It’s almost that special time of year again, and no we are not talking about Christmas. It’s Halloween! That time when children binge out on sweets and chocolate and anyone has the excuse to dress up (whether it is scary or not!)
Also known as All Hallows Eve, this annual event originated as a Celtic festival when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward of ghosts. The wearing of masks was done to confuse ghostly beings so that anyone leaving their home after dark would be mistaken for another spirit.
Looking into the history of Halloween and the tradition of warning off evil inspired us to think about the things that we want to ward off.
In our case it is the spooktacular mistakes we frequently come across when reviewing people’s websites.
We could be here until New Year if we listed them all, but we have pulled together some of the scariest mistakes business make with their websites and our tips on how to avoid them.
Is your website as slow as a zombie?
Zombies – slow but terrifying! I would be straight out of here if I came across a zombie. And that is what your visitors and potential customers will do if your website is too slow!
Website load speed has been growing in importance in recent years. Firstly, because people are impatient, we live in an age when ease is one of the most important things when searching for products or services. This is why if your website doesn’t load quickly then users are going to go elsewhere.
And it is not just people you have to think about, it’s Google as well! Google has been using site speed as a ranking factor since 2010!
A slow website affects user experience and therefore Google recognises that slow websites are not going to be the best results to serve for visitors.
Top tips to increase website speed:
- Optimise your imagery – large images can dramatically slow down how fast your website loads.
- Reduce redirects – the more times your web page redirects means the longer it will take for the final page to load.
- Leverage browser caching – elements of your website that don’t ever or frequently change can be cached and don’t have to be loaded every time some visits your site.
- Check your server response time – slow load speed might not be just to do with your website it could be a slow server response time so check with your hosting.
I know that a lot of the above doesn’t sound easy to achieve, but don’t worry, as a business owner or someone who is responsible for managing your online presence as long as you understand the importance of speed you can speak to your web developer or SEO agency to help you achieve the above.
If you want to know about the performance of your website in regards to speed, we recommend running your site through GT Metrix.
Warning! Warning! Your website is Unresponsive!
Statista released a report in September 2019 regarding mobile internet usage worldwide. The scary truth is that, globally, mobile internet traffic makes up 51.65% of all traffic online.
It surprises me nowadays how many websites I still come across which aren’t mobile friendly. Just like many other users if I come across a website that isn’t responsive and easy to use on my mobile phone, I get frustrated and leave.
Having a website which isn’t mobile friendly is like dressing up for Halloween to scare off spirits. Only your potential customers are those spirits.
Tips for making your website mobile friendly:
- Check your website on a mobile – run a performance test of your website on a mobile device regularly like you were a potential customer and identify what can make the user experience better.
- Increase text size – reading small text on a small screen is not ideal. Make sure that you use a suitable font size that isn’t too small and works for your website.
- Review your imagery – downloading lots of images on a mobile device can be slow so make sure you optimise your images or remove them all together. The more imagery you have on a page can result in unnecessary scrolling before getting to the important content on a mobile device.
- Easy to use calls to action –I bet many of your reading this can think of a time where they have had to zoom to click on something on their phone. Clear easy to use calls to action can make the difference between sale and no sale.
- It might be time to get a new website – unfortunately not all websites can be rescued with some small changes if your theme or template has not been designed to be responsive.
Your User Experience is more Trick than Treat
We have come across websites where someone has focused too much on what it looks like but not actually thought about what is best for their users.
When you are building or updating your website make sure you have your target audience in mind. You want to make sure that they can find the information they need to make that ultimate conversion, whether that be a purchase, pick up the phone, download a resource etc.
Top tips for improving website user experience:
- Don’t be afraid of white space – don’t make your website too busy, having a good balance of white space can make your content more legible and stand out.
- Add clear calls to action – great you have said the all the right things, but the customer doesn’t know what to do next. Make sure you have nicely designed and easy to use calls to action.
- Make your content easy to read – people are lazy and will likely skim read your content so make use of short sentences, small paragraphs, bullet points, clear headings and bold text.
- Clear visitor journey – don’t make it hard to find the information your customers need. Your navigation should be like a road map to your website and clear links to relevant pages should be found throughout your content where appropriate.
Your Content is as desirable as Garlic to Dracula
There are two ways your website content can be scary even to the famed Halloween monsters!
Firstly, not having enough content. How are people meant to learn about you, your products and services? And how is Google meant to learn whether your web pages are the best results for searches?
Then the complete opposite is having too much content. People want to find the information they need quickly and easily so don’t write war and peace on every website page.
Top tips for writing your website content:
- Word count minimum – ensure that your page content is no less than 300 words.
- Word count maximum – unless you are writing a detailed article or blog post then aim for an average of 700 – 1000 words per page
- Plan your content – don’t just start writing your page content. Think about what the most important information for your customers is so you know exactly what you need to include on the page.
- Optimise your content for search – don’t forget about Google! There is no point writing amazing, unique content if it doesn’t appear in search results.
Do you know how scarily your website is performing?
I think I might have saved the best for last. If I wanted to tell a digital horror story, it would be this! One of the most common mistakes we find is businesses not tracking their website performance.
How can any business know how well their website is performing and what to do to improve their website if they aren’t tracking traffic, engagement, conversions and much more.
By tracking the results of your website will ensure that you can improve your websites’ return on investment (ROI).
Top tip to fix your website tracking:
This one is simple! Set up Google Analytics and make sure you use it!
This is a free tool and even if you have it most people don’t use it. If you don’t look at your analytics because it is just as scary as entering a haunted house, then don’t worry we have got your covered with our Analytics Training.
Are you going to Trick or Treat with your Website?
If you are concerned that your website is more scaring away your potential customers then don’t panic, we are here to help!
Speak to our team about how we can help improve your current website or build you a new one.
Call Swindon: 01793 766040 or Bristol: 0117 372 6655. We are happy to meet and have a no obligation chat, you never know we may have some treats over the Halloween period.