I used to create websites for people until more people started buying templates. Since I’m not really a designer and I don’t do fancy, I gave up that line of work some years ago. I still take care of my own sites though, and I wrote 3 articles about working through the problems of increasing my mobile speed.
tiring but necessary
This time around I’m updating an article I wrote in 2015 talking about websites and what NOT to have on them. Because I still see a lot of websites that do things most of us would find irritating I thought it was time to revisit the topic of what website owners need to look at when it comes to the user experience.
If you have a website, you know that it represents your business. You want it to look clean, if not professional. There are some people who will tell you that your website needs to look like everyone else’s standards of what a professional website should look like. If you look at my business website, or even this blog, you’ll notice they have their own unique look. Yet they’re clean and professional because they do what I want them to do, and I feel they represent my business just fine, even if they’re not pretty and fancy.
In that vein I’m going to give you 12 things you should check on your website or blog that could be giving your visitors a bad impression:
The first thing people see when they get to your site is whether or not it has a smooth look. Symmetry doesn’t mean that everything has to mirror itself; it means it has to be pleasant enough so that it doesn’t distract and confuse people so they want to immediately leave.
2. Standard fonts.
I’m not saying you have to use one of the standard fonts that everyone else says you should use. I mean that, other than your logo and maybe a few highlights here and there, you should use the same font on your entire page, and on all your pages. If you decide to have a second font, only have a second font; three or more fonts and your page looks like an amateur put it together.
Whatever your main page looks like, all your other pages should look the same. The only exception to this might be if you have a sales page for certain products that you want to be able to market independently from your main site, yet still link back to your site. That can be dicey, but I’ve done it when I was marketing a lot of affiliate products.
4. Selecting fonts that are readable.
I used to love wacky fonts, and I might be the last person on Earth who still loves comic sans. These days it’s rare that I’ll use something like that unless I’m creating advertising flyers.
On the web, other than for a logo, you want to make it easy for people to read your content. Lucida calligraphy might look great if you’re writing a letter to someone, but reading page after page with that as your main font will get on people’s nerves.
5. Have some rhyme and reason for where you place your images.
This is called a Humunculus
Not all images end up being the same size, but having multiple images on a site of different sizes that are all over the place won’t get it done. For instance, on this blog I have my code set so that the width is always the same, even if the height changes from time to time.
I’ve stated in other articles that some kind of image helps keep people’s attention, even if it’s just the logo at the top. If your website is more like a blog, it helps to have multiple images every 500 words or so. If you notice my articles, when I have long content I alternate sides. I don’t have a lot of images on my main business site, but it’s something I’ve considered over the years.
6. Don’t overdo highlights and bolding.
We get it; you make pizza for a living. You don’t need to highlight that word over and over on any of your pages. Your visitors will get the idea early on and you won’t look like you’re trying to beat people over the head with what you do.
Instead, if you create products like pizza, showing what different types of pizza might help sales, especially if your images look great. If you’re a consultant like I am, interlinking automatically makes words bold and you’re probably have that link people are used to looking for (which I don’t have because I’m a rebel lol). Otherwise, the occasional bold word isn’t a bad thing as long as it’s relevant to what you’re talking about.
7. Too many colors.
If you’re trying to make a point and it takes a lot of colors, like if you’re a graphic artist, that’s okay. Otherwise, having more than 3 colors on a page is very distracting. If you do it on other pages consistently, it looks like your kid has been picking your colors and you won’t look all that professional.
8. What do you do?
Believe it or not, I visit multiple pages and have to sometimes look around to figure out what businesses do. Don’t talk in platitudes or in industry-speak; you might think everyone knows what you’re saying but trust me, it’s not close to being true.
No one wants to read that your company specialized in changing paradigms and process management to help companies achieve better financial success. What the heck is that anyway? People want to know what you do, what your business is about. If you can’t tell them that in 25 words or less, you need to work on your message.
9. How can people contact you?
I know, you have a contact page with a script that people can put all their information in to reach you, but you don’t give anything away. I don’t even talk to any of these people, and I know I’m not alone.
If you look at my business website you see my phone number on every page, along with my PO Box, city where my business is located, my business phone and my business email, which opens up your email client and allows you to send me an email fairly easily. Stop making it hard for potential clients to reach you.
10. Did a song just start playing?
Every time you startle someone because you or someone else decided to have music, sounds, moving gifs or video welcome your guest you put off more than 50% of your market. I like music, but I don’t want music starting when I go to a website. I get really irked if there’s no way for me to turn it off. Don’t put that kind of thing on your main page unless it has a lot of content. Put it on an About, Services or Bio page instead.
11. Colors in general.
Are your colors overpowering? Does your background color clash with your font color? Is that computer generated snow I see suddenly falling on my screen? You think it’s cute but if it distracts your potential customers, which it will, people will quickly leave your site.
12. Does your content represent you and your business properly?
I used to have to write a lot of the content that ended up on a page I’d created for clients. That’s fine and dandy if you understand what your client does, but if you don’t you need them to step up and tell you what they do with specifics and ask if they’re being represented properly. If it’s your site, this is critical for your business success.
For instance, if you’re only looking to coach new women entrepreneurs in health care and the person who wrote your content has set you up as a mentor and coach for every man and woman on the planet, you’re not being represented well. You have one chance to make a first impression, and you want to get what you do in front of potential customers eyes as soon as possible. It’s your business; make sure it represents who you are.
That’s all I’ve got for now; I hope it’s been helpful.