5 Common Website Mistakes Companies Make

You may have invested a lot of time and money into your company website, but you’re not seeing the results that you expect from it.

You might have a high bounce rate or low number of pages viewed per visit. Maybe you’re not getting a ton of leads or customers. You look through your website and you don’t know what’s wrong – you have plenty of information to convince your visitors to be customers, and it’s got a pretty good design.

Even though a website may look pretty and professional, there are really common, overlooked mistakes that many companies make that actually hurts their business. Here are the top ones that you can easily change to decrease your bounce rate and increase your leads and sales.

Website Mistake #1 – There Are Too Many Items in the Navigation Menu

This usually happens with bigger companies. They have bigger websites with a lot of pages, and they feel that all those pages are equally important.

It results in a really long navigation bar or sub-menus upon sub-menus. With too many options, users don’t really know what to do on your site. Choice overload causes no choice at all, and visitors leave.

Your main navigation menu is supposed to guide users to the most common or most important pages of your site.

I recommend between 3-5 items in your navigation bar, and no more with 7 items. With your sub-menus, don’t let them go more than one level deep – meaning have dropdowns under the main menu items – but no more dropdowns from that list. If you have more pages, link to them from within relevant pages, or have a secondary menu only shown on those pages.

Website Mistake #2 – There is a Slider on the Homepage

Also known as slideshows, carousels, or rotating banners, companies love to slap these at the top of their homepages.

They usually do this because they want to showcase a lot of stuff about their company, thinking it makes the website more exciting and modern, or can’t decide on the most important thing to say first.

I always discourage my web clients from having a slider in their web design.

Sliders slow down a website, so it takes longer to load, which ranks it lower in search engines. Tests show that people rarely look at all the slides and take less action on a slider.

So it ends up being a big waste of space and precious loading time.

Instead, have a single banner image. Place a headline that captivates your visitors, and a tagline that clearly says what problem you solve for them. Put a big button under it that tells them clearly what action you want them to take next.

Website Mistake #3 – There is Too Much Content On the Homepage

Many companies will try to write a ton content on their homepages and cram in all the products and features and images they have. It usually ends up looking really cluttered and disorganized.

When there is too much information for someone to take in quickly and understand, they bounce.

If you’re an online store, it makes sense to have a lot of your products on your homepage – people are going there to browse. But for most other businesses, there’s no need to share that much information.

People come to your website with different intentions and at different levels of interest. The goal of your homepage is to make it easy for them to identify what they’re looking for and dive deeper into your site.

Under your banner/hero image, layout a handful of options for people to take in rows or boxes. This can be signing up on an email address, looking at your products/services, visiting your blog, or learning more about a specific part of your company. Just make sure it’s clear and concise.

Website Mistake #4 – Companies Talk About Themselves Too Much

It’s really common for companies to talk about how great they are and how great their products and services are. There’s nothing wrong about that – if you have something great to offer, you should be proud to talk about.

But the problem is it doesn’t address the reason someone came to the website in the first place – to find a solution for their problem. They’ll gloss over all your content, and may even like your brand, but won’t connect with you on an emotional level.

Your business ultimately exists to solve people’s problems. People don’t visit company websites to learn about companies for fun. They go because they believe your company may have a solution to their problem. So that’s where you start.

In your copy and images, identify and empathize with your customer. Let them know you understand them. Let them know that they’re the right person and they’ve come to the right place. Convince them that you can take away their problem before you introduce them to your solution.

Website Mistake #5 – There Are No Clear Calls-to-Action

A call-to-action (or CTA) is simply a statement asking the visitor to do something, usually through a link. It could be buying a product, signing up for the newsletter, or going to another page for more information. Most companies will either present their website visitor with too many things to do or not ask their visitors to do anything at all.

Asking a visitor to register for an account AND buy something AND look at other products AND subscribe AND read the blog AND share with their friends AND follow social media AND watch a video AND… you get the idea.

On the other end of the spectrum, a company may just present a lot of information on a page without any CTA, or one that’s not easy to see. Some companies may be too passive with their CTA’s.

When you give your website visitors clear directions on what to do, you’re not being aggressive or pushy – you’re guiding them to the solution they’re looking for.

You should have a big CTA button above the fold, usually to get your web visitor to become a lead through entering their email address or a customer through purchasing or browsing your products and services. Place other prominent CTA’s below that, but I would not recommend more than 3-4 different CTA’s total on the home page. Each page of your website should also have a CTA – even your “About” page.

What All These Website Mistakes Have in Common

The common problem across all these website mistakes is a cluttered message and a lack of clear content.

Most companies think of their websites as magazines or encyclopedias where they throw up everything they have about their company. Instead, see your website as a tour guide. Show your website visitor only what is necessary and relevant at the moment, and lead them to what they should learn or do next.

Remember, the ultimate goal of your website is not to educate your visitors. It’s to help them become customers.

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