Make your site work for you as hard as it possibly can

Common website mistakes

Your website can do an incredible amount of work for you, but you really have to enable it to do so. There are a few common mistakes we often see around the web, and it’s worth going through these to make sure you’re not making the same mistakes. Make your site work as hard it possibly can, a website can be a big investment, but the return is worth it if you have done it right.

Here are a few mistakes you want to avoid:

Responsiveness

The importance of mobile traffic is often overlooked. The average time spent browsing on a smartphone in the UK is a whopping 66 hours per month per user, and almost 50% of all traffic come from smartphones. Most of the time this is through popular social media websites, however a lot of businesses get a large amount of their traffic through these sites.

You can check here what Google sees: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Hold on, what is a responsive website?

A responsive website simply means that the website adapts to the screen size it is viewed on. If you’re on a desktop, you can test this by making your browser smaller, and you will see the size and website adjusts to it right there on the spot. No pinching required on smartphones or tablets. Not only is this much easier and friendlier for your mobile users, but Google actually punishes websites that are not responsive. If you care for your search rank position, this is an absolute must have.

HTTPS (SSL)

Common website mistakes - HTTPS/SSL

This is another point Google recently started punishing for. Google is actively pushing for the web to be secure. You know a website has an SSL certificate active if the URL has ‘HTTPS://' as opposed to ‘HTTP://' included, and the green lock is proudly displayed on the left hand side. Some sites do load successfully through HTTPS, but do not have a green lock displayed. This does not mean it is secure and there will likely be certain warnings that prevent it from loading correctly, such as internal or external resources (think images, font files etc) that are not loaded over HTTPS itself. All resources included must also be loaded over HTTPS.

Typically SSL was used on eCommerce sites and other applications, for secure payment forms and login areas. Now it is becoming the norm and is something we would suggest you get sorted sooner rather than later. SSL certificates have to be purchased and connected to your domain. There are other services such as Cloudflare that are free and allow you to enable SSL on your domain.

Buried contact information

If your business depends on it, make sure you display your contact information clearly so it is easily accessible. Place it in your header or footer (not only on your contact page) and make sure it is up to date. Ideally, it should not take a visitor more than 5 seconds to find your contact information.

Readability

A crucial element in web design is a good interface design which grabs attention and make it easy for users to grasp the information that is displayed. Font styles, sizes, colour-schemes, and good use of whitespace are all important aspects for readability and user experience. Don’t make it difficult for your visitors to absorb the information, even if you think it may look better.

Unnecessary functions

Too often do we see a search function that doesn’t search well, or where it is just not needed. Don’t fill up your website with functions that are unnecessary to your ultimate goal. So find out what your website's ultimate goal is, and optimise that process. Remove anything that doesn’t further that goal.

Bad navigation

This can include crowded elements and vague direction. Make it as easy as possible for people to navigate through your site as nobody wants to dig around for information that should be easily found. Ensure every link has a clear purpose, is easily digestible and actually works. We don’t want any broken links. Don’t have too many links listed that do not make sense; we get it, pages are good for SEO, but if your user has trouble getting to the right page, you might have to consider making some adjustments.

Background music

Most users just don’t like music playing in the background, it might be your style and you might believe it fits the mood, but efficiency and making sure you don’t possibly annoy any user is critical to ensure you don't push any potential customers away. If you absolutely want it, or it’s necessary to your application, make sure to includes user controls such as muting and volume controls that are easy to access at first glance.

Call to actions

One of the most important features of any website are call to actions (CTA). A call to action is an image or text that is strategically designed and causes the user to quite literally take an action. This CTA could be anything. You may want them to phone your business directly, sign up to your newsletter, or perhaps download an ebook. A CTA is important to get right. Make sure it’s properly designed, has effective copy, the right position, and finally, a clear proposition.

Marketing & SEO

So, you have a beautiful website that does exactly what you need it to do. Now how do you actually get the visitors? Just because you have a website does not mean that it will automatically be listed high in the search engines, or that you will get the users that you expect. SEO is something that has to be done, and this is typically seen as two parts.

On-site SEO

This means everything that is on your website, such as images with ‘alt’ tags, the right META titles and descriptions, social media tags and integrations, keyword focused content, and the URL’s themselves. Like a physical store that might have the footfall (in this case search engines), you still need to get users enticed enough to go inside, so make sure your titles and descriptions are attractive.

Off-site SEO

This can be seen as more general website marketing like active on-going blog posts, link building, social media, reviews on other sites, pay per click (PPC) and other types of advertising. This is extremely important, if not more important than On-site SEO itself, although they need each other desperately. The more websites and places that link directly to your website, the higher Google scores and ranks you.

Optimisations & monitoring

Common website mistakes - Analytics

Gathering data is key, and making use of it even more so. It’s one thing to gather everything that can be gathered, but you have to monitor this and optimise your website based on that data, otherwise what is the point to getting all of that gathered data? Google Analytics is a great tool here, and can give you almost everything you need. With Google Analytics, you can do things such as monitor your bounce rate (how many people leave your site from their first page visit), where they’re from, what device they’re using and more. But you can go deeper, for example you can add ‘Events’ and track specific buttons or actions, setup campaigns to help you monitor Adwords, or create ‘Experiments’ for effective A/B testing. A/B testing is when you want some visitors to land on a different page than other users, so you can try and gain an understanding of which page has better results than the other and therefore better performing.

There are other tools you can use, such as Heatmapping tools (Crazy Egg / Hotjar) so you can actually see where on the page and what areas your visitors are falling off or what attracts them. Or Facebook Pixel, this tracks through a ‘Cookie’ that will track visitors so you can directly advertise to them later on Facebook.

Also make sure your website has a decent loading speed, minimize your CSS and JS files, and make your images as small in file-size as they can possibly be.

How can we help?

We can help and advise on any of the above discussed items, do a thorough website review and make sure you’re not missing anything. It can be difficult when you have looked at your website so many times.

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