Does Your Site Qualify for this List of Web Bloopers?
Alright, fess up…how many of you have visited a site that left you feeling rather annoyed, frustrated or just plain bewildered? How many of you bookmarked that site to make sure you would visit again? More than likely not!
We all could use a little help of getting our site looking a little sharper or more up-to-date. The best reason to make such effort is not to make yourself look good, but rather to be considerate of your website visitors. By putting them into direct focus when designing your site, you’ll end up with more repeat visitors which will also lead to more sales.
The question is….does your site qualify to be listed among the list of “web bloopers” below?
(If any of these resemble your site, don’t worry, I’ve listed a few tips under each section to help you improve the situation.)
5 Common Web Bloopers you may encounter in internet space:
1. Flashing graphics – Amazingly they’re still out there! Scary, right? It’s like walking back in time — a whole century ago. I really don’t wish to be unkind, but it leaves me with the impression that the site hasn’t been updated for years — and maybe the owner has even forgotten that it exists??
Quick fix: If your site is guilty, don’t fret. Removing flashing graphics and banners is a lot easier than having to do a whole website make over. Too many graphics also slows down the loading time of your website — which is bad news because many visitors get impatient and hit the back button out of frustration.
Most websites now have a nice, clean layout. In other words, less is more. Have some white space here and there. Avoid making your site look crowded. If one of your flashing banners forwards to one of your favorite affiliate sites, contact the merchant site and see if they’ll provide some updated banners. An even better option is to create an attention-grabbing headline with a short, catchy text ad. You’ll find better results than flashing banners.
2. Misspelled words – Okay, my business partner knows how bad I am at proofreading! I have to read over my own content a gazillion times before I catch all my mistakes — and the following week, I’ll still find one that I missed. But, have you ever been on those sites where every two wrods iz spillled wrrongggggggg? Drives you a bit crazy doesn’t it?
Here’s my 2 cents worth on this subject: The biggest downside with numerous misspelled words is that you devalue your site and lose the trust of visitors that you really are knowledgeable about your niche. They may wonder just how educated you really are!
Quick fix: Use an online dictionary when you need it! When writing with your text writer, pay attention to your spell checker. If you do not have a text writer with a spell checker, you can copy and paste your document into www.spellcheck.net and check for errors. Just remember, it’s not going to let you know when you have the wrong homonyms in place (example: air and heir). You can check out Grammar.about.com/od/words/a/HomonymChart.htm for some common homonyms. (If you scroll down further you’ll see that there’s more homonyms organized in grouped sections, alphabetized.)
3. Annoying colors - If the color hurts your eyes when you try to read your web page, don’t let your site wear it. Of course, everyone has different tastes, but remember your site is meant to please your visitors not yourself. Yes, I know your site’s design does reflect who you are…but you have to be considerate.
You may have to put on your thick-skinned walrus hide and ask for honest feedback from others. Ask people in your social networks to give you some feedback on how they perceive your colors. Encourage them to offer their critical opinions as well so that you can determine where you may need to make changes.
Quick fix: Keep the reading background light and the text dark and also consider those who many be color blind. You can use colorfilter.wickline.org to test out your site to see how a color-blinded user might view your site.
For more info on this topic, read: “Be Kind to the Color Blind.”
4. Shopping cart havoc – Have you ever been excited to buy something and then when you tried to add it to your shopping cart you discovered it was no longer available? Or, have you ever played that “type it once again” game? (The one where you kept trying to add your information over and over, but it kept leading to an error page?)
Quick fix: One way or another, I’m sure almost all of us have encountered some types of shopping cart chaos that left us feeling frustrated. Sometimes glitches happen, but listen to any incoming complaints of your customers and check them out. You could be losing a lot of money from “shopping cart abandonment” which happens quite frequently on the internet.
To keep sales going strong, your customers must have a fairly smooth transaction. Try not to make them jump through too many hoops to complete their purchase. The fewer steps needed to check out, the better your rate of closing sales will be.
My last tip on this subject would be to send your customers a quick survey about how well the checkout process went for them. Customer feedback will give you more insight on how well your shopping cart and checkout process is really working.
5. Navigation Links that Lead Customers Around in Circles - Have you ever encountered a website that lead you around in circles? I’ve been there, done that — so many times!! I won’t spend a whole lot of time on discussing the downside of creating such confusion for your visitors. Let’s just get it fixed! It will definitely improve your success rate of sales!
Quick fix: Spend some time on your site browsing around to see if you can easily navigate through your site. Fix broken links and eliminate old links to web pages that are no longer in existence.
Categorize topics or products in an orderly fashion (alphabetized or numerical order). Don’t simply create a bunch of tiny little categories. This overwhelms your visitors. Start with major categories, and then break them down into smaller subcategories.
Finally, make sure you add a search utility for your visitors. You’ll need to tag your products and pages with the proper keywords to make sure your customers’ searches will yield the best results. And once again…get feedback from your customers on their browsing experience. Feedback pays off!
*Just for fun: I thought this super short video would express how some visitors might feel while shopping online and discovering navigation links that lead them around in circles.
For your information: UserTesting.com allows online businesses to gather feedback on users’ experience while shopping or using their site.
*For Mommy Revenue’s readers who are looking for some additional income, you can earn up to $10 per website that you test. I’m not an affiliate, nor have I done any actual work for them. So, please use your own discretion. Check out the opportunity here: http://www.usertesting.com/betester.aspx
Come On! Let’s hear from YOU!
What web bloopers have you encountered?