9 Simple Website Layout Mistakes You Could be Making

So you’ve got this brilliant idea for a website. Maybe it’s for a new business that you’ve started, or a sideline project, or a website that you’re redesigning…

You’ve got one shot to hook your audience – the average person spends 30 – 40 seconds browsing a website before moving on to the next one. If you’ve got a crappy, confusing or unprofessional website layout, it’s a sure-fire way to make sure they don’t come back.

Your website is the first impression a potential client, customer, employee – or employer, gets of you: your abilities, skills, quality and talent. What a waste to lose out on a potentially incredible opportunity simply because your website layout wasn’t up to scratch.

Save your reputation, grow and draw in new business, and generate traffic to your website by following these 9 steps…

TEXT AND BACKGROUND COLOURS

It might be tempting to have a black background and white text in order to “be different” or “stand out” from the competition, but what you’re really doing is making it hard for people to read what your business is all about. Stick to a clean, white background with black or dark grey text. Then, accentuate headers, logos, and sidebars with colours that compliment what your company is all about. Studies have shown that colour psychology plays an important role in attracting people to your website.

website layout2NAVIGATION

If someone visiting your website can’t find what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds, you’ve lost them. Spent some time making the navigation and layout of your website as simple and straightforward as possible. This means sidebars, page titles and the order of these pages, and visible contact information. N.B. Make sure that your website is optimised for viewing on a computer, laptop, iPad and cellphone screen.

COPY 

The copy on your website is your “sales person.” This is what persuades, interests and excites people about your product or services. It has the potential to turn a browser into a buyer. If it’s boring, sloppy, or full of embarrassing grammatical or spelling errors, it’s going to have a negative effect on your business – and your reputation. If you don’t have a way with words, hire a professional copywriter who knows what they’re doing.

CONTENT

If your content is stuffy, too technical or lengthy, visitors are going to lose interest quickly. Keep them on your site by creating catchy, clear-to-the-point, short copy relevant to the page (such as About Us), or the product or service you’re offering. This is something else a copywriter can help you with if you’re not sure where to begin.

IMAGES

Using any old image from Google on your website could land you or your business in hot water. You could even be sued by the owner of the image. A lot of companies today are using the services of photographers to take professional images for their website. This could include images of your products or services, your team, your business premises, etc. If you prefer to use more generic images, try free image sites such as freedigitalphotos.net.

ADVERTISING AND POP-UPS

One of the fastest ways to turn your audience off is by having too many advertising banners all over your website, flashing adverts, or the absolute worse – pop-ups that spring onto the middle of the screen a few seconds after someone visits your site. Your website is your advert, you don’t need pop-ups. If you’re looking to generate some extra income from your website – and place inconspicuous adverts – Google AdSense is a great way to do this.

YOUR CONTACT PAGE

Nothing is more irritating than wanting to communicate with a company and finding nothing but a generic contact form plastered onto their “Contact” page. Make sure that your website displays a contact number, e-mail address, physical address – if applicable, contact form and social media buttons.

If you have a WordPress website, here’s a great video explaining how to load a custom contact form onto your website:

SOCIAL MEDIA

If you thought that creating a website and e-mail addresses for yourself or your business was all it took to getting your brand “out there,” think again. Social media is constantly evolving and it should be a pivotal part of your marketing plan. Not only that, but you should have social media buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + clearly visible on all pages of your website. If you’re not using a copywriter or social media marketer to do this, here’s an article that can help: How to set up social media accounts for new brands.

TERMS OF SERVICE & PRIVACY POLICY

This one isn’t a necessity, but it’s always a good idea to have a Terms of Service page on your website. It’s especially important if you are transacting business of any kind directly from your site. This page can limit your liability and protect your rights to the content contained throughout your website. A Privacy Policy discloses information as well as details about what the site owner will – and will not do – with captured information from visitors. For more information on these two highly recommended web page additions, click here.

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