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Is a Bad Website Killing Your Business?

Over 70 percent of people claim they wouldn’t buy from or use a poorly designed website. A bad website isn’t just not helping, it’s a dead weight tied around your business, alienating your users and holding your business back.

Considering that the first contact many users have with a business is via a website, it’s essential that it delivers a positive user experience.
Is a Bad Website Killing Your Business?
However, we know it’s difficult to step back and dispassionately assess your own website. You deal with it every day so it’s almost impossible to be impartial?
In this blog, we’ve collected 5 common mistakes made by websites. And we’ve explained how to fix them, too.
If you know your website needs work, get in touch with our team to arrange a free consultation. We’ll look at the design, structure and flow of your website and let you know how we can help. Click here to book it now.
 

First Impressions

How long does it take a user to decide whether to stay on your site or leave for a competitor? A day? An hour? A minute?

10 Seconds

That’s what you’ve got: 10 seconds. Less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. Less time than it takes to introduce yourself. Less time than it takes to check your phone.
In those 10 seconds, most users have evaluated your business and decided whether they’ll stay on your website or bounce away.
If your homepage is ineffective, it doesn’t matter how great the rest of your site is because there won’t be any users reading it.

The Fix

If you want to win over users in those 10 seconds, you’ve got to convey a clear and concise value proposition. You’ve got to make it immediately clear who you are, what you are offering and why it’s valuable to your users.
If your users like what they see, they’ll stick around, giving you more of a chance to convert them into customers.
Take a look at internet communication tool Skype. Its homepage is visual and engaging and positions a strong value proposition as the first thing a user sees.
Skype's Value Proposition
After reading the first 20 words, I know exactly what Skype has to offer. Share, type and talk to anyone in the world on mobile, tablet and desktop — for free.
That’s enough to hook me in and keep me interested. If you want to drive similar results, you need to emulate Skype’s brevity and engagement but translate it into your industry and service.
 

Responsive Design

A few years ago, mobile users were worth substantially less than their desktop equivalent. They converted less often and spent less money when they did.
Nowadays, however, things are different. There’s a mobile-first revolution coming driven by omnipresent mobile internet and the proliferation of powerful mobile devices.
Over 60 percent of people in the UK now own a smartphone and for half of them their smartphone is their first screen — their primary point of contact with the internet.
Responsive Design
It’s a brave new world out there and it’s packed full of mobile devices and mobile users.
Websites that don’t keep up are going to be left behind. No, website’s they don’t keep up are already being left behind.
Almost 50 percent of all users say a non-responsive website is a sign a company doesn’t care. Over 40 percent of modern users will leave a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly. Over 70 percent will delete emails that don’t render well on mobile devices.
The bottom line is that responsive websites perform better than non-responsive websites across the board. In fact, responsive websites boast conversion rates 11 percent higher than non-responsive competitors.

The Fix

There’re two options when it comes to mobile design. One, build a mobile-version of your website. Two, develop your website on a responsive framework.
A mobile-version site (also called an M-Dot site) is basically a copy of your website specifically designed for a smaller screen. If you access a mobile-version site on a desktop, it’ll look exactly the same — if a little stretched. Creating a mobile-version site was the preferred approach to mobile design but it’s being gradually pushed out by a new alternative: responsive design.
The newer approach (and the one we use at Digital Impact) uses a responsive framework to allow your website to adjust how it’s rendered based on the screen it’s displayed on.
So, unlike mobile-version sites which must be designed for specific screen sizes, a responsive website will automatically optimise itself depending on the screen. If it’s on a television, it’ll scale everything up. If it’s on a smartphone, it’ll shrink everything down.
 

Performance

It’s not only design elements that can undermine your website. As internet access becomes more ingrained in our lives, people expect a better and more consistent service. They expect lightning-fast load times and perfect user experience every single time.
If your website takes longer than three seconds to load, your traffic drops by

40 percent

And it’s getting worse. The better server technology gets, the higher our expectations are pushed. And that means the penalty for not having super fast load times get worse too.
Huge sites like Amazon regularly funnel ungodly amounts of money into server tech and website optimisation because loading delays hurt conversion rates and, therefore, their bottom line. Here is a study from
Conversion Rate by Page Load Time
The same study suggested that a one-second loading delay can reduce your conversion rate by as much as 7 percent. For a large eCommerce site like Amazon, that one-second delay could easily mean a loss to the tune of $7.49 billion.

The Fix

So how do you improve your website performance? The simplest answer is to invest in good server technology. The difference between cheap shared hosting from Heart Internet and Amazon Web Services-powered hosting from Pagely is immense. We’re talking average load speeds that are several seconds apart.
And the price? Good hosting is obviously going to cost more but it’s honestly a drop in the ocean for most businesses. Hosting is something you can save money on but it’s something you definitely shouldn’t.
If you’re serious about slashing load times, the other (more complicated) option is optimising your site.
Cleaning out your code, improving caching or even redeveloping your site on a more efficient platform can all provide serious performance boosts — it’s just a matter of how dedicated you are to crunching load times.
 

Off-trend Design

The design world is fickle, changing what’s cool every couple of months and completely reinventing itself every couple of years.
One moment it’s all bevels, drop shadows and flash animations, the next everything’s been flattened out and there’s full-width hero images everywhere.
While it can be a chore to keep up with what’s considered cool, the alternative is having a site that looks like a dated relic hanging onto the coattails of more on-trend competitors.

The Fix

Keeping your website looking contemporary isn’t as simple as upgrading your server or tweaking your headlines. It’s a matter of staying in touch with the design world, reading about what’s hot, watching what your competitors are doing and constantly tweaking, refining and updating your website.
 

Not Built for Humans

Web design in 2013 was defined by flat design and background video, 2014 was dominated by full-width pages and non-standard navigation and last year saw material design and hero images take over the industry.
So, what will be the defining feature of web design in 2016?

You, the user

For a long time, web design has been driven by a desire to build websites which look pretty or cool or which were just different. Clickless navigation. Non-standard menus. Arrow key-directed panels.
It was all brilliant … for an R&D project. It wasn’t so good for a real world audience.
It sounds stupid to say but users want to be able to use your website. They want the buttons to be where they expect them to be and the features to work how they expect them to work. They don’t want to have to learn a whole new way of interacting before they can use your service.
And the web design industry is starting to cotton on. Usability and user experience are the hot terms at the moment. It’s less about designing a website which is sensational to look at and more about building a website which is amazing to use.

The Fix

Designing a positive user experience isn’t an easy task. After all, your audience is a group of individuals with disparate thoughts, behaviours and preferences. Designing any system that provides an excellent experience to every single one of them is a nearly impossible task.
That’s why good user experience designers are so hard to come by.
However, while building the perfect user experience might be impossible, steady improvement is not. Qualitative feedback from user testing and quantitative data from analytics can provide invaluable insights into your audience and highlight problematic areas for improvement.
If users are stumbling over your menu structure, try reordering it. If your imagery is confusing and distracting, try simplifying it.
 

Conclusion

A website can be your greatest asset in the world — if it’s built right. It can work as a omniprescent salesperson, marketing your business to people all across the world and generating new business.
If you’re concerned about how your website is representing your business, why not take advantage of our free video review offer? We’ll send a user to your website, record their behaviour and send you a copy. It’s a great way to see.
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Ross
Head of Digital

Ross manages our digital output across the design, development and marketing teams. Experienced in a number of project management methodologies, Ross brings supportive and adaptive structure to everything we do.

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