Let’s talk about common mistakes that can easily be made on a website! A website is an absolutely amazing tool for your business - it’s where customers can shop your products, book your services, reach out to ask questions, read your information, etc etc etc. However, we’ve noticed that many websites actually make it hard for visitors to do any of those things simply by not implementing some very easy strategic methods into their site’s design. Whether you are a fellow website designer, a client working with us, or a business owner DIY’ing your own site, pay attention to some of these common mistakes. It will help you understand the WHY behind the way we structure our client’s websites.

+ No primary navigation menu

We all realize that websites are made up of many pages (or usually are) and that each page has it’s own link to access it. The common way to show each of these pages and how to get to them is through a primary navigation menu in the site header. However, we’ve seen very often that not everyone displays this and here’s why that’s not a good idea…

Your visitor wants to see what you have to offer when they are on your website. Did you know that a person makes their first impression of a website in the first half a second they are on your page? Even if that’s a bit extreme, studies have also shown that in the first 10-15 seconds people make a decision about staying on or leaving a website. That’s not very much time to make sure you have their attention! Make it easier on them by making it obvious right at the top what information you are giving them - “About”, “Shop”, “Blog”, “Contact”, “Services”, etc.

We have seen 3 alternatives to a classic primary menu style

  1. Only a select couple of page links shown - such as only “Contact” or “Book”: The rest of the links aren’t shown at all anywhere or maybe they are in the footer. We get it, sometimes you want less shown at the top for a better visual. But trust us when we say that you are doing both your visitors and yourself a disservice but putting visuals above functionality. It won't make much of a visual difference if you display all menu tabs rather than just 2-3.

  2. Only a footer menu: We’ve seen quite a few times that there is no sort of header menu at all and the entire menu is housed in the footer. As we stated above, you have very little time to grab a visitor’s attention and they will often not even get to the bottom of a page to see your footer information.

  3. Slide out or drop down menu: This style is popular and common on the mobile version of a website and we are not by any means discouraging it for mobile needs. For the space available, it makes most sense for a mobile menu to be collapsible. However, using this style for desktop is not very effective. You are hoping the visitor will click the button to bring the menu out and like we’ve stated before, you can’t trust or expect visitors to do what you need them to without any direction.

+ No guiding visitors through

In addition to displaying a primary menu in the header of your website, it’s important to look at your page setup as a roadmap for your visitors to follow. It should all be set up in a way that leads them from page to page as you need them to take in information to reach your end goal, whether that be purchasing something or contacting you. You can’t trust visitors to go through your home page, then click the next page in your menu they should go to, and continue on that way. It’s likely they will miss a step in the process.

We’ve often seen that very important information will be shown but then there will be no lead to follow right away. Make sure you add in links/buttons that basically say “hey, click me for the next step!”. Maybe that is leading someone to read more about you, to view the service options, or to contact to book their appointment. You should implement links like this in almost every section of your pages. If there is content given, there should be a “call to action” paired with it! If you make it difficult for visitors to know what to do next, they will feel lost and leave. It can also mislead them to think that you don’t care enough to direct them. Having a well set up “roadmap” in place makes your visitors feel that you are accessible, organized, and care about their time.

+ Too much content at once

Now let’s talk about this content we’ve mentioned. Yes, it’s great to have a lot of juicy content for your visitors to take in. It’s great to be resourceful and not stingy with your information. However, too much can often overwhelm visitors and they won’t bother taking the time to get through. I’ve seen so many home pages that who WAY too much right off the bat. I’m talking full screen images with words across the screen plus paragraphs of bio information and the most recent 6 blog posts, followed by client reviews and even more! That’s too much at once for a visitor to take in. However, you can absolutely have leads to each item in a much simpler format. Instead of showing off all your about information, give them a link to find out about you more. Instead of showing the most recent handful of blog posts, show them one or two and a link to see the entire blog. You can still show them you have the info without forcing them to see it all at once.

+ No personal headshot

Lastly, and this one is most important for solo-preneurs, a lot of people will surprisingly have no personal headshot! If you are an entrepreneur, you are not only asking people to book or buy your servicer or product, you are asking them to book or buy FROM YOU! It’s you that makes your particular offering unique and desirable. If you aren’t showing your visitor what you look like, you can automatically feel less accessible and distant from them. There’s really no way to form a connection with your audience. I get it, getting personal headshots is difficult and not as easy as it sounds but make it a priority so that your people can feel closer to you.