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Facebook Marketing Tips by Louise Mc Donnell
25 Sep 2015

10 common website mistakes that could be driving your customers elsewhere

Your website is one of the most powerful tools for marketing your business.  It is the place where potential customers can read, review and purchase your products and services.   However, sometimes small and common mistakes can limit its effectiveness.  Here are the ten of the most common mistakes that we commonly encounter:

1.  SEO

Or the lack of…Search Engine Optimisation is the art of being found in Search Engines.  If your website is not optimised correctly, Google and other search engines will not index it for keyword phrases relevant to your business.
Guessing and randomly choosing keyword phrases to place into your website is not recommended.  Instead, you need to optimise your website for keyword phrases that people are ACTUALLY searching for. You also need to take into consideration that people don’t know the correct terminology for products and services or they might type in a variation of words.  Try using the Google Keyword Planner to research the phrases relevant to your business.
These phrases should then be integrated into the meta (or browser) title, meta description, headings (H1, H2, etc.), image tags and content on each page.  Automated SEO programmes that use the page title and the website title to create a meta (or browser) title are generally ineffective.
Optimising your website for the most relevant phrases for your business is one of the most cost effective ways of driving traffic to your website and is worth getting right.

2.  Branding

Another common mistake is not following brand guidelines.  If you have developed a visual identity for your business it’s important to use the logo, fonts, colours consistently across all marketing material including your website.   Did you know that there are 1000’s of shades of pink? Make sure that after having your logo developed that you find out the exact colour references and the fonts used, or a complementary web font. This will ensure that your branding is thorough and your website will look more professional.
If you’re a new business it is worth investing in a logo and visual identity that reflects your businesses’ unique selling propositions.

3.  Fonts & typography

Websites where different fonts are used, or where the font itself varies in size or colour, look messy and unprofessional and may leave potential customers with a bad impression of your business.

When writing and editing the content of the website, make sure that your font type, size and colour is exactly the same in your headings & content.   All main headings should be the same size and colour.  The same applies for all subheadings and the content itself.  Don’t ever be tempted to give special emphasis to a word, sentence or paragraph by deviating from the standard style of the website.   Avoid using ALL CAPS in the content – they look like you’re shouting and are difficult to read.

Never copy & paste from documents such as Microsoft Word as this will lead to formatting errors on your website as oftentimes font styles and sizes are carried from the original document.

To remove formatting, Use a tool called Notepad on your laptop/PC.  Copy and paste the content you wish to add to your website into a notepad file (called a text file).  Then save and close the notepad file to ensure original formatting is removed.  After you reopen the file it is safe to copy and paste it directly into your website.  This will ensure that your website has a standard font style and size throughout.

4.  Mobile friendly

Have you checked your website on a smartphone device? Is it easy to view, use and quick to load? If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, you may need to look into having a mobile compatible version of your website developed.

Does it pass the new Google Mobile Test?  If not, your websites rankings for mobile searches may be affected.

Mobile web users expect a different type of experience when viewing websites on their smartphones, and if the website takes too much effort and time to find exactly what they are searching for they will exit and go elsewhere. A mobile website is a much more compressed version of your website which will contain mainly the most important aspects of your website such as Contact Details, Google Maps, Booking Engine, Online Shop etc but make sure that there is an option to view in Desktop Version in case there is something else on the main site that the user is searching for.

5.  Selling & USPs

When writing your website content it is important to consider what information you need to communicate to your potential customers to encourage them to do business with you.

Ask yourself, what makes you different from your competitors? Why should people purchase this product/service? What’s so good about it? What would you say to a potential customer to get them over the line?  Why should they choose you and not your competitor?
When you have written the content for your website, ask yourself; could a competitor copy this description and make it their own?  If the answer is yes, you need to make your description more personable and unique.

6.  Too much text / Not enough text

We get asked quite regularly about the length of content.  When is content too long or too short?
On average Google expects each page of a website to contain (on average) 200 words to be seen as worthy content for SEO purposes.
Make sure that when writing your content that you provide your visitor with all the information they require.  With regards to products make sure the description contains the sizes, length, weight, “suitable for” information, pricing etc. to ensure that the customer has all the information they require in order to make the purchase.

7.  Look & feel of website

Every page should have a specific focus.   You will confuse your customer if you have too many banners, flash imagery and topics on the one page.  If you have more than three major pieces of information or options on a page, you’re likely overdoing it. When it comes to designing websites, keeping the visual options to a minimum always results in better conversions.

8.  Images

Using images that are skewed, cropped, too small, too large, busy, different sizes will take away from the overall look of the website.   It is worth contracting a professional photographer to capture images of your premises, your products and your staff.  Stock images are also a great option or employing a graphic designer to achieve a look in line with your brand guidelines.

9.  Contact details

If we had a euro for every website we came across that made looking for contact details similar to finding a needle in a haystack….well let’s just say we come across it more often than we care to.

We understand that sometimes businesses don’t necessarily want their contact details made available, but unfortunately it’s not about you this time, customers like to have that feeling of safety when making purchases online, and I for one would be less likely to purchase from a website if they were a bit shady as to why I can’t contact them!  Setup a general email address such as enquiries@yourbusinessname.com and have an auto responder setup outlining that it may be a certain amount of working days to get a response, at least both parties are clear on the process.

Even if you don’t have an online shop, if a potential customer finds your website, is impressed and wants to contact you…..make it easy for them on desktop and mobile.

10.  No clear call to action

What do you want the visitors to your website to do next?  Call you, email you, text you, fill in a form?   Each page of your website should have a clear “call to action”.
Specifically ask your potential customers to call you, place an order or join your mailing list, etc. To make it work effectively, give compelling reasons for them to take immediate action.

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