As business owners, we have all invested a lot of time and money into the perfect website for our brand. We have spent long hours during the day which extend into the earliest hours of the mornings deciding details and creating content for our sites in the hopes that it will attract and engage the readers of our company’s brand, values and visions.
But, despite the hours invested and the money put into its creation, there are a number of factors that could be pushing those hard earned customers away. These are all factors which can be so easily overlooked and can be missed by even the most experienced content creators.
Today, we will explore 8 areas in which your website could be losing you those important potential customers and how to correct them, putting your website back where it needs to be.
#1. No emphasis on headlines
According to a recent study conducted by Eyetrack III, headlines are the most important part of any website. They are the most viewed item on any page, surprisingly even greater than any images you have on your site.
When creating headlines for your content, it’s crucial that you remember that this is the element of a page which draws people in. This is the first point of call to most readers and it has to be engaging enough for them to want to click on your article or page whilst remaining informative about what’s ahead, but too long that people don’t want to read it. Try to check your headlines with Headline Analyzer.
Headline writing is a very fine art. One of the greatest examples is Scratch Wireless’ headline which makes you think.
Great points to remember when creating amazing headlines is, like above, that headlines are the attention grabbers for any page, article or blog post. They outperform images every time and re the deal breaker when it comes to an individual clicking on the link or not.
The next point to remember is that the vast majority of people only skim read the first few words of a headline before unconsciously making the decision whether to read on or scroll down. This means you have about 4-5 words in which to grab the readers focus before you lose them. It’s vital you get these 4-5 words right. 4-5 words roughly translate into just under a second or more for the average person’s reading speed.
A great headline normally consists of around 8 words with the first 4-5 having a heavy impact on the reader. To ensure your headlines sit within this word limit, a great tool to use is Easy Word Count. Also, grammar in writing is a must so try to use help of State of writing.
Summed up, you have about 1 second to grab a reader or potential customer before they move on. This is an extremely short time frame in which to operate. This is why headlines are so important to your page and if not written well, you’re actually pushing people away from your site and business.
When thinking of what headlines you can use for your content, think about what the big game players do. Companies like Little sparrow tea and Harris Farm on Shopify both use incredibly catchy and engaging headlines which are irresistible to most readers. Top Ten lists and similar articles never fail to grab a readers’ attention.
It’s also crucial that you use concise and easy to understand headlines on your product pages and on your ‘explainer’ pages. Pages like this include testimonial pages or review pages. Whatever headline you choose to go with, make sure it gives your potential customers a reason to stick around and read on.
#2. Not basing content on reading patterns
The way that readers navigate a website, in particular, the content on a website, is based on the way they read. In the majority of cases, websites are made up of written content so, consequently, this leads on to the valid point of reading patterns.
If you’ve ever viewed an eye-tracking study by Nielsen Norman Group, you will know that most people read in an ‘F’ shaped pattern. If you read an article or have one such as this, try and take note of whereabouts on the screen you are focusing on and for how long. What parts of the page are your eyes immediately drawn to?
Using eye-tracking studies of websites, it has been found that this same reading pattern occurs no matter what content a viewer is reading. This can include websites, blog posts, articles and even search engine results. Whatever readers are looking at, their focus is prominently drawn to the left. In the study by Nielsen Norman Group, it has been found that most readers focus on the left side of the screen for more than 69% of the time they are viewing something.
Considering how this can benefit your website, it’s important to remember this point when creating and designing features for your pages, especially if these are features that readers will be regularly interacting with.
#3. Not using directional cues
According to the “Eye gaze cannot be ignored (but neither can arrows)” study, the vast majority of people cannot stop themselves from following the line of sight from a person in an image or the direction of an on-screen arrow.
If you have incorporated imagery into your website, imagery that includes faces, trying to source or create images in which a person is looking in the direction of your text or other content you want ‘highlighted’. It is complete instinct that people will look in this direction. Laura Cornwell, a founder of Resumention states, “If you cannot find imagery with a human face or it does not fit your business purpose, use arrows or other visual directive cues as they are just as effective.”
#4. No testimonials and product reviews
One of the most powerful tried-and-tested marketing strategies in the online world is social proof. It doesn’t matter to readers if you have the most amazing product in the world that’s going to revolutionize the future as we know it. If your products or service do not have some sort of review or customer feedback option, you will be driving people away.
According to the Local Consumer Review Survey, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 72% of them say positive reviews and testimonials make them trust a business more.
By providing your potential customers with feedback from happy, previous customers, you are giving your brand and products credibility. If you do not currently have any reviews, create a page and email previous customers if they have any feedback for you. Sometimes you will be ignored, sometimes will get feedback, either way, getting some sort of review is vital to ensuring your website is successful.
Whether you’re planning a holiday or looking to employ the services of a company, how often do you go on a site like the above and see what other people have thought of the experience? Even if you haven’t, there are millions of people who do so it’s a great idea to get involved! If you operate a business that prides itself on great products and even better customer service, you’ve got nothing to lose!
It’s also important to remember not to get stressed out about review pages on your site. Whether you’re self-hosting or using a site such as WordPress, there are countless programs and software packages that allow review pages and features to be quickly added and set up to your site, making the entire process incredibly stress-free.
#5. Not implementing Calls To Action
On some websites, there’s no better way to attract or get customers to do something than directly telling them to do it. This can be used as a great method to turning viewing customers into customers that actually buy or use your services.
For example, test which Visual Website Optimizer run on their client’s website showed that implementing Call To Action produces 62% increase in conversions. So the great way to use this results for your online business is by brainstorming actions on your website that people can do. Would you like them to sign up to your email mailing list? Do you want them to contact you or follow your social media pages?
Whatever you want them to do, tell them directly and in most cases, they will do it.
#6. Not ensuring websites are easy to navigate
It’s absolutely imperative that you get the navigation factor of your website perfect. Navigation can come in the form of a bar across the page or as a sidebar but it must stand out and be positioned clearly. For the majority of websites, the navigation bar will be the next point of call after a reader views the headlines.
The Hamburger Menus and Hidden Navigation Hurt UX Metrics study concluded that users will only ever use the search bar or feature when they cannot find an article or post they are looking for. This means that you shouldn’t rely on search options as a foundation for user navigation.
Most people will believe the navigation bar should be easy to find and usually at the top of a page. This means you should place your navigation bar here as well at it is the first place people will look. When labeling your navigation links, ensure they are clear and concise and accurately describe the pages they will take them too! Make sure to include enough links so people can easier get to important pages of your site but keep in mind that you don’t want the bar to seem crowded.
#7. Poorly written content and grammatical errors
For a lot of businesses and companies with an online presence, the first kind of communication you have with potential customers is website content. Whether it is static page information, blog posts, articles or product descriptions, readers will engage with your company and draw first impressions based on what they see and read.
Even though you may have an expertly designed website, with great navigation and perfectly laid out, once they start reading your content, any kind of error, including spelling mistakes, bad punctuation and typos will immediately push those potential customers away.
On top of this, it’s not enough just to get this part right. You will also want to focus on the voice of your content, alongside the tone and style of writing. To ensure that content is up to scratch and of a high quality, you can employ the services of a copywriter and proofreader.
For a great proofreading service, head over to UK top writers or Best Australian writers, where you can hire the services of a professional to proofread your work and correct any kind of mistake present.
You will want to focus on perfecting all pages and content on your website but some crucial ones include;
- Product Pages
You must ensure that the information written here is short, catchy and engaging, even more so if your products require long descriptions to explain what they are or what they do. Make the content extremely easy to read and take in.
- About Us/Information Pages
An About Us page is a really good chance for businesses to sell themselves to their potential customers and really give them a chance to see what the company is all about. Use your chance wisely as this is one of the most visited pages on any website!
- Landing/Home Pages
Ensure you use engaging, attention grabbing headlines alongside attractive images that make your readers want to know more.
#8. Lack of or hard to find contact information
The original purpose of websites as they begin to take off decades ago was business information. For many businesses, a website simply had basic information regarding the company and methods that readers could contact them on if they wanted to know more.
Nowadays, that message and function remain unchanged and people want the ability to contact a company, whether it’s regarding a question about something or a query into a product available.
In a recent study it was concluded that over 67% of website visitors interviewed wanted to see and have access to a contact page of some description. Great example is Contact page on Shopify.
Always bear in mind that website viewers may be viewing your website on a mobile device and only want to quickly view your opening hours (if you own a store) or are trying to find other information such as a contact number or directions so don’t make it hard for them to find!
By providing contact information, you are once again providing your potential customers with an element of credibility as they can directly talk to you at all times.
As you can see, you can invest all the time and money you want into a website but when it comes down to what your potential customers want, you need to strive for functionality. When designing and editing your website, it’s a great idea to really put yourself in your audiences’ shoes and see how using your website would feel to them. By doing this and by considering the points mentioned above, not only will you increase website traffic, but you’ll also grow your customer base.
Brenda Berg is a professional with over 15 years of experience in business management, marketing and entrepreneurship. Consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs. She believes that constant learning is the only way to success. You can visit her personal blog at Letsgoandlearn.com