5 website mistakes businesses make and how to fix them

- December 8, 2017 4 MIN READ


Whether you’re using your website for ecommerce or to generate leads, it’s frustrating if it doesn’t convert. Here’s how to increase sales and clientele using your online presence.

According to an EY report, 94% of consumers research products and services online before buying. The lesson? If your website isn’t working, your business will suffer.

A business’ website is its 24/7 salesperson. If you’re not treating your website as a member of your sales and marketing team, you need to rethink your online strategy.

The most common mistakes are easily fixed if you know where to look.

Mistake 1: Visitors get lost

When a potential customer arrives at your website they need to know they are in the right place – it needs to be easy for them to find what they’re looking for. However, businesses often use structures and wording that make sense for internal purposes without realising it can alienate a visitor.

Bad navigation design turns potential customers off in seconds. Even if you do convert some of these visits to sales, a frustrated customer is unlikely to become a repeat customer.

This also goes for content. Close to 50% of customers who can’t find the information they’re after don’t buy. Your content needs to be easy to read, with the benefits clearly outlined. They need to be given a reason to linger more than a few seconds.

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The fix:

Test your website by having an outsider navigate through it.

Make sure your site is responsive, that is, will adjust according to whether the visitor is using a desktop, tablet or smartphone. Non-responsive sites can be disorienting.

Consider whether your pages have a logical flow. Can visitors quickly find out what you’re offering, attain details, then buy it?

Use clear, strong, easy-to-read fonts with bold headings and subheadings to attract visitors to the right information.

Use strong call-to-actions to steer customers to their objective.

Keep your search bar so visitors can use it to pinpoint specific things.

Mistake 2: Distracting your visitors

You’ve seen it before, the website that’s a collage of text boxes, forms, graphs, illustrations, photos in all the colours of the rainbow. Rein it in. Cluttering the page is a sensory overload for your visitors, which prevents your website from converting. The page design should be driven by what you need to convert, not what you want in terms of special effects and fancy page elements.

The fix:

Keep it simple, have one or two clear objectives for every page. Make sure your sales message and call-to-action are clear. Provide signposts to more information that visitors can access if they want to.

Avoid auto-play anything—visitors should decide if they want to engage or not.

If you do have ads/pop-ups, make sure they are relevant and beneficial – for example, offer a discount – and ensure they are secondary to content, that is, not the first or largest thing a visitor sees.

Mistake 3: Barriers to engagement

Many businesses leverage their content to build leads via a mailing list, but be aware that sometimes registration turns potential customers off. Profit comes from perceived value, so encourage visitors to subscribe by offering high value content, addressing their burning questions.

The fix:

Offer incentives for visitors to sign up, such as free samples, a discount or a giveaway. A ‘freemium’ model, where certain parts of your website are free to access but more valuable areas require registration/subscription, may work for you.

Mistake 4: Stagnation

Most visitors will not buy the first time they land on your site. In fact, 92% of visitors aren’t even looking to buy on their initial visit. If you don’t give them a reason to return, you lose the opportunity to convert them into customers.

The fix:

Provide fresh content, whether that’s a ‘news’ or ‘new products’ section, a blog containing valuable content such as case studies and advice, or a window displaying active social media feeds to keep them coming back.

Take advantage of the power of remarketing, like Facebook and Google retargeting, so you have multiple touchpoints to help convert potential customers.

Mistake 5: Not providing reassurance

A significant part of any online sale comes down to trust. If a visitor trusts that you’re a reputable enterprise that can deliver a product or service, they are more likely to do business with you. Elements such as guarantees and testimonials are therefore valuable assets.

Because 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, if you sell a similar product to a competitor and your product comes with reviews and your competitor’s does not, you are more likely to earn the sale. Customers are also likely to spend 31% more on businesses that have excellent reviews.

The fix:

Encourage online reviews. You may choose to incentivise the first few with a points system or with discounts for future purchases, but after a handful customers will do it organically.

If you provide a service, ask for testimonials. Unlike a transaction, it’s hard to capture a client’s experience, so prepare a guide on aspects that they can comment on, such as your manner, skills and knowledge, and service execution.

If you start with the premise that your website is a sales tool, not just pretty branding, then some of the most common impediments to sales and lead conversion will become clear. These problems all have solutions that result in your website becoming more effective and more profitable.

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