6 Scariest Web Mistakes
Happy Halloween! In this time of year when monsters and ghouls run rampant, and people go out of their way to be frightened, it is important to differentiate “good” fear from “bad” fear. Don’t scare your users away with these scary web scenarios. Increase your sales and conversions with a few easy changes.
1) The Dead Links
It’s important that your site be periodically checked for dead links. Nothing is more frustrating than clicking on an enticing link only to end up at 404 Not found page. Don’t let your site become a graveyard of dead links, or else you’ll be haunted by an increased visitor dropoff rate and lack of interest in your business.
PRO TIP: It’s easier than ever to checking your site for these link carcasses with free services like http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com. Just input your domain name into the URL field and it will do all the detective work for you. Then you find that particular link on your site and either reanimate, or exterminate it.
2) Lost in Navigation
Let’s say you’re in a mall. You’re at Old Navy looking for children’s socks (or dog bikinis. or toe rings). You don’t see any signage, no one is offering to help you, the place is a disorganized mess and you can’t find what you’re looking for. In less than a few moments, you say to yourself, “Sod this, I’ll go next door to Target” and off you go. Let’s say Target’s signage is much better, the aisles are bigger, the sections more clearly delineated and within two minutes, you’ve found exactly what you wanted. Done.
The same thing happens on your website. If a visitor is lost on your website, they are not obligated to stay. The web is a big place, and it’s likely that there are many other websites that will meet the needs of that user if yours doesn’t. Don’t let your site visitors get lost, because they’ll abandon it swiftly. Keep them on your page with a logical and simple navigation structure and a robust search functionality.
PRO TIP: Look at how your competition lays out their site. Visit their site and yours as if you were a new visitor looking for specific information. See how many clicks it takes you to find the information you want.
3) Terrible Images
Blurry pictures work fine for Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, ghosts, and UFOs. They entice fear and promote debate of the possibility of authenticity. Low quality images on your website, on the other hand, are counterproductive. Low quality images give the instant impression that your company is cheap, shady, or insecure, or possibly all three. The average website visitor makes a quick judgment in fewer than 3 seconds and they either flee or stay depending on what they see. It’s well worth it to spend time and money on purchasing or creating high quality images, since this investment will keep users on your page for longer, raising the possibility of a sale or conversion to becoming a repeat customer.
4) Ghost Audio
Imagine that you are at home casually browsing the Internet. You click on a news article that your friend posted on Facebook, and you’re quietly reading the content. All of the sudden, music that you don’t even like is blaring through your speakers. You instinctively quit that window in your browser and resolve never to go back to that annoying site.
Don’t impose “forced” content on your site visitors. Always allow them to opt-in voluntarily to watch a video or listen to audio.
PRO TIP: Do you want a visitor to play a video or listen to a clip? Don’t force it upon them by making it automatic; instead make that content more visible and more enticing. Get their consent, and interest, before showing them the content.
5) Scary Fonts
Have you ever noticed someone’s handwritten scrawl and anticipated the pain of having to muddle through it? If your website is eliciting those feelings, your site will suffer from visitor drop offs and low conversion rates. When choosing a font, first ask yourself – is it easy to read? Will it strain the eyes? How old are my target site visitors and do they all need magnifying glasses to read this? The next question is: is this a good font? Comic Sans may strike your fancy, but there are good reasons why many websites would avoid that font.
PRO TIP: Looking for a cool new font that’s different from the rest? A unique, but readable web-friendly font will go a long way towards establishing your brand’s online identity. Check out Google’s 2014 best fonts right now. http://www.awwwards.com/20-best-web-fonts-from-google-web-fonts-and-font-face.html .
6) Hacked Sites
Hackers are not just something you see in the movies. Many hackers have programs, called bots, that automatically find security holes in insecure systems. It is crucial that you are constantly keeping up to date with security, especially if your website is built on popular open source platforms such as WordPress or Magento. Keeping up to date with security includes periodically changing your password, and making sure your password is secure, updating the application and plugins, and more. The last thing you want is someone coming to your website to buy a pair of slippers only to be redirected to www.AngryBeaversXXX.com