about the bad page from a site visitor. I have taken on the philosophy of test, publish, test then test again.
These are the biggest and most frequent issues I have dealt with and are the simplest to solve. These have a huge effect on a site’s reputation and relevant. These issues can make or break the reputation of a blog or a product being sold. Fix these and the sparks should fly!
Make any big WEB DEVELOPMENT mistakes recently? I'd like to hear your story in the comments below.
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