The worst part of having a website that doesn’t seeming to be producing the website traffic results you want is that the reasons often aren’t staring you right in your face. While obvious in hindsight, these mistakes are difficult to spot if you don't know what you're looking for. Here are 10 of the most common reasons your website traffic might be floundering.
- It's Slow to Load
Slow-loading webpages with large images and copious amounts of copy can be the death of a website. Although your site might load quickly on your own machine, your consumers may not be having the same experience. Unfortunately, things like browser type and Internet connection can have a negative effect on a site’s load time. If your site doesn't load within 2 seconds of a consumer clicking on the link, they'll probably leave the site and never return. Test your site's load speed with tools like GTmetrix to determine if you've overloaded it.
- It Looks Outdated
With website design trends evolving by the day, it’s hard to stay on top of the latest looks. Not so long ago, Flash was the standard. Now, it's HTML5. If your website looks like it’s from a different era, customers will see a major red flag. Red flags to consumers equal less credibility. And once you lose a customer’s trust, there’s no coming back. You don’t have to change up your design every month, but it’s worth checking to see if you’re still up to date every year or so.
- It Doesn't Have Content
It’s true—a business's website is more than a way to get to your customer's wallets. In today’s online world, a content section can be as important as a contact section. With content, you can give customers ideas or help them solve problems related to your industry or product. And content helps lead to organic traffic. Most of your organic search hits won't be from people specifically searching for your product; it'll be from people looking for ideas or to solve a problem. Create content (articles, lists, videos, etc.) related to those ideas and problems, and you'll attract more website traffic than before.
- It's Hard to Navigate
The primary purpose of a website is to educate. Whether checking out your product or service, searching for contact information, or reading content, visitors demand an easy-to-navigate website. Take a look at your analytics on a weekly or monthly basis. If you find that people are not visiting certain pages as frequently as others, perhaps they are hard to find or don’t naturally fall in line with other pages. Consider holding a focus group of neutral people who can give you suggestions on color schemes, tab names, site layout, and where to place call-to-action buttons.
- It Doesn't Guide Users to Other Pages
Similar to site navigation, one of the most common pitfalls many sites fall into is not guiding their users. Not all of your visitors will come to your site with a clear idea or land on a page relevant to their needs. Make sure that every page helps the user reach another destination. Search options, links, even site diagrams—all these and more will make for a more positive user experience. An easy way to do this is to generate content that links to another piece of content. This tactic will easily push consumers through your site and, ultimately, to the sales funnel.
- It's Not Mobile-Friendly
Perhaps more important than navigation and guiding the customer is having a site that is mobile-friendly. If your site isn’t compatible with mobile devices, you run the risk of not being noticed at all. In fact, Google has implemented a system that prioritizes mobile users by giving higher search results to mobile-friendly and optimized websites. Which seems important seeing as 48% of mobile users say search is the most common starting point for doing research on a product or service. If you want to stay in the game, you'll need to make sure your site has a responsive design, including buttons that people won't have trouble pressing on a smaller screen.
- It's Got Too Many Bells and Whistles
Dramatic music and catchy videos are cool, but they have their place, and that place is not when someone opens your page. There are plenty of reasons for this, from simple annoyance to bandwidth usage concerns. Mobile devices, in particular, may not be able to handle everything at once. Keep it as simple as possible. If videos are a must, give users the option to play them at their leisure. Use bullet points to keep things from getting cluttered, and to allow customers to process information in comfortable chunks.
- It's Full of Jargon
To properly deliver a message, you must speak in a manner that the audience understands. That doesn't mean dumbing it down, but we do recommend taking a look at your message from an outsider’s view. If and when you do a focus group, take special note of terms they don’t understand. Just because a consumer is interested in your product doesn't mean they know a lot about your industry. Use technical terms only when absolutely necessary, and when you do so, make sure to explain what they mean.
- It Doesn't Show Important Information
Transparency is essential to building trust with consumers (see our article on transparency marketing here). If people think you're hiding something, they'll opt to find another company who seems more upfront. So it's important to make sure information—such as contact information, address, and social media accounts—is readily available and visible. Plenty of websites don't have this information, and those websites are often viewed as less credible. Avoid being labeled as such by making the important information easy to find.
- It Lacks Calls to Action
Everything on your website has a purpose. While your content is designed to help consumers solve their problems, its ultimate role is to generate sales and leads. This role falls apart if you don't have calls to action. Be sure to make them clear to the visitor by putting them in a button, icon, or hyperlink that grabs attention.
These may not be the only things affecting your website’s performance, but it’s a great place to start. Fine-tuning your website will yield great results, so we recommend making it a priority. If you need more information about how users view websites, check out this article on 15 Interesting Facts on How People View Websites.