Holly and a client looking at a computer.

Creating a new website for your business is a big undertaking and one you only want to do every few years. In the same way decorating your house has a lot of preparation before you get to the final flourishes, so do websites and these cost both, time and money.

Therefore it’s not surprising that most website owners want the finished site to be something they absolutely love, which they feel they’ve had real value for money on and is a complete reflection of them, inside and out. On top of this, they’ll often want elements and features they’ve experienced on other websites, like animation, slide-ins, sign up forms/chatbots, etc.

This is all great and of course we can achieve whatever you want on a website. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that just because you can do something on a website, it doesn’t mean you should.

Here are 5 things people often have on their website which are killing their sales:

Animation

Animation can be very effective when used sparingly. A column dropping in here or an offer sliding in there can keep people entertained and add a bit of pizzazz to your website.

The problem is that when people choose to animate things on their website they tend to end up animating EVERYTHING on the site - containers magically appear, columns fly up, elements swoop in and as well as being a huge distraction from the actual content on the website, it can make viewers feel sick, slow down a website significantly and stop Google from choosing to display the website at all on mobile and tablet results.

Instead, go for stunning imagery, the occasional video and a well thought out user journey.

Not enough information

“People have short attention spans and they’re only getting shorter.”

“People make a decision on whether they like a website in the first 3 seconds.”

“Make sure all text is skimmable and in sections for people to easily read.”

If you’re a website owner the chances are that you’ve heard all of these and more than once. Whilst it’s true, peoples’ attention spans are getting shorter. It doesn’t mean you can skimp on your website copy. Yes, your text should be skimmable, but you should also have parts of the website where people can get all the information they need. For example a FAQs page, clear pricing models and bold, Calls to Action.

Made up words

Yes, we know, it’s brilliant when you think of just the right word for something. Even better that you’ve made up the word yourself so no-one else has heard of it yet.

This is also the problem - the word’s made up and no-one else has heard of it.

People buy from people based on a ‘know, like and trust’ basis. They get to know you by spending time on your website, following you on social, recommendations from friends etc. If they’re engaging with your content then the chances are they’re getting to like you and the more they like you, the more they’re going to trust you and, when they’re ready to buy, they’ll buy from you.

So here’s where the made up words come in. If you’re making up words then it’s hard to build up that trust. If you’re making up words you could also be making up other things, like the testimonials on your website or the sales you claim to have made. Trust me, making up words may sound fun but it won’t win your friends or make you sales.

Instead of making up words, look at the way you’re using words, it Amy be that your copy needs to be more engaging. A copywriter will create engaging website copy as well as dramatic headings and sub-headings to help hook the visitor in and keep them reading for longer.

Dodgy navigation

One of the things Google looks for in a website is strong navigation. This means that it should be clear, accessible, predictable and tell Google, as well as the user, where clicking on the link or menu item will take them.

This means having things clearly labelled. If you’re sending someone to a page of testimonials, call it testimonials. It may seem lovely to use words like ‘praise’ or ‘recommendations’ or ‘nice words’ but this will work against you with Google and people already on your website may not go to those pages because they don’t know what they’re about.

Google also looks for relevant links within pages, this can be having a ‘recent articles’ slider at the bottom of a blog, links to the services pages from the Home and about sections, links to the FAQs page from the services sections and, if you’re a member or accredited to any governing bodies, links to their website, from yours.

Images

Websites are a big commitment - for a really great website you need to invest in:

Branding

Copywriting

Photography

Website developer

It’s easy to think that some of these things are more important than the other - for example, you have to pay a developer to build the site but you can take images yourself. Or you pay a branding specialist but write the website copy yourself.

Whilst all 4 elements have equal value in a website, the framework of the design is built around the quality of the images and if these have been taken at home/are homemade photography, it’s going to devalue the overall effect of your website. There are photographers who do mini-photoshoots for a set price. If you’re really struggling to afford it then at the very least book a one-off headshot session with a photographer. These can start at as little as £40 and really will smarten up your website and social media presence.

Here are some other considerations when choosing images for your website:

Have clear, simple backgrounds.

Check the area for mess/cables/anything which will detract from the subject of the photo.

Have a variety of poses where you are both, in the centre and off-centre.

This is so we can add writing to the side of the image at times and allows margins for cropping & use in Social Media posts.

Get your brand colours in your photos.

Whether it’s via a coffee mug, cushion, pen, it all counts and will help your brand feel cohesive.

Have photos of your children on your website.

As well as it not being a point of connection for potential customers, it can also be a safeguarding issue.

Use photos of you working from your bed.

Whether you work from your bed or not, it comes across as unprofessional.

Use photos taken in your kitchen.

Unless you’re a cook/chef/selling kitchen equipment.

Just like houses needing decorating, websites will need frequent updating. It could be good to use a photographer who offers a subscription service so you can update your images regularly. Or a branding specialist who will create new graphics as you hone your offerings and services. Read through your website text periodically and ensure it still fits, sometimes you may not need a re-write but a power hour with a copywriter could really jazz it up and chatting to your website designer, at least annually to find out if there are any technical updates either with your website or Google will help you to keep on top of the trends, keep your website fresh and Google choosing it in search results.

If you’d like to talk about a new website for your small business or how to refresh an existing website, book a free, no-obligation call with me using the button below.