Ten Ways to Improve Your Website

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It doesn’t take much to turn away visitors from your website. Here are 10 reasons people leave websites with a bad impression of your business.

1. Site Takes Too Long to Load

Let’s face, we live in an instant gratification world. If your site takes over three seconds to load then chances are you’re losing visitors. Speed up your site by re-sizing large images, don’t use more than three slides in your slider, cut down on the number of images on your page, make sure your CSS and java script are compressed and cut down on any add-ons that load in the background (music, video, flash, etc.).

2. Complex URLs – Too Long or Nonsensical

No one is going to visit your site if they have to remember yoursite.com/products/leather-products/sales/labor-day. Or worse yet, a nonsensical URL such as yoursite.com/category/314=$. Take control of your URLs (often referred to as permalinks) and keep them simple, like yousite.com/labordaysale, yoursite.com/leather/tanning.

3. It Looks Horrible on a Phone

Have you ever been to a website that has a three column layout on your phone? Pretty hard to navigate, eh? A responsive designed website will stack your contact into one, two or three columns depending on the device your site is being viewed with. This way your site looks good on any device.

4. Poor Navigation and Stranded Pages

I hate this one the most. Ever been to a site only to return later and not find the page you were on? It’s likely not your memory at fault… it’s more likely the navigation is not well structured. Inconsistent navigation, links that lead to pages not in the menu structure (stranded pages) and sidebars that disappear from page to page can leave your visitors lost and frustrated.

5. Your site is Too “Salesy”

People visit websites to get information, not to be told how great you are and that you’re number one. Lay off the cheesy sales talk and give visitors useful information they can use. You want to convert a sale? Then solve a common problem and earn your visitors trust.

6. Your Contact Form is Too Long

Name, email and message – that’s it. People don’t fill out long forms. Keep it simple and to the point. You don’t need their phone number, zip code, fax info, etc.

7. Long Sentences and Long Pages

Get to the point quick. This isn’t Moby Dick. People want information at their finger-tips – literally. So get rid of the fluff. Make your paragraphs short. Use bullet points. And divide your content up with headings for each section.

8. Your Pages are Too Cluttered

Trying to put everything on one page is a recipe for disaster. Your newsletter signup, your Facebook “like” box, you latest blog post, your current sale item, the link to your contact page and the mini-slide show of your latest event don’t all belong on the sidebar of every page. Keep it clean and focused. An overwhelming page makes people feel… well, overwhelmed

9. Combining Topics

Yup, I have seen this a lot. Actually couldn’t talk a client out of doing this. What you may ask? How about a tourism website that also features their travel photography, a blog about their children and a resume about their biology degree? And to top it off… the url was the person’s name – not their business. It was four sites in one. Needless to say… I passed on the job.

10. This ain’t Field of Dreams

OK. So this one isn’t a reason people will leave your site. This is why people never find your site. You can’t just set it and forget it. If you build it, they won’t come. You have to connect to Google. You need a sitemap. And you should optimize your page with On Page SEO. It also doesn’t hurt to do a little marketing.

Are you still with me?

OK, good. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to lose a visitor to your website. But with a little effort, focused in the right areas, you can keep your visitors on your page and coming back for more.

Need help? Learn more about our web design for Alaskans.