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What gets your website ‘Hate Points’ & How to fix those!

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Parvathy Nair,

In this advanced digital age, the most valuable marketing asset your company owns is your website. The better a first impression your website makes, the better it influence the purchase decision of the visitor. Have an annoyingly confusing, hard to navigate, slow loading site? Wave Adios to your prospective clients and see them march to your competition. It is as important as in a face-to-face or on-phone conversation that you have your integrity shine through your website. 

 

There are zillion reasons why a site visitor could possibly hate your website. Let’s take a look at some of the most outrageous yet seemingly innocent faux pas that could potentially cost you a sale (or more!). 


Forever Loading! / Long load times

As per studies conducted by kissMetrics, 47% of site visitors expect a site to load in 2 secs and 40% of them abandon the session if it takes longer than 3 seconds. Say Hello to abandonment, low conversion rates and Google pagerank penalty. 

 

 

If you want people to stick around your website, you have to put your site's load performance optimization at the top of your to-do list and check on it regularly. Often overlooked things like image size reduction, caching static images or getting a faster hosting package could be the key to reducing loading time.


Mobile What? / Not mobile responsive

 

Who likes to scroll side to side to read content or zoom in to read smaller fonts from your mobile device? That’s right. No one! Having to mention the importance of mobile responsive sites in 2017 may sound outdated, but there are still plentiful mobile non- responsive sites out there. It’s better late than never. Invest in updating sites for a user friendly mobile browsing experience. 


Who are you? / Private Domain Name Registration 

An increasing number of websites are now using products like WhoIsGuard to hide their domain information. This irks visitors and makes your site looks suspicious. Be open about the ownership. Use your business’ public contact information for domain registration and choose to keep those details public.

 

 

You should also have an apt privacy policy in place that interested site visitors could find and read with ease. The more trustworthy you get, the more sales you attract. 


Not safe in here! / No encryption

When one has to disclose his contact or credit information on an online site, he may prefer a secure, encrypted site over a totally unprotected one. By having a secure https connection, also known as SSL (secure socket layers) any information going to and from your server is automatically encrypted. This prevents hackers from sniffing out your visitors’ sensitive information as it passes through the internet.

 

 

Your visitors will feel safer on your site when they see the lock while accessing your website – knowing it’s protected by a security certificate. Plus, Google do take website security as a ‘Lightweight Ranking Signal’; a secure https connection could help with your page ranking as well. 


Oh, my eyes! / Sub standard content

Nothing kills the vibe like an unprofessionally designed website. Flashy letters, blinking/scrolling text, tasteless graphics, tiny fonts, low quality/generic stock images and what not - A website that looks ‘Made-in-the 90’s is not going to get a second chance from a site visitor for obvious reasons. Keep it simple, classy and timeless. Use personable pictures from your work space instead of cheesy stock images for a more fresh and approachable feel. 

 

 

The same goes with poorly written content. Quality, not quantity matters when it comes to website content. You only get the attention of a site visitor for mere seconds. Focus on content that hold that attention for longer. Invest in professional content writing that puts your business in the best light possible. Also try using charts, infographics or videos in moderation for those who have a lesser attention span. 


I’m lost! / Poor Navigation

This common design faux happens when a design chooses style over user experience. Will the trendiest design pattern that you just used on your website really help your usual band of site visitors? If the answer is No, you don’t necessarily need it. Keep it as simple or as complicated as your target audience is, After all, the bottom line is that any visitor not being able to navigate through your site will go back to Google search without a second thought. 

 

 

Follow the navigation best practices, like using descriptive labeling, prioritizing menu item order and making internal linking smoother. A bonus tip with internal linking is that many desktop users these days prefer links opening in a separate tab rather than loading in the same one, while mobile users want the opposite. Again, the key rule here is to identify your core audience and adjust to their taste. 


It goes pop pop! / Excessive pop ups

Pop Ups are like the telemarketers of web world. If used correctly they boost conversion, if not they annoy the life out of you. However useful and relevant they may be, they still interrupt a visitor's experience and tend to feel pushy and/or spammy. 

 

 

People do NOT like pop-ups; It’s not their first nature to like them. The one thing you can do is to have delayed pop-ups that only appear after the user has been on your site for a significant amount of time, or has scrolled to a certain break point within your content. If a user is interested enough to stick with your content, they are less likely to hit the back button when it comes to a pop-up ad. And try to step away from the trend of using ‘Guilt trip’ pop up messages. It may be working, but no one really likes them. 


Beating around the bush / Not having proper contact details

Increasing number of service companies are shying away from providing their contact details and relying on contact forms instead. Maybe they see that as a good measure to keep annoying telemarketers out. Know what else it is good at? - Keeping a few prospective clients away! 

 

 

Seeing a contact form in place of a ready-to-reach telephone number or email address is a definitive no-no when you have a target audience that demand your services on a quick call. Plus, no one has the time or patience to fill out a contact form and wait indefinitely for your reply. Think of it like this. If you had to choose out of two service providers, one who has a detailed contacts page complete with its top people profile AND another who has simply a contact form that you have to fill for them to get back to you, who would you chose? Choose wisely. 


Shhhh!! / Autoplaying content.

Have you ever been on a website expecting to read some text data and had a unexpected random loud video clip play in background? Then you had to scramble around to find the video on the page and click ‘Pause’. What an ordeal that was. Well, guess what. Other people too - some of them your site visitors - will find it downright outrageous and will resort to closing the tab altogether to escape. 

 

 

Take a lesson from Facebook and Twitter. Even though they autoplay videos on our feed, they are always on mute unless we choose to unmute them. Extend similar level of courtesy to your visitors by not forcing your multimedia content on them. Either let them choose when to play it or have it start with the sound muted.


“Recent two year old Article?”/ Abandoned Blog Page

Having an in-site blog is a great way to say you and your team are active on the website. But a blog section with a “Recent Article” written several years ago is going to do more bad than good. Keep your blog updated and share your wisdom to showcase your subject expertise to prospective clients. 

 

 

If your site has content that deserve shares, do have social media sharing buttons. It’s a definitive downer for a visitor to not have an option to share the awesome content they found. The more shares you get, the more traffic you will have. It is a true win-win situation.