Gone are the days when businesses could simply create a website and adopt an “If we build it, they will come” attitude toward Internet sales. People have become used to high standards of design, functionality, and user-friendliness, so a poor design doesn’t just look ugly – it can actually turn visitors away. Here are some telltale signs that your business website design may be sabotaging your online enterprise.
High Bounce Rates
Are your visitors hitting your home page and bouncing right off, never to return? If so, you’ve got some serious problems that need to be ironed out. While flat, uninspiring content can be a major factor in losing your visitors’ interest, watch out for design-related flaws such as:
- Slow loading – A design that proves irritatingly slow to load could drive your visitors away within the first few seconds, so run some tests to see whether you need to get rid of bandwidth-heavy images, videos, or Flash effects.
- Way too much text – Did someone tell you that you need to load your home page with text to rank in the search engines? It’s not true. In fact, if your home page has more than 150 words, chances are your bounce rate is higher than 70%.
Lack of Engagement
A successful business website design doesn’t just present information viewers; it also stimulates them to take specific actions. Does your design make it clear what you expect your visitors to do next? If not, then don’t expect them to do it!
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs
Start by examining the page layout. An overly fussy or complex design can confuse visitors by making navigation less than intuitive. Make sure your prospective customers understand which link or button they should click to receive more information that applies to their particular need or interest.
Hopefully, you’re making use of social media as a valuable tool in your overall online marketing efforts. But if your website visitors don’t know that, they can’t make the leap to your social media channels and spread the word about your awesomeness. Be very precise and logical in your positioning of “Share,” “Like,” and “Follow” buttons so you can benefit from this form of engagement. Use the developer tools to embed like buttons, tweet buttons, and other social media interactions right in your website vs putting links to your profiles, sending the traffic off your website into the social media abyss.
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Poor Search Rankings
It’s all too easy to blame sub-par search rankings on this or that aspect of your SEO efforts, but your web design could easily be hampering your Google-friendliness as well. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make in this regard is sticking to a static website instead of developing a responsive design. If your website forces smartphone users to deal with microscopic text and hard-to-manipulate buttons, you won’t have those visitors for very long.
Responsive web design not only makes it much easier for today’s mobile shoppers to use your website, but it’s also critical if you want to receive priority treatment by Google. The search engine giant recently announced that it would give preference to mobile-friendly sites that scaled to different types of portable devices.
Is your e-commerce site all “e” and no “commerce?” Any (or all) of the business website design flaws noted above could be causing your online revenue to flatline. Try to pinpoint the problem by identifying exactly where along the sales funnel your visitors are dropping out. (You should be able to run a funnel report in google analytics). If they’re drilling pretty far down before suddenly disappearing, then maybe you’re asking for too much information before you’ve completely won them over. If that’s the case, revise or move these questions into a post-order marketing automation campaign.
If your sales have been strong in the past but have recently begun to fall, go back through the timeline and note any changes you made (or failed to make!) at the point the decline started. For example, many businesses who failed to transition to a responsive site design in time for Google’s mobile-friendly update on April 21, 2015, probably saw a drop in web traffic and associated sales shortly after that date.
Take these signs of attrition seriously, and give your website design a serious evaluation to see whether it needs to be upgraded or even totally renovated. Here’s a white paper to help you clarify your battle plan!