What Makes Someone Leave a Website?
Your online presence today can make or break your business’s success. We’ve discussed 6 elements that make a great website and simple things your website could be missing, but what about the turn-offs? What turns visitors away from your website? What causes that high bounce rate? If you’re going to have a website (which you need to!), it needs to be done correctly, so let’s talk about what you need to avoid.
Your website should be easy to navigate. If you have a link in your navigation that says “Happiness” but is linked to your testimonials, do you really think users are going to figure that out? Make it simple for readers to find what they are looking for, and they’ll be happy.
Avoid putting music or videos that play automatically on your website. Videos are a great feature on a website, just make sure your site visitors have to actually click the play button for the video to start. Unless you’re a singer and need to show off your skills, you should avoid music altogether. Everyone’s idea of what sounds great is different, so if you’re in love with a particular song, don’t be tempted to add it to your website. Chances are high that many people won’t love it too.
Flash has become a thing of the past. Websites that require flash are incredibly outdated and will often be bypassed. So many people search the internet on their smartphones today, but did you know that your flash website won’t work on Apple devices such as iPhones or iPads? That’s a huge percentage of internet surfers, so take that into consideration when deciding on your website.
Websites with bad design are one of the biggest turn-offs to your visitors. You need to find a happy medium for your website design between boring and too busy. Make sure your site isn’t outdated, and one of the most important tips thus far- make sure you text is not hard to read! Always, always, always opt for dark text on a light background unless you have a great design plan with light text and are 100% positive it’s easily legible.
Is your website designed for an optimal viewing experience on all devices? Responsive design is not only a huge design trend, but Google also recently announced that mobile-friendly websites will automatically rank higher in search engine rankings. Why not please both your prospective clients and your search engine optimization? Read my previous post on responsive design and why you should consider it.
A quick pop up to join your newsletter on your home page might be ok if it’s designed and worded properly, but avoid any additional pop ups on your website. Ads are very irritating to viewers, so if you must have them, make sure they’re out of the way and designed beautifully. The last issue is live chat. Unless you’re a Fortune 500 company that needs additional support, avoid having this pop up. If you must opt for Live Chat, create a visible link/button to begin a chat, but don’t create an annoying pop up that appears every time a new page loads. This is very popular on car dealership websites and is incredibly irritating. If someone wants to contact you, they’ll find their own way to your information. Don’t ever force anything on your site viewers.
One of the biggest mistakes in web design is a registration requirement. You might have a great website with a beautiful design and amazing content, but what good will that do you if you’re blocking that from site visitors? Many people may come across your site via a search for a particular article; don’t make every single visitor register on your site just to be able to view your content. A website is nothing without user-friendliness.
Your content can make or break your website. Ask yourself if your information is….outdated? useful? accurate? informative? spell checked? free of typos and grammatical errors? If any of the prior things are an issue, fix them!
Slow loading websites wear thin on readers’ patience. Many things can be detrimental to your website’s loading time…large files, poorly placed scripts in development, incorrectly formatted images, bad web hosting providers, and flash. Make any necessary tweaks you need to and make sure your website is loading quickly on every page.
Two big issues with functionality are pagiantion and interstitials. Pagination is when content that could easily be placed on one page is separated into multiple pages. An example would be a list of “10 Summer Hotspots” that could be placed in a list format on one page, but instead it is broken down into 11 individual pages- an intro page and a separate page for each list item. Interstitials are like an intermission between pages. Forbes.com is a great example. You click on an article, and instead of being taken directly to that article, you land on a page with a big ad with a link above that says “continue to article”. Remember, user-friendliness! That is the most important concept to keep in mind throughout the entire design and development process. Without user-friendliness, your site will be a dud.