You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but in today’s digital world, prospects do make decisions about your company and products based on your website design. Having great SEO and quality content increases the odds of customers finding you online (see “How to Design Your Website for SEO Value.” However, if poor website design is turning away visitors, you’re losing potential customers, and you may not even realize it!
Here are some reasons why your website may be losing you leads…
1: A Poor First Impression
Much like a first date or a job interview, first impressions are important when it comes to website design. This may sound crazy, but according to Google, website visitors form an impression of your site in 0.05 seconds! What’s more, 94% of that first impression is design related !
Right off the bat, 38% of visitors to your website will stop engaging if the design is unattractive (Adobe State of Content Report). In addition, your website design has a lasting effect on a potential customer’s opinion of your company. According to research by Stanford, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on the design of their website.
Fix it: Check for high bounce rates or low secondary page views, which could be a sign that you need to refresh the look of your site. According to Kinesis, 85% of B2B customers use the internet in their research process and conduct 12 searches prior to engaging with a specific brand’s site. Make your site the one they engage with by creating a great first impression!
2: Annoying User Experience (UX) and Navigation
Good website design is more than screen deep. These days, visitors expect easy navigation and a great user experience, and will quickly lose patience with a “difficult site.” In fact, the average web visitor views your site for 15 seconds (Chartbeat), which means you need to give a clear and efficient message about your company. Be sure the most important details – company story, offerings, location, contact information, and a “call to action” – are immediately visible and easy to locate. However, overloading your visitors with content will only annoy most visitors. Provide the right content at the right time and place.
Fix it: Make “usability” a priority when designing your website. Think about the way a visitor’s eye travels through your pages. Is your navigation structure clear? Use reader-friendly text and images to make it pleasant for your visitors to not only find the information they’re looking for, but also skim through your site.
3: Slow Loading Speeds
Be honest: How many searches have you abandoned due to slow loading speeds? According to surveys done by Akamai and gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less, and the majority abandon a site if it isn’t loaded within three seconds. Furthermore, 79% of visitors that had trouble with a slow website said they wouldn’t return!
A study by Aberdeen Group found that a one second delay in page load time equals 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and 7% loss in conversions. On the other hand, a well designed, built and optimized site will have a reduced load size, especially above the fold (the visible portion of your website as it first loads). In fact, just one second of improved load time can increase conversions by 7%!
In case you’re wondering, size is not the only factor: When structurally designed and optimized, websites that seem to load fast may be just as large as a slow site.
Fix it: First, find out if slow load times are a problem. There are multiple page speed analysis sites that can reveal load times and suggest ways to improve your site. Also, structure your website design to prioritize the initial visible content (above the fold). This allows the rest of the page to load while the visitor scrolls down the page and improves your viewers’ load time experience.
4: Not Mobile Responsive
Being mobile responsive is much more than having a mobile-friendly site. Designing your website to be mobile responsive involves creating a functioning site that adapts and resizes to various screen sizes. Don’t frustrate your viewer with a site that constantly needs pinching and zooming to read what’s on your site! A responsive site provides a high-quality user experience and easy readability.
As time goes on, we are turning to our mobile devices first for searches. Currently, 57% of traffic is mobile (Brightedge). By the end of 2018, global internet use on mobile devices is projected to reach 79%. (Zenithmedia).
Still not convinced? Consider these mobile stats:
- 83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important. (Wolfgang Jaegel)
- 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site. (SocPub)
- 89% of people are likely to recommend a brand after a positive experience on mobile. (Google)
- Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. (MicKinsey & Company)
Fix it: Don’t focus on designing for desktop only. Design with multiple screen sizes in mind, such as desktop, tablet and phone (let’s not talk about watches just yet). Test your website on multiple devices and adjust where necessary. Work with an experienced web designer who understands how to make your site mobile responsive.
5: Poor Content
By now, we’ve all heard about the importance of high-quality content. But what exactly does that mean for your website? It used to be all about quantity and keyword loading, but Google has gotten smarter about how it ranks content. Typos, poor grammar, repetitive or duplicate content is not only annoying to your visitors, but will hurt your rankings. Google loves simplicity and answering questions as quickly as possible, which means your content must be relevant and useful.
But, there is another important quality to consider: SEO. It’s no longer a matter of stuffing your content with keywords. Search engines now rank content based on readability, relevance, depth and presentation of information, as well as keywords.
Fix it: Proofread all content – spelling and good grammar matter! Grab attention early: According to Statistic Brain, only a quarter of the words on a web page will be read, on average. Write for your audience: Ask what topics your readers will engage in most. What questions do they have that you can answer? What pain points do they have that you can solve? (For more tips, read “5 Content Strategies that Will Make You Stand Out in a Crowd.”
6: Broken Links and Buttons
How well is your website working? Bad links and broken buttons are a major turnoff for visitors and search engines. Let’s face it, internet users can be an impatient, unforgiving bunch. If your site isn’t working, visitors will go elsewhere. These “404 errors” are not only frustrating, but they make your website look unmaintained. According, to Kissmetrics, 40% of visitors don’t return after having a negative experience with your website, such as a broken link. Additionally, a single broken link can impact search engine rankings by stopping crawlers (any page that isn’t crawled won’t be indexed or receive a ranking).
Broken links can be caused by renaming or moving a webpage and forgetting to change your internal links. Also, linking to content that has been moved or deleted, or trying to link to a third party that has changed its URL will cause these errors.
Fix it: Double check links regularly to make sure they are functioning properly. Use a broken link checker and use redirects.
In the end, you may never know the reason why a potential customer doesn’t choose your business. Don’t let it be due to a poorly-designed and built website! Great website design is more than just a pretty face – it’s building an effective site that makes users happy and represents your business in the best light possible.
Attractive design, SEO, UX and content all go hand-in-hand. SEO and content can improve your rankings so customers find you before your competitors. Great design and UX can attract customers, keep them engaged and leave a lasting impression, while fresh, relevant content helps brings customers back to your site.
If you’re looking for a website design that works on all fronts, contact Neil Lobocki, Senior Graphic Designer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.