Spiders webIt’s astonishing how few people actually THINK about their website visitors when they’re planning out their websites.  That’s why many websites don’t work; they’re focused on the website owner not the potential customer!

Try and put yourself in your potential clients’ shoes and think about what they are looking for when they arrive on your site.

  • How easy is it for them to work out if the website is likely to give them what they want?
  • How easy is it for them to find the product or service or information they were looking for?
  • How persuasive is the copy that is about that product or service?
  • How compelling are the benefits to the potential client?
  • How visible is the call to action?

So here are the 7 deadly sins:

  1. Too much going on.  This confuses your potential customer as they don’t know where to start and it means they have to think and make decisions – much too difficult!  They might just hit the back button and go somewhere easier to process.  Clean up your act – trim the number of options down to 2 or 3 and give the reader something to lead them towards those choices.
  2. No headline to engage them.  Welcome to our website is not a headline, neither is Home, or About or Services.  They are simply wasting prime real estate that you could use to tell your reader that there are lots of exciting goodies on this website and tempt them to explore a bit.
  3. Creative menus.  I know that Services is boring and What we do sounds better than About, but people know what these boring menu tabs mean.  They don’t have to think about it at all, they just click and they’re where they want to be.  Besides anything that has ‘we’ in it on a website is obviously nothing to do with your reader.  If you get too clever with menu names, people don’t understand them and often don’t bother clicking on them.
  4. We this and we that …  This may sound rather rude, but as a visitor to your website I am not at all interested in what you do – only in what I get.  So we do this and we do that doesn’t connect with me at all.  Now when you start talking about You can have this, or You’ll find that … I’m paying a lot more attention now you’re encouraging me to imagine what it would be like with your product or service in place.
  5. Copy that is flat, boring and unexciting.  How can you make widgets exciting? I hear you ask – well, if you desperately need a widget or your machine won’t work and people will be sitting around being paid for doing nothing, you should be able to find a way.  To write copy that really reaches your potential customer you need to know who they are – exactly – and you need to understand their problems, their wants and needs and then write content that persuades them that you can fix all that for them.  It’s all about ‘what’s in it for me?’
  6. Too much copy.  We’ve all heard about long copy websites, but they’re not brochure sites, they’re the sites that are virtually single page sales letters.  For ‘normal’ websites you need just enough content on the page to tell people enough to persuade them to take action.  They don’t need to know how you do what you do (any more than you need the detail of how the mechanic is going to fix your car).  They don’t need to know lots of details about your affiliations, awards and the hobbies of each member of your team.  They don’t need to know how proud you are of all your achievements (except perhaps on the About page – but briefly).  They just need to know ‘can you fix my problem?’ and ‘will it be fairly painless or, better still, enjoyable?’
  7. No call to action.  There are so many web pages where the message is quite clear until you get to the end and … nothing.  If you don’t tell me what to do next I might just flip to the next website on the list.  This means you need to know what you want people to do on each page of your website, then tell them to do it and make it easy for them so put the link under their nose don’t expect them to scroll about looking for the menu.

So that’s what not to do – just do the opposite to catch potential customers in your web.