Creating a website takes time, resources and money. While there are plenty of free alternatives out there, the truth is that most people will recognize anything that is less than a professional solution. If you have spent the money or learned the skills required to produce a professional website, it is clear that you want your website to be seen, and to be relevant to your targeted audience.
You want visitors to your website to enjoy it, to return to it, and to recommend it to others. Realizing what to do in order to make a good impression is fairly simple; imagine that you are a visitor to your site, and visualize what you would like to see. Since it can be difficult to come up with an objective point of view about your own website, an understanding of some of the most common mistakes that webmasters make might open some doors.
The alienation of visitors to your site is an involuntary result of poor choices, yet it can adversely affect your potential revenue. Which mistakes should you avoid? Certainly, there are more, but here are four common errors in judgement when it comes to websites.
1 – Not Listing Prices
No matter what the nature of your commercial status, pricing may be the first and most significant thing your users will pay attention to. This number is required in order for potential customers to appreciate what you have to offer.
When you fail to provide prices for the products that you are advertising on your site, people lose themselves and fail to understand your product line. This is because prices differentiate products, and allow potential customers to make comparisons. Even if you run an individualized service, such as gutter cleaning or car painting, at least come up with some packages or numbers.
Don’t assume that customers are going to call you for a price quote, or complete a price request form that you might have available on your website. Unless yours is the only company offering a similar product, your potential customers will simply go looking another site that gives prices.
If you were shopping in a grocery store, and there were no prices listed for the products on the shelves, would you fill your cart anyhow? Would you come back to that store? I wouldn’t, and that’s how I feel about websites that don’t list prices.
2 – Large Blocks of Text
Try to read a paragraph that consists of twenty lines, and then try to read the same text split into four paragraphs of five lines each. Which one is easier to read? Which one is more user friendly? Large blocks of text are boring by nature, and this is particularly true on a computer screen.
Long blocks of text will not be read, and they will drive your potential customers away. Feeling lost and annoyed, most people will either skip the information altogether or look for in from different source.
3 – Horizontal Scrolling
What do you do when you end up on a long page? You just keep rolling the small middle wheel on your mouse, scrolling downward. Overly long pages can be annoying to people, but most will put up with a certain amount of vertical scrolling because it is, at least, easy to do.
But how do you scroll left to right? You need to point to the bar on the bottom of the page and go, then do it back and forth if the text is too long. This is one of the most annoying things that you will come across on the Internet, so you can be sure that your users will hate it.
Not long ago, web designers would strive to ensure that pages could be read at normal resolutions, on average-sized screens, without requiring horizontal scrolling. But that is not good enough today.
Since so many people today will be viewing your site on very small screens, such as iPads or smart phones, websites should be created using responsive designs that will allow them to be easily viewed on these tiny screens, as well as on widescreen monitors.
4 – Questions You Want People to Ask
Far too often, websites include FAQ pages that are nothing more than additional advertising. Rather than listing questions that you would like visitors to ask you, why don’t you solicit actual questions from genuine users of your site?
Rather than listing answers to phony questions that would be more appropriate on an About page, answer questions that your visitors are likely to want to know.
Shouldn’t frequently asked questions be answered in your informational pages? If, after reading the other pages of your site, there are questions that your visitors are frequently left with, wouldn’t it be better to rewrite your informational pages so as to answer these questions?
The reason that visitors seldom bother to read FAQ pages, and are disappointed when they do, is that these are seldom the questions that they have. When visiting websites, I am frequently left with questions, yet I can’t remember the last time that I found one of these questions answered on a FAQ page.
Perhaps an IAQ would be more productive, answering questions that are infrequently — but actually — asked, and therefore not necessarily covered in other pages of the site.
If you are going to include a FAQ page, do some research first. Poll your visitors or ask friends to have a look at your site, so that you can know what questions people may actually have about your business or your product.
I have listed only four mistakes that webmasters make that can result in a website that stinks, as these are all too common. There are more, of course, but I hope that you may have learned something from the few that I have brought to light here. I am aware that this article has nothing to do with web directories, but hope that you will consider it for publication anyhow.