Running a website that actually works for your company is not an easy feat.
Yet there are a lot of ways that will make sure your website, well… suck.
Let’s get started!
#1 – Give no indication who you are
It is surprising how often companies and individuals don’t have an ‘about us’ page.
This page gives your visitors an obvious location to find out who you are, and how you can help them.
It’s the perfect chance to let your visitors and clients see behind the scenes of your company and learn something about you.
However this isn’t just for your ‘about us’ page, every page of your website should allow new visitors to identify who you are and what you offer.
#2 – Keep what your selling a secret
If you don’t have links to products pages, or items in the sidebar advertising how you can help someone, then they aren’t going to know about it.
Consequently, they aren’t going to purchase anything from you.
You don’t need to fill content with adverts and create posts about the service you provide, but you do need to make sure all of your visitors can identify what you offer, and where they can get it.
#3 – Don’t tell anyone what to do next
Call to actions are something on your website that tells your visitors to do something.
It might be an image telling you to buy the latest product, or a signup form telling people to join your mailing list.
You must direct people to the locations on the website that you want them to go.
If your selling products, set up a landing page and create a call to action to go at the end of articles.
Once you have done that, anyone who finishes an article will be told exactly what they should do next.
#4 – Never contact anyone by email
Email is an extremely powerful way of marketing your business and staying in regular contact with your visitors.
By simply adding a signup form to your website, you can start to capture emails.
The most important thing with email signups, is that your visitors are giving you their permission to contact them.
This means they don’t see your emails as spam, they want your content, they want to know what’s new.
#5 – Don’t let anyone contact you
Sometimes your visitors want to send you an email either asking for further information, or wanting to purchase an item from you.
If you don’t make it extremely easy for people to get in contact with you, they will get fed up of looking and go away.
That could be a lead you just missed.
#6 – Slow websites with large images are good for everyone
A slow website can drive traffic away from your website before it’s even loaded.
Not only that, but your search engine rankings will drop while pages that load quickly start to rank higher than you.
Get a good host for your website and make sure your pages are as optimised as they can be – that means getting rid of big images and bloated external scripts.
Take a look at this article to find out more ways you can speed up your website.
#7 – Once your page is created, just leave it alone
Google loves pages that don’t get updated and so do your clients – Yes, that is a lie.
Google is now promoting websites and pages that have fresh content, that means it has to be updated.
Anything that was created 10 years ago and used to rank well, probably doesn’t rank well any more.
Go through your website and update your important pages.
Make sure your content is fresh and relevant.
#8 – Don’t bother creating regular content
The easiest way to keep your website fresh, is to create regular content.
That might take the form of articles, video tutorials, pod casts, e-books, anything.
Just update your website regularly and consistently, and you will see some serious organic search engine traffic over time.
This isn’t an over night success job, and the content has to actually be useful and informative – not promotional.
#9 – Spell everything “fon-eh-tik-alee”
Spelling and grammar errors will very quickly make you look unprofessional.
Not everyone is perfect, unless your business is writing or proof reading, people don’t mind the occasional error, however if your content is riddled with mistakes, your visitors will get bored of reading and leave without looking back.
If you can, get someone else to read through your articles before they go live, if not, re-read what you have written at least twice before you hit that publish button.
#10- Don’t reply to comments
Replying to comments can be very time consuming (if you are actually receiving any).
But comments are a brilliant opportunity to connect with your audience.
By simply replying, you can turn a reader into a fan, and maybe even someone who purchases a product off you.
If you are receiving hundreds of comments, you might want to only reply to the first 10 on each post, but make sure people see that you take an interest in what they say, otherwise you will quickly find you have a lack of messages coming in.
#11 – Make the text too small to read
When you are looking at your website, do you have to lean forward to read it?
If so, your font size is too small.
Make life easy on your website visitors and allow them to read your content without having to strain their eyes.
Increasing the font size is really easy, and there is no excuse for making your content hard to read.
#12 – Remove any website tracking software
There are many tools that can track where your visitors go on your website.
By simply viewing the popular pages, you can get an idea on the products or articles that your visitors are most interested in.
This can give you great insight into what you should be doing more of!
If people love your ‘how to’ article, then create more articles on that same topic and your readers will keep coming back.
#13 – Load up your pages with broken links
Broken links are not only bad for search engines, they are bad for your visitors.
They make your company look unprofessional and will quickly annoy anyone who clicks the broken links.
Sign up to Google Webmaster Tools and make sure you don’t have any broken links.
If your website is built in WordPress, consider installing the ‘Broken Link Checker‘ plugin.
#14 – Stuff your pages full of keywords
Google has recently been cracking down on websites that stuff their pages with keywords.
While it’s a good thing to consult the Google Keyword Tool before you create an article, having keywords dashed all over the content is only going to get you penalised.
Keywords are a good thing within your pages, but you don’t need to have every industry keyword on individual pages.
It’s always considered best to write content for your audience before you write content for search engines.
#15 – Don’t make use of social media
Social media has really taken off in the past few years.
So much so, that search engines are taking into account your authority on social networks when ranking your content.
You would be hard pushed to find anyone that isn’t on a social network these days, which means your audience is also on a social network.
Find out which networks they use then start building your presence where they are.
Remember to use the social platforms to connect with your target audience, promote content and drive traffic back to your website.
#16 – Don’t bother with a design
The design of your website is extremely important.
It can convey a message of the type of company you are, and can start to build expectations.
If you have a website with a design that people don’t like, that will influence their buying decisions.
You need to have a design that matches your values as a business. Saying “that will do” will not cut it.
#17 – Don’t bother with a mobile friendly website
Mobile browsing is at an all time high, and it’s set to increase.
On this website, just under 20% of the visits are on a mobile device – that could be phone or tablet.
That figure is typical of the other websites I manage.
Therefore, if your website doesn’t work on either a mobile or tablet device, then that is 20% of your visitors you are letting go.
#18 – Don’t make your website user friendly
Taking a look at the usability of your website is a must.
If the people who come to your website can’t find the information they are looking for, they are going to leave.
You need to take time to ensure your navigation and the structure of your pages makes sense and is easy to use.
This is something that should be seamless, so don’t expect praise for it – but if it goes wrong, you will know about it.
#19 – Add long forms to your website
Lots of companies want to capture as much information about their user base as possible.
And that normally means adding lot’s of extra fields to a signup form.
If you ask for more fields than you require, then you are scaring away people who would normally sign up.
By removing the extra fields, you will see an increase in signups, and your users will thank you more for not wasting their time.
If extra information is required, then let them know why.
#20 – Do everything without a target audience in mind
Your target audience are the people who are most likely to purchase a product or service from you.
They are the ideal people for your business.
If you create a website and content that isn’t going to help these people, then they aren’t going to come to your website.
I’m sorry to say this, but your opinion on what you would like, really doesn’t matter.
What do your customers want to see? What’s their favourite colour? What do they expect your website to provide?
If you can create and run a site with your target audience in mind, you increase your chances of success.
#21 – Don’t listen to your web developer/designer’s suggestions
Your web developers and web designers are experts in websites.
They spend all day tinkering, researching new things on the internet, learning what works and what doesn’t.
If you want a website that works for you, you need to take your personal thoughts out of it and listen to your designer and developer.
Once your website is in place, you need to start listening to who ever is marketing the website as they have the data on what is actually working.
But for the initial starting point, please do yourself a favour and listen to the person who is actually working on the website.
As a side note, that doesn’t include print designers – the web is very different to any offline marketing platforms.
There is no reason for you to have a website that sucks.
Yes there is a little investment required to make a website that works for you, but without that investment – be it time or money – you have a website that isn’t doing anything for your company.
This list is certainly not comprehensive. How else could you make a website that sucks? Let me know in the comments below.