You know your brand’s website is your potential clients’ first port-of-call – and nothing will send them scurrying off faster than a terrible online experience.
Is your site up to scratch? And how do you know if it’s time for an overhaul? Well, there are a few red flags…
- It was designed for desktop
These days, most folks have snazzy smartphones faster than their computers – and mobile versus desktop web traffic stats show it.
According to Statcounter, phone and tablet web use was at a collective 56,74% globally in December 2017, while desktop use trailed behind at 43,26%.
If your site isn’t responsive, you’re essentially turning away more than half of your prospective customers or users. People are used to a seamless experience, whatever device they’re browsing on.
“They want to make sure that if they saved the product in their cart on mobile, it is still there when they go to the site on their laptop,” says Tatyana Khamdamova, director of interactive design at New York-based digital agency, Blue Fountain Media.
“They want to be able to do the research on their phones and share the information they’ve found with friends and colleagues. And you may lose these people as customers if your site does not provide a smooth experience across all devices.”
If you’re not sure if your site looks good on different devices, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check things out.
- It takes forever to load
Dodgy site speed doesn’t just wreak havoc on your SEO – research from online customer data platform QuBit shows that slow load speeds cost online retailers a whopping £1,73 billion in global sales every year. That’s the equivalent of almost R30 billion.
For precise numbers use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test your site. Simple rule of thumb: if your website is not fully loaded within a few seconds, it’s probably too slow.
- Your homepage is bursting at the seams
It can be super tempting to give potential customers as much info as possible upfront to draw them in – but this overload can have the opposite effect.
“You have only a few seconds to capture the interest of a website visitor, so you must be concise and to the point with the content you supply on your homepage,” US digital trends expert Gabriel Shaoolian says.
“As users, we don’t want to read endless paragraphs when we are only first being introduced to a brand. Ultimately, your homepage should express your core value proposition and true differentiator in the marketplace. Let your landing pages showcase additional details that a user may find relevant as they move further down the funnel.”
- Getting in touch with you is a mission
Never underestimate how important it is to have a phone number or email address in a prominent place on your site. And since many of your users will be visiting your site on their phones, they’ll want a one-click way to get in touch.
“Potential customers feel more comfortable when there is a way for them to reach you, ask questions before making a purchase, or speak to a customer service representative about a product they’re interested in,” Shaoolian says.
- Navigating through your site is confusing
A whopping 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad user experience, according to a study by Gomez, the web performance division of Compuware.
And while you may think your system is simple, bear in mind you probably know the sitemap like the back of your hand. Ask a friend who’s never visited the site before to navigate their way through it, as if they were going to follow through on your call to action (like filling out a form, getting a quote or buying a product).
Does it take them ages? Do they have to ask you for help? Chances are they aren’t the only ones.
Want to understand the fundamentals of user experience? Check out this short course.
- Your competitors’ sites are better than yours
How often do you check out what your competition is doing with their website? Do yourself a favour and have a look – often.
If it’s easier to use, has better functionality or even if it’s just prettier than yours, it could mean the difference between their sale and yours – so you may want to head back to the drawing board.
- You’ve changed your branding or business strategy
Your business is constantly evolving, right? So should your site. Otherwise, how else are your clients going to know?
“There have been many times when I’ve talked to people at companies and learned that their business strategy has changed or they’ve launched new products and services, but none of these things are reflected online,” Khamdamova says.
“It’s important that your site reflects your current strategy and service offerings so you don’t lose customers to your competitors. They need to see the current state of your business, and if your online presence is not reflecting that, it’s time to redesign.”
- It’s a pain to change things
Fresh content drives traffic. Whether it’s through a blog, new info or special offers, new content is key. But if loading it is a pain in the butt, you might want to rethink things.
Content management system (CMS) platforms like WordPress make updating basic things – even replacing certain visual elements – much easier, whether you’ve got web experience or not. Save yourself time and resources by opting for a site that you can freshen up in-house.
Managing your own site doesn’t have to be intimidating. This course will teach you how.
- Boring imagery
You just have to scroll through your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram news feeds to know that we’re visual creatures. A post with an epic picture is so much more likely to capture your attention – so surely the same applies to your site?
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can drop a few bucks on some pretty stock pictures – folks just won’t fall for it, according to Shaoolian.
“With so many alternatives to boring stock photography, including everything from photos taken on an iPhone to inexpensive illustrations, there is no reason to deter potential customers by using stock images or low-quality photos.”
“They want to see authentic visuals that show them what it’s like to use your products, or to work with your services.”
Want to learn how to edit your own images in Photoshop? Check this out.
- It just looks… old
You know the look – no conceivable colour scheme, flashing banner ads, neon everywhere… Even folks will no tech knowledge will be turned off by a site that looks more clunky than cutting edge.
Fun fact: 46.1% of users judge a company’s credibility and trustworthiness based on their website’s design, according to a study by Stanford’s Persuasive Tech Lab.
Here’s another one: you’re 475,28 times more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad. Food for thought, no?
If your website ticks even one of these boxes, it’s probably time to call in the devs. Of course, you or one of your team members could always tackle some of the project yourselves – with the right skills and support.
To start your journey, check out Friends of Design’s Corporate training options here.