10 serious, yet common Website ErrorsIn June last year, we asked: Do you have the right website?
Almost a year later, it seems time enough to follow up with a short discussion of some signs that your website may not be quite as fantastic as you thought. Of course, no website is perfect, but sometimes it can be the smallest thing that sends a customer running for the hills.
Don your "I'm thinking like a customer" hat and get comfy, because here are..
Ten of the best website turn-offs!
While not exhaustive, this list will give you some idea as to the things that can drive potential customers away before you even know they are there! First lets pick out five technical points..
1. As easy as 1, 2, 3, 404 - A "404" is the techie term for the error which occurs when someone tries to visit a non-existent page within your website. It may be due to an incorrect link, an archived (or renamed) page - but whatever the reason you need to show them something useful to get them back on track. And you need to know what happened.
2. To www or not to www? - Decide if your site will exist on "www.yourdomain.com" or "yourdomain.com" and make sure it's set up right. Make sure the other alternative works with an appropriate redirect. Be warned that some hosting platforms are very unhelpful and may simply tell your customer: "Bad Request - Invalid Hostname"!
3. Past the SSL by date - An SSL certificate provides protection and peace of mind for the customer. But not if you let it expire. Don't. Few things are more off-putting than a great big flashing neon sign stating your SSL certificate has expired and your site could be fake, harmful or otherwise hazardous.
4. Flash! Arrrgh! - We're not going to launch an anti-Flash tirade (not today, anyway). Like all technology - it's great when used appropriately. A splash-screen intro to your site is however, not good. It's also bad if your whole site is flash - for a start, it won't work on all those fancy iPhones.
5. Muzak is for elevators - Please, DON'T Turn up the Radio. Ignoring potential legal pitfalls or prolonged wrangles over whether you need a license to play music on your website (unless it is royalty-free or you own the copyright, you generally do, by the way) - it slows down the experience and is frankly very annoying when some grainy tune starts banging out of the speakers unrequested.
And then lets dig straight in and think about what the customer thinks and feels of you!
6. Cheque ur Speeling n Grammer - Before you even worry about the quality of your content, you need to proof-read it. Check it in Word. Get someone else to read through it, anything, but please check there are no spelling mistakes, grammatical faux-pas - and for the love of all that is digital - drop the "text speak" in the recycle bin.
7. How not to DIY - If you can build your own website or construct one using one of the many "website in a box" packages, thats great. There are good reasons why you should employ a web developer, but if you do DIY, make sure the bottom of your page doesn't say something like "Build your own free website with MegaWidget!" - it's a dead giveaway that you've done the job on the cheap.
8. SEO, SEO, SEO! - Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, but we digress), SEO is not like The Candyman. Simply repeating your keywords a dozen times and cramming them into every possible orifice will not improve your search rankings. It's absolutely guaranteed to irritate and drive away customers, though.
9. Sorry, but how do I contact you? - Name. Rank. Serial Number. Customers often look at your website quickly so they can get in touch - after all it's lighter than the phone book. Oblige them.
10. And why should I bother? - Three simple words. "Call to Action" - contact us if you'd like to know more.
So there you have it - ten of our top website turn-offs. How about you? What really puts you off when you visit a site for the first time? (and don't say "burgundy and orange colour schemes" you cheeky little..!)
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