5 Web Design Mistakes That Can Kill Your Traffic

Today’s guest post is by Stephanie C. Stephanie is a stay at home mother of five. In her spare time, she enjoys weight training, jogging, and gardening. Follow her posts and more at @TheBartal.

Whether you’re selling auto insurance or simply blogging, you want to be sure your website isn’t driving customers away. The following are five web design mistakes that can kill your traffic. While there are other mistakes, these common ones can cause businesses to lose customers quickly.

Make Sure Your Site Doesn’t Take Forever to Load

This can be particularly devastating if you want to sell car insurance, because customers want information quickly. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you land on a site and it takes minutes to load, while various graphics appear occasionally, would you stay on the site? Neither will potential customers.

Even if your site has incredible content and beautiful graphics, potential customers won’t stay a site that takes minutes to load.

This is a common mistake on corporate sites. Often graphic designers at big website design companies make such sites. They have high-speed connections to the Internet and assume everyone does.

Often these sites are slowed down by flash movies or complex graphics. Someone who has a slow dial-up modem can’t use them.

Using the Wrong Color

Having a colorful website is a good thing, but your text should be easy to read. To accomplish this, a site should have contrasting colors. For example, anyone can read black text on a white background much easier than white text on a background.

At the same time, you don’t want a boring website. The best colors will be attractive, even bold, but not put a strain on the eyes of potential customers. Too many colors do that. The most important things to be highlighted are your products and your website content.

Music

Believe it or not, adding music to a business website can be bad. Rather than being attractive to a potential customer, most visitors to a business site will mute the sound or go to another site in a hurry.

There are actually logical reasons for this. If a person is surfing the web at work, do you really think he or she will want others to know what is happening on company time? Even if someone is browsing the Internet in a coffee shop, he or she won’t want to hear music on a business site.

Some people even consider music unprofessional when put on a business site, even though it is fine for a personal site.

Using Flash Special Effects

Aren’t they beautiful? Aren’t they amazing? They can also drive your customers away, possibly never to return to your site. There are several reasons for this.

They cause major technical problems. Flash uses a lot of memory on your customers’ computers. This can slow them and their computers down. It could even cause their computers to crash. Is that a good way to attract new customers?

Such sites take a long time to download. By the time a page is loaded, you may have already lost your customer permanently. He or she may be looking at a similar site owned by a competitor.

Flash does not work on all Apple products. How many potential customers might be using an Apple device?

One thing that can make a website take a long time to load is blinking text or animated images. Some customers might consider such things to be unprofessional.

Did you know search engine crawlers can’t read Flash content? This can affect search engine results in a negative way and keep customers from even getting to your site.

Hiding Business Contact Information

You might wonder why anyone would do this on a business website, but amazingly, many business owners do. This is a common mistake business owners make. This can make you lose a lot of potential customers, because those browsing the web today are extremely impatient.

When someone uses Google to search for a service or product they want, they will click on the listing they find the most appealing first. This will be one in the top two or three positions for that category. Often, if a person can’t find contact information in less than ten seconds, he or she clicks the back button. After all, there are many other listings for that same product or service that can be found with only one click.

It may surprise you to know many company websites place their contact details in obscure places, such as at the footer of their site. This may make it seem like a business does not even want to be contacted. Regardless, it does make it difficult for potential customers to contact anyone from the business.

Owners of business websites should put their phone number, email address, and contact form where they are impossible to miss — the top right-hand corner, for example, is always a good choice.

Your company’s website has the potential to bring a lot of business your way. If you make any of these five mistakes, however, it can also keep you from getting new customers.

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