A strong message and attractive graphics are not enough to keep the visitor on your website engaged.  They’re both really important, but if you commit any of these errors, they aren’t enough.

1: Whizzy graphics

Scrolling marquees, banners that refresh every 3-4 seconds, graphics that move around are all attention grabbers.  BUT if they don’t stop moving, they’re also a distraction when your visitor is trying to read about what you’re offering.

Every time something moves it draws their eye away from the rest of your message.  Frustrating for the reader – and often dislodges them from your website, sending them to look elsewhere.

2: Sexy black backgrounds

White body text on a black background challenges the brain to process it.  In fact, this applies to any light body text on a darker background.  Bold headlines aren’t a problem as each letter has a shape with two sides and ‘floats’ on the darker background, but normal body text is thin lines that cut up the background and create a ‘dazzle’ effect.

This means your eye/brain connection is occupied with deciphering the letters and comprehension takes a dive!

3: No CTAs

Every page – and every section – needs a call to action (CTA).  If you don’t tell people what to do next they tend to wander off with a vague thought that ‘that was interesting’. 

A strong call to action, tells people what to do next AND includes the means to make that easy.  So if you want them to phone you, put your phone number in the instruction ‘Phone us now on 01234 567890’.  If you want them to email their enquiry include a link that launches your enquiry form.

4: ‘Services’ is not a headline

Most web designers will create a headline that is the page title.  They will tell you that the H1 tag (the most important headline, as far as search engines are concerned) needs to be the page name.  That’s true, but it doesn’t work for the human visitor.

A good web page has a headline that engages the visitor, makes them want to know more, stimulates their curiosity or addresses their pain.  So now you’ll be in dispute with your web designer!

There is a solution.  There is no rule that says the H1 tag has to have the biggest font size on the page.  It can be 10 point and still be tagged as H1.  That satisfied the search engine.  Meanwhile, the H2 tag (second most important headline) can be 20 point and be the first thing the human visitor sees and reads.

5: Make it hard to contact you

Most of us expect to find contact information on the ‘Contact’ page.  However, I have found websites that don’t appear to have this on their main navigation.  I’ve found it buried in a submenu on more than one occasion.

Even expecting people to go to your ‘Contact’ page is unnecessary.  The most effective way to help people to get in touch is to put your contact information right at the top of the page in your banner (usually to the right).

This allows people who just want to contact you to get instant gratification – and you get more enquiries.  Win-win!