Five Ways Your Website Is Turning Customers Off and How to Fix It


Five Ways Your Website Is Turning Customers Off and How to Fix It

Think of your website as the doorstep to your business. As a minimum, it’s your shopfront. It may even be your whole business.

And yet, so many businesses have websites that make them look sloppy at best and downright incompetent at worst.

Here are five of the most common mistakes, along with some tips on how to fix them.

1. Lay off the cheesy stock photos.

Lord, save us from another photo of business people shaking hands. The images on your website speak volumes about your business; all without saying a word. Cheesy, generic stock images tell me that your business is generic and uninteresting and also, that you’ve given no thought to how to present yourself.

How to fix it: If you can find the budget, hire a photographer to take some photos that capture the essence of you and your business. This doesn’t have to be a costly exercise, but it’s worth taking the time to find a great photographer who ‘gets’ what you are all about. Ask around to get a recommendation. Once you’ve found a good photographer at the right price, make sure you’re clear on what you’ll get for your money. For example, some photographers don’t automatically give you the right to use your images into the future, so, make sure you read the small print.

2. Avoid information overload.

This is a common problem, not just with websites but in presentations, brochures and almost anywhere that businesses talk about themselves. When we’re close to a topic, we often want to communicate everything all at once. This is too much; we need to take our customer by the hand and lead them step-by-step through the information in a way that gives them just enough to pique their interest at each stage. Customers don’t need to know absolutely everything about your business or service when they visit your website. Some things are best saved for further down the track.

How to fix it: Pick the top three to five things you want your website to communicate and make sure that it does this effectively. This might be: who you are; the services you offer; and why customers should work with you. Don’t get bogged down in all the details. Once you’ve got the customer interested, make sure there are ample ways for them to learn more. Which brings me to my next point…

3. Give them something to do.

If you don’t give the customer something further to do on each page of your website, they are much more likely to just leave without doing anything.

How to fix it: For every page of your website, consider, what is the one thing you want the customer to ‘do’ on this page? It could be to: connect with your social media channels; download a PDF; sign up for a workshop; or something else. Whatever it is, make this one thing prominent and straightforward so that the next step the customer can take, is abundantly clear.

4. Avoid business jargon.

Business jargon is everywhere. I went looking for some examples, and within two clicks I unearthed one website that offers to “Iteratively weave together insights through a series of strategic sprints.” Another promised to “Use innovative methods to unlock your business’s hidden potential and develop pragmatic and scalable improvement opportunities designed to drive effectiveness and efficiency”. Let’s be clear, the use of long and bamboozling words serves only to make the person using them feel clever. Unfortunately, it does nothing to communicate the real value in what you do.

How to fix it: Think about the value people get when they work with you. Then communicate this as you would to a 12-year-old. Avoid over-used business words like ‘scalable’ or ‘innovative’. Ask yourself, “Is it really innovative?” And even if it is, would a different word, one that we haven’t heard a million times be a more impactful way to communicate this?

5. Cut out spelling and grammatical mistakes.

This is a quick and easy way to completely undermine yourself, and it’s so unnecessary. Spelling mistakes, glaring grammatical errors and even sections of ‘lorem ipsum’ text on your website; these are unforgivable. For example, I’m looking at a website right now that has the company name in quotation marks all the way through. Not necessary, people!

How to fix it:

  • Use the spell checker on your computer.
  • Get yourself a style guide and use it. You could try The Australian Business Style Guide, from The Australian Writers’ Centre or The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and EB White.
  • Check that your web designer has correctly transcribed your copy onto your website. This is where numerous mistakes creep in, in my experience.
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