Every business owner knows that high engagement with their website translates as happier customers and more sales. The more time people spend on your site and share it in their social media feeds, the more exposure your company gets and the faster it grows. It’s frustrating when engagement rates drop and you don’t understand why. No one likes to think that a potential customer takes the time to click through to their website and then immediately moves on to something else.

Although having the perfect combination of website features might seem elusive, it’s worth your time to evaluate everything going on with your company website from a customer’s perspective. This will help you uncover and improve problem areas so your website metrics make you smile again.

Nine Common Website Mistakes That Could Be Turning Customers Away

Routinely auditing your own business website or hiring a website design company to do it for you is the best way to ensure that the site remains inviting and easy to navigate for visitors. Here are some common issues that you may not even realize you have:

Confusing messaging

To avoid this common error, it’s essential that you know your website audience. For example, a medical website shouldn’t try to sell to doctors and patients at the same time. Don’t use language that’s over the head of your target audience, including industry jargon. Additionally, make sure that your logo and branding is consistent and descriptive throughout your website as well. People should understand within seconds what your company does and who it serves.

Confusing navigation

People have short attention spans as it is. They aren’t going to appreciate arriving at your business website and not understand within a few seconds how to find the information they need. Perhaps they can’t find the main menu or they do find it and it has so many dropdowns that they still can’t locate the category they need. Your website’s main menu isn’t the place to get fancy or overly technical. No one will know they should click on a small button and then slide their mouse just to get the menu to open. This is your online table of contents. If people can’t get past the first page without feeling frustrated, they’re going to find another website that’s easier for them to navigate.

Not mobile friendly

Did you know that more people conduct research on their smartphone than on a desktop or laptop computer? That means you must program your website to show up in appropriate dimensions on a very small screen. If a web searcher gets a jumbled message or your site doesn’t appear at all, he or she will assume your company is behind the times and not want to become a customer. It's also worth noting that more people follow through with an immediate phone call or visit to a business that they found on their mobile device.

Plain design

There’s something to be said for simplicity, but you also want your website to have some character. Too much white space gives the impression that your company doesn’t have much to say or worse, that it’s actively trying to hide information. Since neither inspires trust in potential customers, do your best to present the information in a clear manner while still differentiating your website from the millions of others out there.

Slow load times

In our instant gratification society, no one has time to wait even a minute or two for a page to load. If they can’t see the information within seconds of navigating to a page, there’s a good chance they will never visit the website again. Just like not having a mobile responsive site, slow load times send the impression of not being up-to-date with technology.

Too many calls to actions or no clear calls to actions

People understand that you want to sell them a product or service when they visit your business website. Reading about a great deal every few paragraphs or having to clear a pop-up that demands they complete an action isn’t going to win you any fans. At the other end of the extreme is a website that leaves readers with no idea what they’re supposed to do next. Telling visitors what you want them to do is fine, but once or twice should suffice. Wrapping up a page with a call to action is a generally accepted practice.

Too many colors

In your desire to stand out on the Internet, you may have chosen a variety of bold colors for your website. This can annoy some visitors while others may experience physical eye pain from the color combinations. It’s better to choose a few primary colors for your website design and stick with them on every page. It helps to build your branding and it won’t turn visitors away before they even have a chance to explore the site.

Too many photos

You may have heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is often true, but too many pictures can leave website visitors searching for real information they can read and process. One or two photos per page should be plenty as long as they match the information provided by the text. You may also want to avoid too much flash or animation since viewing them can cause seizure activity in some people.

Too much text

While too many photos can be a turn-off, so can not enough photos. The human brain and eyes quickly become overloaded, especially in our digital society. Looking at a page with all text and little white space or photos will not inspire people to keep reading. They need something to break it up to hold their interest.

Remember that good design increases engagement while poor design has the opposite impact. Please contact us for more information if you’re considering a website audit or redesign of some of its current elements.