In a booming digital era, businesses without a website are businesses with slim chances for success. They forgo incredible online opportunities for spreading awareness, driving sales, and generating leads. Small organisations and start-ups are under even bigger pressure to use digital real estate as platforms for launching digital marketing and branding campaigns.
However, just having a website does not cut it. The bar for search engine optimisation (SEO) and web design rests higher than ever before. Besides, internet users are spoilt for choice and nothing puts them off like an archaic and outdated website. And so that there is no confusion, these flaws can be related to how your site looks, feels, or functions.
So, to remain competitive, you have to keep up with the times both in terms of underlying technology and aesthetics. Become adept at recognising these red flags before they turn away visitors and prospects.
Poorly structured navigation
First on the list of pitfalls is creating a bulky website that is hard to navigate. Namely, as a business grows and new offerings roll in, the web structure becomes bloated and features numerous pages and content pieces. The sheer amount of them is not a problem per se and is not a reason to panic. The main issue lies in the fact that it is trickier to maintain user-friendliness and rank high in search engines when juggling a lot of moving parts.
To foster a smooth navigation, pay close attention to how you categorise your products and services. Have a smart search bar to facilitate an organic discovery process. Keep the number of secondary elements on pages low and make sure media content is not distracting users. Take advantage of trends such as universal navigation – brands in the league of Disney and Mashable champion it to a great effect.
Lackluster on-page SEO
Having an SEO-friendly digital presence is an absolute must, but the problem is that the field evolves rapidly. Gone are the days when overstuffing articles with links and keywords proved to be fruitful. In fact, you should avoid this black-hat practice like the plague. See to it that keywords are relevant to your content and reduce their density. Never duplicate content – this provokes severe ranking penalties.
Note that major algorithm updates such as RankBrain emphasise dwell time and click-through rates. Thus, to make strides in SERPs, reorganise the content on your website and utilise on-page SEO. Fine-tune your meta tags, meta descriptions, URL structure, images, and other key elements. If you struggle with refurbishing the site, hire SEO marketing professionals and make your life much easier. Also, draw lessons from websites like Moz that both educate on and nail their on-page SEO staples.
Lack of mobile optimisation
The good old king desktop has been dethroned and the era of mobile era has been ushered in. Today, mobile searches account for the majority of all traffic and that is likely where much of your business originates from. To capture it, your website must display seamlessly across different screen sizes. Run the tests and see how you hold up. Ponder creating a mobile-friendly version of your website to accommodate those users.
Furthermore, you can use responsive design to improve mobile compatibility and eliminate problems like duplicated content and redirects. Brands such as Land Life Company from the Netherlands give us a master class in using this technique, so take notice.
Another option is to develop a dedicated app and encourage people to download it. In any shape or form, increasing mobile-friendliness delights your users and appeases search engines (that use this quality as a ranking factor).
Pages take too long to load
In recent years, average attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Users have no intention of coping with sluggish websites: it is estimated that 53% of them want a page to load within three seconds. Let’s put that in perspective. Believe it or not, a mere one-second delay can cost Amazon around $1.6 billion, which is why it is the second-fastest e-commerce site. Smaller businesses should strive to keep up the pace as much as possible.
Start speeding things up by sifting through the structure of your website – uncover any technical issues that could be causing slowdowns. While you’re at it, improve the quality of your coding and confirm your hosting package can accommodate larger volumes of traffic. Check whether you are running too many ads or using a bunch of different plug-ins. Finally, reduce the amount of on-page multimedia and fix broken HTML/CSS/JS files. You should be able to minimise bounce and boost conversion rates.
It is visually outmoded
A great website or a blog is always a picture-perfect reflection of a brand behind it. Therefore, it should speak volumes about its mission and value proposition. In other words, you need to flesh out your visual identity through design solutions like logos, colour palette, fonts, patterns, images, etc. Not only that but you need to use them to set yourself apart from the crowd.
At the same time, it is a good idea to keep an eye on what goes these days. Minimalist design certainly pops up first, as it dominates the modern internet aesthetics. And it is by no means a fad. Brands like Evoulve show us how keeping visual clutter and noise at bay improves UX and usability. So, you better learn to do more with less. Think of it this way: nowadays, simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.
If you really mean business, you cannot afford to get stuck in the online past and fall behind the competition. In fact, you must keep up with the dynamic times and stay on top of shifting consumer preferences. Commit to making tweaks and updates on a regular basis to create a smooth customer journey. Communicate your ideas and offerings clearly and add value to people’s lives.
Do yourself a favour and steer clear of obsolete SEO practices, spam tactics, and cumbersome web structure. Remember that your site has to be geared towards the mobile-first internet world and run like a well-oiled machine. Yes, there is a lot of ground to cover, but also no other viable strategy for those business owners intent on getting ahead of the game.
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