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Is Your Website Sabotaging Your Business?

Imagine this scenario: you've just finished a job for a happy client. As a matter of fact, they were so happy that they've let you know they sent another client your way. They need exactly what you're offering, and they need it fast. It's a sure thing.

However, it's been days, and the new client is nowhere to be found. No email, no call, just radio silence. You find yourself sitting there, thinking about all the reasons this job you're perfect for fell through.

Maybe their internet connection is really bad. Maybe it's not a good time of the month for them to be making an investment. Maybe they're on vacation. Or, a more likely reason: they took one look at your website and decided you're not a good match for them.

Clients judge your website, fast

No matter how awesome your product or service, clients won't believe it if your website doesn't project the same awesomeness. From a client's perspective, your website is the reflection of your trustworthiness and skill. It's the first thing they judge you on. And, according to Google, they do it fast - in as little as 0.05 seconds.

If that sounds like the quickest way to lose a client, that's because it is. What's worse, a client who's had a bad experience on your website once probably won't visit it ever again.

The bad news is, 88% of people won't give you a chance for a do-over. Instead, they'll bounce right off into the arms of your competitors. The good news? We know the most common reasons why and how to address them.

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Potential clients don't want to spend time waiting for your website to load. A study shows that they'll wait for about two seconds, so you'd better speed your website up if you want to keep visitors. Otherwise, they'll bounce before they even see what you're offering.

If one study isn't enough to convince you, Google's research backs this up further. If your loading speed is over three seconds, you can say goodbye to 32% of visitors. And if the page load speed gets to five seconds, the probability of website visitors bouncing increases by 90%.

To top this all off, search engines favor faster websites just as much as users do. This means that slow loading times also negatively impact your search engine rankings. So, not only are you losing potential customers, but you're also missing out on organic traffic.

What you can do about slow website loading speeds

First things first, you have to figure out why your website pages are loading slowly. To do this, you can go to Google's PageSpeed Insights. Once you've run a report, it will tell you which issues are impacting your website loading speed. For example, this can be:

  • Large media files
  • Outdated media file types
  • Large code files
  • Redirect chains
And that's just to name a few. Speeding up your website can get pretty technical, so you might want to consider hiring a freelancer to take care of it for you.

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Power tip by Jack

"To get the most accurate readings, test in Chrome's incognito mode to prevent any extension interference. Then, run a few tests using Lighthouse under Developer Tools to get an average and follow the fix advice under Learn More. Last, but not least, test on an actual phone - emulators are great, but not perfect. Remember to use both lab and field data. While controlled data is a great starting point, you shouldn't ignore how real users experience the site."

Mobile devices? We don't do that here

Ever tried accessing a website on your phone and ended up waiting for an eternity only to see a jumbled mess? That's because the site you clicked on was unresponsive.
In simple terms, this means it was designed to look good on a computer screen, but nobody took mobile devices into account. Thinking this isn't a huge issue because people can just look at your website from a computer?
You're underestimating the connection people have to their phones these days. A study by Boston Consulting Group shows just how much we love our mobile devices. In order to keep their phones, participants in the study said they'd rather give up more traditional needs.

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would give up seeing their friends in person

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would rather give up sex for a year

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would put off going on vacation

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would give up eating out for a year

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would rather work an extra day per week

And if that's not enough to convince you, there's also the fact that as much as 58% of all web traffic comes from mobile. If you don't have a responsive website, you're missing out on a huge chunk of potential clients.

What you can do to optimize your website for mobile

The best thing to do to make sure your website is mobile-friendly is to invest in responsive design. That way, your website will automatically adjust to whatever screen size it's opened on.

For mobile devices, increase the size of buttons, links, and other interactive elements to make touch input easier. Avoid using pop-ups that disrupt the mobile user experience. If they're absolutely necessary, make sure they're easy to dismiss and don't cover important content.

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Power tip by Jack

"When it comes to visuals, the pros use resolution switching. Vector images (.svg) take up less storage space and load faster. And if one of your visuals looks bad on mobile, there's always the option to ditch it there and keep it on desktop!"

Beating around the bush

Making your website visitors play detective while looking for information is a sure-fire way to make them run away. According to research, users will give your website's content just under six seconds to capture their attention. If they don't find what they're looking for in those six seconds, 61% will move on to another site.
Burying the most important information under walls of text, in the footer, or in a cluttered structure all have a negative impact on your website. Not having easy access to information they're looking for is off-putting and frustrates potential clients. What's more, you may be inadvertently making them think you're hiding something.

What you can do to optimize your website content

The first rule of website content is quality over quantity. You want to give visitors valuable information, not overwhelm them with too much text. Start by organizing your content in a way that flows logically and guides users through the information they are looking for.

Use headings, subheadings, bullet points, and visuals to break up text and make it easier to digest. Avoid using jargon or complex language that might confuse readers.
Make sure your key info is easily accessible on your homepage or in a clearly labeled menu. Don't make visitors dig through layers of content – keep things simple and straightforward.

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Power tip by Adam

"People are skimmers. Make sure your headings tell enough of a story on their own to make the entire page make sense. Most people will read the headings first as they scroll, and then go back to the paragraphs."

Sending potential clients on a treasure hunt

Speaking of telling a story and organization, your website navigation can also drive clients away. Users want to find what they're looking for quickly and easily. More specifically, they want it in 6.44 seconds, which is how much time they're ready to give your navigation menu.
And if they don't find what they were looking for? You've guessed it - they leave your site and go looking for it elsewhere.

What you can do to make your website easy to navigate

Keep things simple, direct, and user-friendly to avoid any frustration or confusion for your audience. Think of your navigation menu as a guide through your website. Make sure it has a logical structure and descriptive labels that let users know where they'll end up after clicking on a link.
Other navigation elements, such as call-to-action buttons and links, should also be clear and descriptive. Avoid "Click here", "More", and other vague terms that could mean just about anything. You want your users to click on your links, and they don't want to click on a link they don't know anything about.
Last, but not least, don't forget about the users who scroll to the bottom of a page. Including a well-organized footer with links to important pages means they don't have to scroll back to the main menu. What's more, it's an opportunity to group related pages together and help your users explore more of your website.

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Power tip by Hrvoje

"Lately, so-called mega menus have gained an increase in popularity. While they do take up a larger portion of the screen, they also create room for short descriptions that help users see what's behind your navigation links. If you can't keep your links short, clear, and obvious, provide users with more context through icons. This can help them visually interpret a portion of the information."

A blast from the past

If your website looks outdated or clunky, visitors will question its credibility. Just as a well-designed website projects an image of professionalism, an outdated one does the opposite.
Besides potentially thinking you're out of business, clients might also perceive outdated design as a security threat. And even if they still decide to engage with your website, the user experience is bound to put a nail in that coffin.
That's because outdated design makes navigation difficult for users who are used to sleek and modern interfaces. Modern designs prioritize user experience, which also includes mobile responsiveness and accessibility.
As much as 75% of people judge a business' credibility based on their website design. 57% say they wouldn't recommend a business with a poorly designed website. Looking at these numbers, it seems like it's better not to have a website at all than to have one that's not designed well.

What you can do to modernize your website design

If you're tired of reading the word "responsive", too bad, because that's the basis of modern design. It's closely followed by simplicity, so focusing on content that matters is your next step.
Remove the clutter to focus on your main message and sprinkle in some custom graphics if you can. If custom illustrations are out of your budget, stock imagery can work. However, dig a little bit deeper than the first page on stock image sites to avoid making your website look like everyone else's.
Last, but not least, long scrolling designs are currently all the rage. Bonus points for implementing a dark mode option for a more user-friendly experience.

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Power tip by Hrvoje

"Don't be afraid of white space. You don't have to use lines or different backgrounds to split up sections - just use white space. When you're designing the page and thinking about text alignment, imagine a single line guiding the eye from top to bottom. Then ask yourself: does that line break or does it flow seamlessly?"

So, is your website sabotaging your business?

Is it easy to find information? Does your website load quickly on both desktop and mobile devices? Are there clear calls-to-action guiding visitors towards making a purchase or contacting you? If you answered no to any of these questions, it's time to make some updates.

If it's not your website, maybe it's your docs

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Patricija Šobak's profile image
Patricija Šobak puts her talent in spotting questionable grammar and shady syntax to good use by writing about various business-related topics. Besides advocating the use of the Oxford comma, she also likes coffee, dogs, and video games. People find her ability to name classic rock songs only from the intro both shocking and impressive.