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Website Audits Reveal Top 7 Website Mistakes

Website Audits Reveal Top 7 Website Mistakes Since late last year Think Tank has been performing Website Audits for clients that want to make sure their websites are in tip top shape. Sometimes they have specific concerns and other times they simply want an outside opinion on their website's effectiveness. During the course of performing these Website Audits we look for reasons why visitors become lost, abandon their shopping carts, don't complete forms, etc. Looking back, we noticed that we kept seeing the same problems over and over. Here is a list of the top 7 most frequent website mistakes.

1) Requiring Visitors To Create An Account
Let's face it, in today's culture we are inundated with hundreds of things that require logins and passwords. Adding another set to that list is a major turn-off. This is very often cited by online shoppers as a key motivation for shopping cart abandonment. Instead, offer a guest checkout. It's faster, more convenient and will reduce cart abandonment.

2) Requiring Too Much Personal Information On Forms
Not seeing the amount of people filling out your forms that you'd like? Maybe you're asking for too much. Often times in this scenario we see that the client isn't being realistic about the amount of info they require in their forms. For instance, if I sign up for an email newsletter I completely expect you to require my email address and perhaps my first and last name. I do not, however, expect you to require info like my phone number or mailing address to send me your email newsletter. Instead ask for the bare essentials to complete the task. Sure, you may not get all the customer's other info but you don't want to lose the visitor in the attempt.

3) Bad Product Photography
While the emergence of online shopping has created greater convenience for the average consumer it has also created some challenges. One often cited complaint is not being able to handle items. To be able to feel a product's weight, quality, etc. Although the ecommerce industry has not yet figured out how to perfectly fix this problem, we can do our best to compensate for these shortfalls.

We find that savvy online retailers are leveraging their photography to show their product from many different angles including relevant detail shots. We also found that the higher the price being asked for these items the more that product required these details. Many online retailers are also demonstrating their products in use with video, which when done right can dramatically increase sales.

4) Not Using The Right Terminology
Many websites speak over their customer's head. Too often we find that the person who wrote the text was very familiar with their industry. Usually an expert. Always using the correct industry jargon and acronyms. But how does this benefit the customer? Do they work in your industry? Do they understand the acronyms? The tech talk? Chances are no.

Remedy this by using terminology that the average consumer would understand. When a visitor arrives at your website it should be very clear to them who you are, what you do and who you do it for. If it isn't, you will have a difficult time turning visitors into customers.

5) No Call-To-Action
You no doubt have a fews things that you want your website's visitors to do. Things like making a purchase, completing a form, or picking up the phone. But how do they know what to do if you don't tell them? You need to guide visitors along to take the desired action. Tell them what to do and what they will get when they do it.

But don't stop there. Do some testing. Visitors will respond differently to different prompts. What if changing just one word could increase the amount of visitors that take your desired action by 150%? You'll never know until you test your theory, evaluate the results and then apply that knowledge to another test to continually increase your conversion rate.

6) Inconsistent Layout
Nothing confuses a website's visitors quicker than changing your layout from one page to the next. Although you may feel like you'd like to "switch it up", don't. We can all admire the desire to be different but websites are useful to visitors only when they are easy to use. Visitors should be able to navigate to what they want quickly and easily in as few clicks as possible.

To illustrate the problem, think of a book that on one page you read top to bottom, left to right. But the very next page reads bottom right to top left, then the next page yet another way. Would you understand that story?

7) Doesn't Work On Mobile Devices
I'm not going to get into the many intricacies between devices (of which there are many). But we now live in a world where most visitors will be using tablets or smartphones to browse the web. Your website is no exception. Have you ever looked at your website on these devices?

Often times we found that navigation became confusing, requiring pinching and zooming in and out to get around. Page load times were sometimes excessive. Content didn't always appear because it was created in Flash. And worse yet, some ecommerce websites did not allow customers to complete the checkout process.

We find that many companies still do not yet have a completely mobile friendly website but are quickly moving in that direction. In the meantime don't completely turn off customers who may be using a mobile device. Test on those devices to make sure they do indeed work and you can complete the checkout process.

I can go on and on, but I won't.
Performing Website Audits has turned up some fascinating epiphanies. Many more than the above 7 website problems but I thought I would start here so it can help others shore up any holes or problems they have with their websites. After all, if your website's not making you money, it's costing you money.

Do you need a Website Audit?
To talk to an experienced web design professional you can call (909) 393-6363, email us or use our quote request form.

If you liked this blog post, you may also be interested in How Do You Gauge The Effectiveness of Your Website? and How Do Most Online Retailers Find Problems With Their Shopping Cart?

Heath Meyette
, Web and Graphic Designer at Think Tank Designs, Creative Director at Think Tank Designs

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