There are no longer any excuses. With all the free and low cost options available today, if you have a bad website you might as well take your money and throw it out the Windows XP.
Now, while your website is never truly done, there are ways to make sure it meets the necessary requirements of the modern consumer. Here are 25 of the top reasons your website needs an upgrade, otherwise known as what not to do when building your website...you know who you are.
1. Images Are Not High Res
Your iPhone has a HD camera on it. Gone are the excuses of why your images aren't high quality.
2. Using All Stock Photos
Whether you can afford to hire a professional photographer or whether you need to give a kid from the Art Institute a break, a picture is worth a thousand words. A good website should evoke a feeling through smart text and imagery. It's extremely challenging to do that when it's someone else's image.
3. Wrong or Missing Contact Info
There are 1000+ other people in this world that probably do what you do. If your customer/client can't figure out how to get in touch with you easily they will move on to the next. Make sure your contact information is clearly visible on every page...unless you're in the CIA.
4. Not Responsive
If your first response to this was, "I get back to people within 24 hours," you're in trouble. Making sure your website is responsive means it can be viewed easily on any platform; desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile. Again there are amazing free or low cost ways to build a site that shifts content and imagery dependent upon where your user is viewing it.
5. Copy Heavy
If you have paragraph upon paragraph of information on your site, I've either bounced off or fallen asleep. The truth is that people don't read and really don't care that much about you or your product. What they do care about is how it will help them, so make sure your copy is customer centric and not just a place for you to air your ego.
6. Page Heavy
There is simply no excuse for a 50-page website unless you are a massive, multinational brand. Even then, my guess is that the analytics show that people spend 95% of their time on the homepage, services and contact pages. Make sure you build smart pages. It's about quality not quantity...yes, even for SEO.
7. No Social Links
EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS SOCIAL MEDIA. A digital footprint is critical and social pages are an important part of building that footprint. But like footprints in the sand, the impact of social will be washed away by the tide if no one can find them. Use your website real estate wisely and promote your social links.
8. Broken Links
9. Blog or Media Pages With No Content
If you are going to build a page, populate it and keep it up to date. Otherwise take it down. It's doing more harm than good.
10. Ads Everywhere
Consumers are smart and if you're an ad whore of a website, it's a real turn off. There's a time and place for advertising effectively, but don't give it all away.
11. Wrong Email Addresses and Mismatched URLs
If your website is www.igotwhatyouneed.com and your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org you've not only missed a simple marketing opportunity, but you've also told me you are probably sitting in your mom's basement pretending to run a real business.
12. Long URLs
13. Too Much Unused Space
While I can appreciate a minimalist approach to design there needs to be a balance. Make sure you get user input if you are going the minimalist route to make sure it doesn't just look like you aren't trying.
14. Long Load Times
If your hosting service is slow and it takes more than 3 seconds to load your site or if you have heavy wallpaper image as your background and it won't load on my phone, you've lost me and probably 90% of your user base.
15. Wrong Colors
There is something to be said for color theory. Making sure you express your brand visually can be the difference between a lead and a bounce. Choose your colors wisely.
This post was originally published for INC. Magazine. To see the remaining website woes, read the rest of the article here.
Stay tuned for more from Laurel through her Inc. column 'On Brand'.