TOP TIPS

TOP SEVEN TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE  – Tired websites are blindingly visible from their appearance; they often have messy layouts, poor grammar,  spelling mistakes, typos,  confusing and lack purpose.  Other errors and mistakes can be far less glaring but can still be harmful.  Unless someone tells you the chances are you don’t know.  It is an essential and useful practice to check your website regularly, making sure that all your plugins and security is up-to-date. With today’s digital age, we all seem to lead hectic lives, and one of the last things on the list is to do is check our websites.  We are all guilty of this.  Below are SEVEN areas that we should all address on our websites.

1: SLOW TO LOAD

One of the most significant and biggest issues with websites is that they take too long to load. Which can be something to do with where your website is hosted, but more often than not, the common cause is that the files and photographs are too big.  The quickest solution is simple, resize your images for the web before uploading them to your website.  A variety of options are available, of which some are free, and some you do have to pay for including Photoshop.  But worth it.

Search engines penalise your rankings if your website is cumbersome and slow to load and we as the user know how frustrating this can be.  The current digital era has given us a lack of patience when we are surfing the web, and we are very quick to move on, so expect your prospective customers to do the same.

2: CLUTTER

Clutter is a common trap for so many websites.  When your website went live, you probably started with a clear message, carefully chosen images and text. Now, a couple of years later, you have added dozens of different photos in all various colour palettes, new tabs, a variety of fonts, badges, banners and a complete car crash of confusion with explosions of colours, content and a website that isn’t easy to navigate (called poor signposting).  A common trap and a bit of headache for the user trying to find something as simple as your telephone number.

One of the simple solutions is to make your website easy to navigate, tidying it up and removing content that isn’t working or useful.   Your home page is a shop window, avoid squeezing every last thing onto it.  No high street shop ever is full of information about the owner splashed all over the window…  “hi, welcome to my shop.  We opened in 1975 after being passionate and dreaming of selling children’s clothes since I became a Mum of two fantastic children. I am married to my childhood sweetheart and soul mate, David …………”

A website is the same as a shop window – it is purely to sell its merchandise.

3: CLEAR SIGNPOSTING

Make your website easy to navigate and remove as much confusion as possible. If it takes your client several clicks around your site to buy something or find the information they are looking for your conversion rate could well be suffering.   A way to solve this problem is footwork.  Keep testing your website, view it from a customers point of view, ask friends and family members to see how quickly they can find something as easy as your telephone number or your email address.

There isn’t an exact science to attracting new customers, and what works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for another.  Another critical area to monitor is your bounce rate, conversions and enquiries.  Responsive websites are a must, with 65% of us searching the internet using a mobile device you must make sure your website looks good and works well on all mobile devices as well as computers.   Clear signposting means making sure your prospective clients don’t have to jump hurdles to find some as simple as your telephone number or email address; this is a quick and easy one to solve.   Making your website easy to navigate is another.

4:  POORLY WRITTEN CONTENT

Digital technology is an era where the photographic image is king, but poorly written content on a beautiful website can let you down with poor copy and grammar.   I edit and write content for Creative Light Magazine, blog posts, websites and articles, and astounds me when I see a site cluttered with poorly written content that contains spelling mistakes, bad grammar and the content is hard to read.   If you struggle with writing copy for your website then seriously consider the option of getting someone else to do it for you.   Unfortunately, people dislike investing in the necessary skills for high-quality copy and say…. “ah, it’ll be all right”.  “it’ll do” but in reality,  the cost to your business could potentially be considerably more and you wouldn’t even know.

5: NO VISIBLE POINT OF CONTACT

One of the most frustrating elements of a website is finding a phone number or email address to get in touch with people.  A frustration I experience all too often, especially when putting together an edition of Creative Light Magazine is contacting photographers. I am often astounded to see how many websites that do not have easy to find contact details, apart from a contact form which is usually aimed specifically at their clients, i.e. Name of the bride?  What date is your wedding?  Which doesn’t help when you just want to speak to someone.

Please do not force people to search all over your website in the hope that they will see something they would like to buy.   Remember, they have already done the research and found your website, so marketing has already started to work for you.  Make the last important step easy for your prospective customer and let them contact you in any format they wish.  Be it, phone, email or contact form.

In today’s digital world we all want an instant response.  Tomorrow is too late!

6: SEO

Today’s business platform is the website; people search for everything online.  Majority of businesses know that SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is vital to websites, especially today when the wide world web has billions of websites.  Gone are the days of telephone books and yellow pages. We all ‘google it’.  So in this very competitive world, you are competing against businesses in your local area.  With a website lacking in keywords, technical know-how, and if the search engines haven’t mapped your website; your business is immediately at a significant disadvantage to your competitors.

The answer is simple: identify and keep track of the SEO terms and keywords that are important to your business and especially in your local area and stay on top of your SEO and keep content up-to-date and fresh.

7: POOR VISUAL DESIGNS

Running a business is hard work, and we are guilty of saying….  “ah… I must get round to sorting out my website soon – just haven’t had a chance to do it.”

A quick solution is to allocate at least one day a month to spend time updating your website.  Or, make time to give your website a spring-clean and a revamp.  Either way, take a look at what we offer and if you decide you would like to get a new website built for you which will be customised for your business,  then please get in touch with me to have a chat over the phone.

–  Julie Oswin

Tel:  0114 437 2511

Email:  julie@visionmedia.design