The competition is tough out there. With billions of websites on the internet, it’s hard to compete for visitor traffic. Sure, you can have the latest and greatest bling on your screen, but if your site isn’t user-friendly it’s basically useless. Furthermore, there are a few elements we in the biz consider “cringeworthy” when it comes to website design. These are particular features we see on websites that make your visitors wave “buh-bye” and head somewhere else. Take note as we count down the top 5 cringeworthy elements that make visitors run from your site.
Element 1: The Disorganized Homepage
Your homepage is the first thing people see when they come to your site. Just as you wouldn’t throw all of your dirty laundry, toys, garbage, and random junk mail into the foyer of your home, you don’t want to “junk up” your homepage. This is one of those cases where less is more. Keep your homepage simple and easy to use. A clean, crisp design with easy to read font and bold images will go a long way with your visitors and keep them coming back. You want your homepage to be welcoming so your visitors feel comfortable using your site and want to stay longer. Keep things like sliders and GIFs to a minimum, as they tend to slow down your page loading speed.
Element 2: Tumultuous Tabs and Broken Links
Part of keeping your website user-friendly is making sure that things are easy to find. Drop-down menus and tabs are a great way to organize the information on your website so your visitors can easily find what they are looking for and don’t just get frustrated and leave. Be sure your information is categorized and clearly labeled. Also, check to make sure that your links are all working properly. A broken link is not only frustrating, it’s almost like you’re lying to your visitors. The link suggests “Click here and find exactly what you need” but what it tells the visitor is “This is not a reliable source of information.” Don’t be that guy.
Element 3: The Social Media Search
One of the most important concepts to keep in mind is that every single one of your visitors is different. You, as a business owner, take on the burden of having to cater to all of them if you want the highest amount of visibility possible. This means you have to have a presence everywhere, not just on your website. Social media is a fantastic way to introduce people to your brand in a way that is fun and engaging. Some people love Pinterest and can’t stand Facebook. Others can easily Tweet the day away but think Instagram is a dating website for grandmas. When people get on social media, they discuss brands, products and services they like and they share these opinions, links, and pages with others. Making your social media buttons clearly visible on your website can help visitors find you on social media and engage others with your brand. Don’t hide your social media buttons in footers or side menus. Give them prominent placement on every page of your website!
Element 4: Lack of Calls-to-Action
This is the truth: people will generally do what you tell them. Case in point; if you end a blog post with “Let me know what you think. Leave a message in the comments below and let’s continue the conversation.” you will get more post engagement than had you simply typed “The End”. A simple call-to-action lets people know that you value their opinion; that they are important to you and that you care about what they have to say. Everyone wants to feel included. You can also use simple calls-to-action like “Click Here” or “Enter to Win”. Each of these directly engages the reader and challenges them to do something, to take action, to make things happen. Content that is overly salesy or boring is a turn-off.
Element 5: Boring and Unimaginative Images
One of the worst things you can do is jump on the “popular stock photo” bandwagon and use an image that you’ve seen a thousand times on other websites or even throughout social media. Pretty much everyone uses stock photos at some point in time, and that’s totally fine, but make sure you are choosing original images that really speak to your readers and that are relevant to the content you are creating. Bland, boring images speak to bland, boring content and readers simply will not waste their time on your site.
Keep these 5 key elements in mind when designing or redesigning your website and you will have happy, engaged visitors and a website people will revisit and share with others.