Top Ten Mistakes made by Websites
Source: Enflexion (www.enflexion.com.au)
When a website is first designed it may have been approved by everyone in your organisation and look great! But it still fails to meet the objectives set, or even worse there were never any real objectives set for the website to achieve! A website should be a living and breathing medium that grows and adapts with your business. It should grow with you and your customers as they gain more experience working with your organisation and add value.
1) The website takes too long to load
If your website takes too long to load the average user will click stop before your page has fully loaded and visit another site. The most common mistake a website can make is having too many graphics on the homepage of the site which slows down the loading speed. The average user in Australia uses a dial up Internet connection meaning a homepage should load on their connection in a maximum of 10 seconds.
2) The navigation is inconsistent and not intuitive
If you have ever been to a website where the navigation changes from page to page, or sometimes even disappears entirely, can you remember how annoying that was? Navigation and the ability to find your way through a complex site is extremely important and the second biggest mistake made by many websites. To make a user's experience when visiting your website, the navigation techniques must be used consistently. They should always be in the same place and not disappear or change significantly from page to page as this significantly confuses the average user.
3) The site has broken links
There is nothing worse than visiting a website with broken links or images and there is no excuse either. Even if the broken link is to an external website, if you link to something on your site it is your responsibility to ensure that the link works. Broken links make a company look unprofessional and the average user may question whether the service or product you are selling is also broken.
4) Trying to be too many things to too many people
An extremely common mistake that websites make is a lack of focus where the site tries to be too many things to too many people. If you are an organisation selling electrical components to both consumers and electricians, mixing the two types of user tasks on a site is a sure fire recipe for disaster. A good website understands the types of users it attracts and what they want to do on the website. It then groups together the similar user actions and information in a logical manner!
5) There are no contact details displayed
A common reason for your current or potential clients to visit your website is to find your contact details. Sites that don't include full contact details leave users wondering what the organisation has to hide with no way to contact them. When displaying contact details, always include a physical address for contact as well as a mailing address. If a user is going to trust you above another organisation, they need to know that you are real. The most common way for increasing the comfort level for users online is to have full and comprehensive contact details.
6) The same or work correctly on all browsers and screens
Your website might look great on your brand new top of the line computer and 17" monitor, but does it look correct on a five year old computer with a small monitor? Making a website backwards compatible is extremely important especially as the average Internet user has a computer which is over three years old!
7) The so "cool" that the user cant use it
When graphic designers go mad they create visually amazing but functionally poor websites. These sites look quite amazing but when you try and find the information you are looking for it is impossible to find anything. An example of this was a short lived online grocer, who used fruit instead of words for their main menu. No one knew that clicking on the banana would display the contact details and clicking on the apple allowed you to search for products.
8) The site content is never updated and totally out of date
There is nothing worse than going to a website and searching for information on a product only to discover that the site has not been updated since it was published three years ago. This tells the user that this company doesn't care about their online users or their needs.
9) Not encouraging the users to action
Have a look at a few websites and try to see what the user is encouraged to do. Is it to call the organisation, to order a product or read an article? A website 'just like any other marketing medium' must encourage the user to actually do something such as compare the price and features of their widget, or call a consultant for a quote.
10) Splash Pages
A splash page is a page which usually has a multimedia presentation or an image with some sort of "enter here" link or text. Splash pages have no place on a professional website unless the site is a gateway to multiple mini sites. Research shows that people either skip straight through them or move straight onto a new page.