No one is perfect. Seriously, no one is perfect.
And no website is perfect either. Whether it’s your colour choices, your page navigation, or the width of your site, each one is different. Which is great. Who’d want to look at the same sites all the time? Not me.
BUT, there are some mistakes that occur on many websites that we can control, and fix. Let’s take a look at five mistakes websites make.
Mistake 1 – Spelling & Grammar Errors
These days there is absolutely no reason for any spelling errors to appear on your website. All word processing software now have both spelling and grammar check built-in. Most web browsers do too. That means that if you’re composing your content directly in a browser (like with a blog post), that squiggly red line under the words should be a signal to you that something’s wrong.
A quick Google search turned up 5 free online spell checkers (for English at least), so you could even use those if you like. The point is, use the tools that are available to you. If you’re unsure of anything, get another native language speaker to read your content too.
Spelling and grammar mistakes are a sign to your potential customers that you’re not detail-oriented, and that you let little things slide. If you do that on your website, what about in your products and services? Will they be able to rely on you?
Mistake 2 – Repetitive Content
I once did a contract for a company that wanted to roll out their website to an international audience. That meant translating the English content into several languages. By the time they were done, they had overspent by several hundred thousand dollars, and they couldn’t figure out why. A quick scan of the content they sent over was all it took. Between the FAQ, the Help files, the individual module procedures and descriptions, they had the same content translated at least three times.
You’re probably wondering why the writing staff didn’t raise the red flag beforehand, why didn’t they do a sweep of the English content first before sending it to translation. Well, the fact is, the DID raise the red flag, they DID mention it to management, but there was so much pressure from upper management to JUST GET IT DONE, that they weren’t allowed to stop and perform the reviews.
The lesson here is that you should always be aware of what content is on your site, so that you don’t end up re-using the same content in the same piece.
Note: I’m not talking about re-purposing content, which is different. I’m talking about using the exact same content in several spots. When you re-purpose content, you’re taking the same essence, or topic, and re-using it in different ways. You are revising or rewriting it for the different mediums.
Mistake 3 – No Images
Today’s website visitors are much more sophisticated, so having a mixed layout and presentation is key. Reading a giant block of text is difficult (unless you’re reading a book, but even then, they use paragraph breaks, block quotes, etc. to break up the text.) Our brains become a little lazy if we’re looking at a HUGE block of text on a page, and we tend to skim the information. We don’t retain what we’ve read.
But if you break it up with a few images, different parts of our brains are engaged, which means that we’re more active and have a better chance at retaining the info.
Some guidelines on images:
- Choose a complimentary image to reinforce your message. E.g. a calendar if you’re talking about shift scheduling, or some computer code if you’re talking about software development.
- Choose a funny picture to make your readers laugh. E.g. In a report I’m writing, I talk about “rescuing clients”, so I have a picture of kids dressed up as superheroes.
- Don’t over do it! Not everything needs a picture, and you don’t have to use 25 pictures if 5 will do.
Mistake 4 – No SEO, or the Wrong SEO
Sometimes we over-emphasize the importance of SEO, but it’s not something that will go away. Especially if your business has a web-presence. You must be aware of SEO, and also determine how to best use it for your business.
- Take advantage of the META tags in your site’s HTML code, and include all the appropriate keyword and key phrases for your business.
- Choose website themes and layouts that use and encourage SEO.
- Include keywords in all your corporate blog post content, as well as in the META tags. (If you’re using WordPress there are plugins that you can install to help with this.)
- Do research on what keywords you should be using. There are free tools out there, like the Google Keyword Tool, but you can also hire SEO companies that will help you out.
Bonus Tip: Include keywords in the ALT tags for any images on your site. Search engines index this information as well, which can be another way for your site to get found.
Mistake 5 – Boring Website Design
In the early days of the Internet, you were pretty limited in what you could do online. But now, the sky’s the limit. You can purchase great website templates that will showcase your business and products beautifully, and also make it easy for your visitors to read. Web developers and designers can also help you create a custom-designed site just for you.
If you don’t have an in-house designer, sites like CrowdSpring and 99Designs can help you with website design, graphic design, logos, and more.
This is my personal list of website mistakes, but I’m sure you may have seen others out there too. Are you making these mistakes? Are you making others? Which ones bother you? Hit the comments and let me know..
Image credit (camera): Fazong