Did you know that a giant Pacific octopus has 9 brains and 3 hearts?!


That allows him to move his tentacles separately one from another and do many different things at the same time. I don't know why he'd use 3 hearts for, though.

Maybe he has 3x courage than any other being on a planet?

an octopus under the sea
Photo by Serena Repice Lentini / Unsplash

Now, you might be wondering what the heck an octopus has to do with small-business owners and websites.

Well, a lot. Because every small-business owner today is an octopus.

While you're reading this, you're probably also doing accounting, delivering products, and calling suppliers. All that while handling internal processes, promoting, reaching out to new customers... Β 

You're like a small Swiss Army knife, possessing every skill in the arsenal you might need when doing business. No money to waste.

That means you've also probably built your website all by yourself.

Building your own website and online presence is not easy


Congrats! Hey, I do it for a living, I know it's not easy. You have to:

  • Choose a domain and a hosting provider.
  • Install a theme and adapt it to your needs.
  • Add content, logo, images, stuff.
  • Add a blog section.
  • Connect social media.
  • Ask your friends and family for feedback.
  • Follow their advice.
  • Ask again.
  • Do it your own way anyway.
  • Rinse. Repeat.

So many steps. 🀯


You should be proud of yourself when you do all of this. Hell yeah, I'm proud of you as well. Nice work, you little Swiss Army Knife!


However!

When we're doing all by ourselves, it's easy to miss a spot here and there.

Sometimes it's a tiny design mistake, and sometimes it's a crucial element you just forgot, but it keeps chasing people away. Worry not, you aren't alone in this one.

a book with a title Failed it, how to turn mistakes into ideas and other advice for successfully screwing up
Photo by EstΓ©e Janssens / Unsplash


People often ask us to analyze their websites. After doing hundreds of analyses, we found 10 common mistakes that people make. They're so common that we made an article about it.


Read further to find out more and see if it's something you've done on your website. This article will help you to fix the issues without having to hire a developer, thus saving you money.

Want to have your website checked? No time to check it by yourself? Apply for our free website audit and get a 5-page report with all the leaks and prevent readers from leaving your website.

1. Too much information in one place

Here we go.

Know that feeling when you meet someone and you want to tell them your whole life story? Or imagine the other way around.

Overwhelming, isn't it?

Well, that's what so many people do on their websites. Pilling up all the relevant and irrelevant info on one page doesn't really help you nor it informs your readers.

Just look at this (quite frankly, bizarre) example:

a badly designed website with random pictures all over it
source: arngreen

Every piece of content on your website should be based on logic.

Take ahrefs.com page for example:

homepage of ahrefs.com, an example of a well-structured website
source: ahref.com

See how easy it is for you to understand what they do and what's the next step? If you want to read more, there's a Help section, Blog section...

Think of it as a process of getting to know each other on a date.

  • First you tell jokes.
  • Then you tell a personal story.
  • Then you go on a second date and share the nitty gritty details etc.

How to fix your website:

  • First and foremost, show your website to someone and ask them if they clearly understand what's your business about
  • Split info into cohesive chunks – make a structure on a piece of paper.
  • Use the WHHWC formula – What, How, How much, Who else bought this, Contact
  • Use headlines – h1, h2, h3 and make paragraphs
  • State your offer clearly on a homepage, on a hero shot, above the fold
  • Make dedicated pages for detailed info about your product or services

2. Too many Call-to-Action buttons on the page

Click here to download. To schedule. Call. Contact us. Give us your email. Follow us on Facebook.

Share this. Activate Death Star. Find the aliens.

This is very common.

In hopes of not missing anything, website owners often pile up on visitors with plenty of choices.

First of all, this can cause a so called analysis paralysis (aka. when you're overwhelmed with myriad of choices so you choose nothing).

Second, putting it all on one place causes confusion.

Take a look at this example:

a website with download buttons all over
I think they haven't asked me to download it enough.

Honestly, I don't know where I'd click.

Now take a look at this example.

A homepage template for a mobile app, CTA-s well placed
Source: Pinterest

Much better, huh?

See how every section has it's own button, depending on a goal?

Now, let's take a look at the Evernote website. See how their above-the-fold home section revolves around one simple button – Sign up for free.

That's it. Main offer. Structured info. One button. An easy choice to make, right?

a homepage of the evernote website as an example of a page with one CTA button
evernote.com

Or this web page:

a template for a yoga fitness website
Source: Templateum.com

3 Call-To-Action buttons, all perfectly structured.

By the way, this is a template. Searching for templates that are already structured the right way could make things easier for you from the get-to.

How to fix:

  • Ask yourself one simple question: What should people do when they read this?
  • Remember what we talked about structuring your page? What, How, How much, Who else, Buy.
  • When you define an answer, write down all Call-to-Action buttons you'd like to put on a page. Split them into relevant and irrelevant.
  • Divide page into sections and place the buttons. One choice (2 max) per section. Make it easy for people to decide.

3. Asking for too much information in your contact or download form

Enter your name, address, company, position, title, blood type, licence plate numbers...

Sounds familiar?

Ok, you might need an email address to send a free eBook. Or a home address to send free samples.

But is it really required* to ask for a phone number*, company name*, coordinates*, licence plate numbers*...? You're not an FBI detective.

Photo by Sergiu Nista / Unsplash

Yes, information is gold nowadays.

You need it to qualify leads, and adapt your messaging accordingly. Regardless of whether you're in a B2B or B2C space, collecting as much data as possible is useful and people might even type it in.

But bear in mind that asking for too much information can scare off your customers, especially in the light of Data Privacy Act (or GDPR in Europe).

Adjust your form to context. Look at the Inkling landing page.

inkling landing page with a long contact form
inkling Website

Their eBook targets companies, which means that they do need all this info.

How to fix:

4. Confusing (or non-existent) website navigation

One thing people really don't like is bad navigation. That's something we see very often at DIY websites.

It's like being in a small town that has no tourist attraction, you have no smartphone, no Google Maps, no internet... You drove for 5 hours, just want to get some sleep but first you have to check in into the hotel.

And you don't even know if there's a hotel out there.

Bad navigation frustrates your visitors and increases your bounce rate (your customers leave).

Let's see an example of a good and bad navigation:

drop down navigation bars, good structured and bad unstructured menu
source: Orbitmedia.com

See how the bar below has info split into categories, while the first one would require you to endlessly click before you find a category you need?

Go ahead and check navigation bars and buttons on your website.


How to fix:

  • Ask yourself – What should I do here and what should I do when I'm done?
    Where to next?
  • Ask your visitors if they're having trouble navigating
  • Cluster options in categories
  • Use appropriate fonts
  • Further reading recommendation: CrazyEgg Guide on Navigation and Best Practices

Pro tips:

  • Don't forget to add a search bar.
  • If you're an e-commerce shop, make sure the cart shows number of articles.

5. Lack of a contact form on a website

Believe at or not, many websites don't have a contact form. Website owners just put their email address and/or a phone number and wait for people to find it and reach out.


While people might still contact you, you're probably not even aware of the fact just how many people leave your website because of the lack of contact info.

Here's an excerpt from a study done by Komarketing.com on web usability:

an excerpt from a study on web usability and users, 54% percent of users leave if they don't find thorough contact information, it reduces the credibility
Source: Komarketing.com

What can we conclude based on this?

1) Not everyone communicates in the same way. While some do like to call, others wish to send an email or would enjoy live chatting.

Consider adding a few more channels to communicate with people.

a contact form
A contact form

2) Not being thorough with contact details leaves a shady impression. Leave a contact person's name. Write down an expected response time.

3) Don't rely on a contact form alone.

How to fix:

Pro tips to prevent email spam:

  • Put your email address as an image
  • Don't put your email as a hyperlink
  • Use Captcha

6. Poor optimization for mobile

Add this to your checklist ASAP.

Google loves and recommends mobile-first design. It punishes sites that aren't optimized for mobile. As of 2019, every new website is now indexed as mobile-first and not optimizing for it could cost you ranking.

Here's an example how your website should look like:

an example of a poorly mobile optimized website and a well optimized from Google developers
An example directly from Google developers.

How to fix:

  • Check here for free if your website is optimized for mobile.
www.responsinator.com, a website for checking if a website is mobile-friendly
Caption from a Responsinator website

Pro tip:

  • DO NOT use Flash Animations.

7. Not connecting Google Analytics and Google Search Console


It looks like Google is your best friend if you own a website. :)

Knowing your audience and where it comes from, what do they consume most often can help you to continue catering effectively to their needs.

Google Analytics is a free service from Google to help you understand your audience better. It basically works by inserting a JavaScript code snippet into your web page. You can find a detailed guide here.

a google website and a guide on setting google analytics
Set up Google Analytics page
A Google Analytics homepage with basic data like Users, Sessions, Bounce Rate and Session Duration
A Google Analytics homepage

Google Search Console is a free service by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site's presence in Google Search results.

a homepage of the service Google Search Console
Google Search Console

How to fix:

Pro tip: Although it's not so hard to implement GA and GSC, we don't recommend implementing it by yourself if you're Β not familiar with the basics of coding.

8. It's all you on a homepage

Has it ever happened to you that you open a website and BAM, first thing you see is company bragging about their achievments?

We are, we do, we we we all about us, don't care if you don't have a clue what we offer...

Remember, it's always about users and their needs. It's like having a real-life conversation.

It's not always about you.

Take this example:

homepage of the website fittr.com, no clear offer on the homepage. it says "not just any other fitness company! We're a family" but it doesn't communicate what's it all about."
source: fittr.com

Look, Fittr is a great company and their offer is great. This perhaps works for them. All I'm saying is that I see no clear benefit for myself on a first impression.

Fine, you are a family, you're great... But what's in it for me?

Let's take Toggl for example, their homepage really hits a home run:

homepage of Toggl.com, simple time tracking software with powerful reporting
Toggl.com

See how they clearly stated their offer from the get-go? Simple time tracking, powerful reporting. My team will be more productive.

How to fix:

  • Put your core (or daily best) offer in a hero shot/slider.
  • State your offer clearly. Emphasize the benefits.
  • Focus on a customer.

Pro tip: Add a CTA button above-the-fold.

9. Typos and outdated content

It appears that typos could cost you quite a fortune, at least that's what the studies say.

42,5% percent of customers hate poor spelling or grammar, according to the research done by Infogram
Image source: Infogram (What customers hate about your brand on social media)

The same applies to content you put online. It was relevant back then, a few years ago. Is it useful now?

It's bad for your credibility if you're not updating regularly.

Making a website is not a one time job. Your online presence is a constant process. People who visit your website expect that your content is fresh and that it's accurate.

Any typos out there on your website? Any content older than 5 years, with irrelevant data?

How to fix:

  • Clean the dust off your website dashboard and update your content at least every 3–6 months.
  • Install Grammarly, a spelling checker.
  • Invite your friends to read your content.
add site:sitename.com YEAR to see content from a specific year. that way, you could check if you have any outdated content. pieces older than 5 years should generally  be updated or deleted
A great tip for web search from VentureHarbour 

10. Awkward colors, fonts, and irrelevant images on website


Last but not least, do not forget to adjust the colors, fonts, and images on your website.

a website with awkward colors, pennyjuice
Source: PennyJuice

I don't know about you, but this homepage looks pretty messy to me.

I know that our artistic side of personality can sometimes get out of hand, but let's not forget that websites aren't our conceptual art projects. They are our professional presentations.

How to fix:

There you go. I hope you found this guide useful. Feel free to share it with your network and let us know if you come up with something else!