The 10 biggest website mistakes and how to avoid them
by Lindsey Witcherley on Sep 28, 2021
Are you losing potential leads because of a poorly performing website? Check these common mistakes made by brands and fix the issues that are limiting your conversions.
Your website is crucial for the success of your business, yet it is all too easily forgotten in the day to day running of an organisation. Content errors, lack of keywords and a poorly thought out user journey are just a few of the biggest website mistakes B2B businesses make. That’s why we have compiled a checklist to help you prioritise fixing the most common – and costliest – mistakes.
Even the most innovative businesses and genius designers are sometimes led astray by faulty assumptions or outdated design principles.
Use this infographic to quickly identify and fix the key issues that are limiting your digital conversions.
We have compiled a detailed checklist to help you prioritise fixing the most common – and costliest – mistakes.
1. Website strategy
When was the last time you revised your website strategy? And how does it fit in with that of the wider business? For older websites and businesses, perhaps you’ve been grappling with legacy systems for a while and, in the meantime, your route to market or customer base has changed. In this case, you’ll need to revise the current strategy.
Have your customers' needs changed in light of the pandemic? What are their most common pain points and how does your website help answer these problems? You can have the slickest web design and the snappiest content on the market but none of this will mean a thing unless you have a clearly defined website strategy. To that end, each page on your site should support the overall strategy, and you’ll need to set up page goals to test their success.
Nobody sets out to create a website with poor navigation – mostly it just happens over time as a website evolves. Perhaps new service pages were added, or stakeholders requested whole new sections. All of these mean that, eventually, websites can become nightmares to navigate. One simple antidote to this that is easy to overlook is to execute a robust internal linking strategy, where pages that add value to each other are connected and easy to find for visitors.
We have all had the experience of landing on a website and getting lost in a black hole of half-interesting pages. This universal experience has a singular consequence – that we never went back to that website again. Don’t let your site suffer the same fate. Rigorously analyse and collect data on customer movements (Google Analytics is an obvious starting point but also implement Hotjar and Google Tag Manager to delve deeper into how users navigate your site). Be quick to make changes if there are glaring navigational issues, and also be ready to push back when upper management decides to add something new without thinking of the content from an SEO or UX perspective. Help them to become aware of the consequences and use website data to help make your case.
Providing a fantastic user experience (UX) should be priority numero uno when developing a B2B website. Even more so than B2C customers, B2B web visitors – with typically more capital-intensive and time-pressured decisions to make – are unforgiving when faced with an unimpressive online presence. UX also has a significant impact on SEO (see point #4 below), with Google increasingly on the lookout for websites that inspire brand loyalty and provide the most value to their customer base.
Factors such as mobile responsiveness, URL structure and the overall look and feel of your website – aligned with content quality and domain authority – can be the difference between an impressive Google ranking and languishing on the fourth page with the elephant bones. The design of your website is particularly important – is there a good visual balance between content and white space? Does every page have a logical flow that answers a problem and provides a solution? Are you anticipating your users’ next actions on every page? By ensuring your website poses and solves the right questions you are on the right track to solid UX.
Search optimised content should be the foundation of your website. Without it, Google and other search engines will make it difficult for prospective customers to find you. Done correctly, however, with a solid keyword strategy and regular monitoring of Google Search Console and tools like SEMRush you can start to dominate search results and transform the online visibility of your website. According to one study in 2019, well-executed SEO drives 1000% more traffic than organic social media (BrightEdge, 2019) – and this number is growing.
The technical details of an efficient SEO strategy are for another blog post, but choosing the right keywords and investing in talented content creators are the two basic essentials for securing Google's much sought-after EAT – expertise, authoritativeness and trust. Put the hard yards in now, get the SEO strategy in place, and reap the benefits for years to come.
Content marketing is now so essential to business success that it in some way. However, there is a huge difference between ‘content marketing’ and effective content marketing. The truth is, there is a lot more to it than hiring a graduate and creating a blog – and the company in your industry that gets it right will reap the rewards.
First, consider the personas (or individual audience members) you are targeting with your current content. Can you define them? Do they even exist? A well-worn piece of writing advice is that the writer should only attempt to tell his or her story to one person. The same goes for content marketing – aim specific content at specific people, or at least specific personas, to ensure it maintains focus and hits the right notes. “When you try to be everything to everyone,” writer Bonnie Gillespie notes, “you accomplish being nothing to anyone.”
Second to creating work that delights specific members of your audience, you should also consider what Google considers high quality content. Forbes states that websites with less than 300 words per page are considered “thin” by Google's standards and, most likely, won't rank as highly in search. Consider using the Flesch readability score in order to make your content easier to read and consume, though be careful not to compromise crucial information for simplicity, which is even more important in a B2B context when technical subjects are being explored.
Video marketing is one of the most powerful strategies for engaging and converting your target audience. Over 87% of marketers who have used video say that it has helped to improve their B2B website strategy and has increased high quality B2B website traffic (Wyzowl, 2020). Even so, many B2B websites neglect this type of content, maybe because they mistakenly believe it is expensive to create, or that their product does not lend itself well to a visual format.
Wrong on both counts. Video creation does not have to break the bank, and all products can be showcased via video, whether they are physical, digital, or simply intangible aspirational ideas (here’s looking at you, management consulting). The key is to understand what your customer really wants, and how they consume content; then you can start to plan a video campaign that will hit the right buttons. This video script template from our partners at HubSpot is a great place to start.
7. Slow load times
According to Google, 53% of visitors to mobile sites will leave if a page takes longer than three seconds to load. With the unprecedented upheaval of the pandemic and the emphasis on digital transformation, we expect our digital experience to be lightning fast and seamless – any B2B websites that are caught napping will surely be left behind for a more nimble competitor.
Common issues that cause slow website loading are large and unoptimised images, animated file formats that need to be translated into HTML or CSS, too many background textures or images, and too many frontend library files – many of which may be unnecessary bells and whistles. Be ruthless with your website load speed because if it is too slow, your customer will never see all of the cool animations and features you have created for them. If in doubt, lean towards a simple and clear website interface that answers your customer’s questions without trying too hard.
8. Not built for mobile
How many times have you had to zoom in on a website when browsing on your mobile or tablet? In the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 54.8% of global website traffic, consistently hovering around the 50 percent mark since the beginning of 2017 (Statista, 2021). Additionally, over 60% of smartphone users have contacted a business directly via Google search results (Think with Google, 2019).
‘Mobile first’ is no longer just jargon, but reality. B2B websites that are not optimised for mobile will be missing out on a lot of lead generation and conversion opportunities, not least because Google is moving definitely towards mobile first indexing on its search pages. If you want to build or even maintain your online presence, now is the time to embrace responsive web design and to create a powerful hybrid desktop/mobile experience that busy prospective customers will appreciate.
9. No CTAs
Every page on your website should have one primary goal. This ‘call to action’ (CTA) does not always have to be to sell a product – it could be to download a guide, or direct users to a relevant, deeper page. Whatever the CTA is, its success or failure will show you the effectiveness of your on-page content.
Without CTAs, your website is like a rudderless ship – it exists, but it has no final destination. By analysing the data of previous website visitors you can sketch out the journey of your ideal customer and create content and CTAs that map to each stage of this journey. According to HubSpot, personalised calls to action convert 202% better than standard CTAs, making it even more important that you define and customise your website to your specific audience.
10. No ongoing optimisation plan
The immortal Greek writer Homer once wrote: “Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”
The same goes for your website. The world is transforming as we speak – your competitors are evolving, technology is improving, your customers are changing their mind constantly as they are bombarded with ever more slick, sophisticated and targeted B2B social media ads, websites and webinars. Your website might be effective right now, but tomorrow it will be old. You need to stay on top of things with a clear ongoing optimisation plan that adheres to your overall corporate strategy. A bespoke reporting dashboard in HubSpot CMS Hub can help you capture high quality data that can help inform the continuous evolution of your website, as the demands and desires of your customers change with the times.
As you add new products, review your navigation and ongoing SEO strategy. As you create new content – whether that is blog content, landing pages or feature pages – don’t upload it at random, but ensure everything fits together like a jigsaw puzzle; a jigsaw puzzle that will continue to delight your customers (and Google) way into the future.
For example, look to create long-form ‘pillar pages’ that showcase your subject matter expertise, then repurpose this content into a series of blog posts expanding on sub-topics within the pillar page and linking back to it. This approach combines brand messaging, thought leadership, UX and SEO thinking.
Because ultimately, Homer was right – we won’t be here again, but hopefully we will still be here tomorrow. Fix these biggest website mistakes and plan for the future and you will not only be here, but you will thrive.
Ready to create a website that will engage, inform and convert your audience? You’re in luck! Get in touch today to see how our award-winning web design and UX team can help.