1) CTA’s (call to action)These are usually buttons that link to whatever it is you are selling or offering. A common mistake is to have too many, or not enough. Call to action buttons/links/areas can help your audience make a decision (aka take action) after they have spent some time getting to know you and what you are offering/selling. Think of CTA’s as your personal traffic directors. You can’t assume people know where you want them to go, you have to direct them. The amount of CTA’s depends greatly on the type of page and the amount of content on that page. On a simple/shorter page, you may only need one or two CTA’s. For example, on your about page, where do you want them to go when they are done reading about you? do you want them to buy something from your store? sign up for your email list? contact you? or read more about your services? Place a CTA (a button and some large text), and make sure they get there! You may need a lot more CTA’s on a landing page where the objective is to sell something. These pages are often longer and have a different purpose. At this point in the customer journey, the buyer should be much more ready to buy, so you can have more CTA’s. On a landing page like this, you can place a CTA anywhere the buyer may be ready to take the plunge. After you tell them what they get, after some testimonials, after your pricing, etc. Each place where the person is considering a next step, place a CTA.
2) Amount of information on the siteBe careful of large blocks of text and a busy design. The most important thing is that users can easily digest content. Massive blocks of text and long paragraphs will send your users packing. Use short sentences, short paragraphs, and divide content up with icons and blocks. Be sure to keep the colors and fonts simple. High contrast colors (such as black text on a white background), will make your website more accessible. Make sure fonts are large enough to read and use a simple font for important text (as cursive fonts can be hard to read).
3) Photos that are low quality or too bigHigh quality photos are essential if you want your brand and business to look professional. Use high quality, royalty-free stock photos from a website such as unsplash.com, or if you can, hire a professional photographer to take brand photos for you. Large photo files can slow a website down (affecting SEO and user retention). The file size can be reduced while still retaining its dimensions (aka reducing the file from 3 MB to 100 KB while keeping the dimensions at 1920 pixels by 800 pixels). Unless you have an image cache plugin installed, it is important to reduce the file size before uploading. I like to aim for something under 200kb. You can use a photo editing program such as Lightroom, or a free online program like tinypng.com.
4) Outdated designAn outdated design says “I’m not relevant” or “I’m not in business” and is likely costing you business. In addition, outdated designs that are not mobile responsive (don’t adapt to mobile devices and various screen sizes), are not only difficult to navigate, but will rank lower in the search engines. More then half of website traffic these days is from a mobile device—be sure your website has been updated in the past 5 years!
5) Copy quality and your messageWhen writing copy for your website, it is essential that you have your marketing strategies and brand message mapped out first. Take some time to create an “audience profile” about the people who are searching for you, the problem you are solving for them, and the “why” of what you do. Use the language your target audience is using, instead of “industry terms”. While industry terms sound fancy, they won’t necessarily make sense to your audience. Give it to them simply and authentically.
6) SEOMost people wait way to long to optimize their SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization. This is the process of optimizing your website so it ranks higher in the search engines (such as Google) for key words and key phrases that your target audience is typing in. There are many ways you can address this yourself without paying heavy fees to an agency.
download the free seo guide
I will never sell or share your information with third parties. You may opt-out anytime.
7) About page and business information
While this may seem obvious, one website problem I see is a missing basic about page or general business information. Be sure to include information about how the business got started, why you do what you do, who you are, who your team is, etc. You may also need to include some transparency about your process, products, or other areas of your business. The customer needs to feel like they can trust you before they buy from you.
For every legal template you’ll need as a freelance creative or small business owner I recommend The Contract Shop.