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Over the past few months we have been working with several business owners and their marketing managers with their website re-design projects. Many of these websites were designed over the past 3 – 5 years with very different objectives in mind at the time.
Much has changed since then: social media, better understanding of search engines, blogs, mobile devices, buyer/consumer online behavior, along with the number of different communication channels that people are sharing information on today, to name a few.
With all these changes over the past few years, our case to make recommendations to business owners and their teams to add a blog, monitor/engage in social media, or optimise your site for search engines for their business websites is compelling. While all of these things are important today, it may be just as relevant while doing your website re-design, to consider removing elements from your website that had become standard practice during that time.
1. Complicated Animations/Video – Flash-based animations can be bad for search engine optimisation. Remember that when users visit your website they are looking for something specific. Animations can often be slow to load, which slows down the user and can make them abandon your website.
2. Industry Jargon – Your website should be written for your customers. Assuming that potential customers know and understand industry terminology is a mistake. Look through your website and highlight terms that are not commonly used outside of industry circles. If you aren’t sure if a word should be removed, ask one of your customers if they are familiar with it. Delete the highlighted words and replace them with more common explanations.
3. Images – Images are important. Images help to tell a story. However, many websites have too many images. The problem with having too many images is that they can drastically slow down the load time for your website in a web browser. Search engines also take into consideration page load times when ranking websites. Websites that have been around for a while can often collect lots of images, and some of them no longer go with the content of the site. Keep some images, but go through and remove all images from your website that are not necessary.
4. Long Pages of Text – Research has shown that website users don’t like to scroll. Having a product page that is full of text and graphs that takes several scrolls to reach the bottom is asking for your information to be ignored. The truth is that if you have long text pages on your website, you are probably trying to communicate too many ideas on that page. Read through and ask yourself, “Is this all about one topic?” If the answer is “no,” then divide that page into a couple short pages that each contain a single idea. This type of simplification will make it easier for your visitors and search engines to understand what your site and business products and service are about.
5. “Contact Us” Form – Contact us forms don’t work. Instead of qualified leads, they mostly attract spam. Having your business contact information as part of your website is critical. However, when it comes to using forms, use landing pages. Landing pages provide a dedicated form that is connected to a lead generation offer. For example, if you have a form connected to a free trial, you clearly know that enquiries from that form are related to potential customers who want a free trial. You don’t have this clarity with a contact us form, and response rates for dedicated landing pages are much higher.