I don’t know about you, but when I visit a website I haven’t been to before I often feel my heart sink – lots of time, energy and expense have been clearly been spent, only to produce a site that, frankly, annoys me. So I thought I’d take you through two of my (and other people’s) biggest pet hates in order to help stop others from making the same mistakes.
Videos on homepages are universally accepted to be annoying, especially when those videos start automatically on opening the page. Yet on my travels around the web I see them again and again, why? Well, you have your company and your website, and you are proud of your company and what they do, so you want people to get to know you and see what you do. How can you tell people about all that cool stuff that you do? Ah ha! A video!
The problem is, although it’s great that you’re enthusiastic about your company, on their first visit to your homepage a potential customer probably isn’t going to want to invest the time needed to watch the video in order to become as enthusiastic as you are. And on the second and third visits to your site your potential customer is probably already enthusiastic about your company so doesn’t want to sit through your corporate video again! Especially if they are browsing your website in an open plan office…
Realistically how enthusiastic are you about most of the companies you deal with? Don’t confuse enthusiasm with loyalty – you want customer loyalty, but you will only get loyalty through being effective and efficient with those you deal with. Any information on your website that is only available in video format is likely to be lost on most of the people who visit and is certainly lost on most search engines. Don’t get me wrong, videos can be a great tool to help explain how a product works, or illustrate a complex topic. They might well have an important place on your website, but that place is almost certainly not autoplaying on your homepage.
In a similar vein, something else which will make me immediately leave a webpage is if I am expected to learn a whole new dictionary’s worth of internal company jargon. It’s also worth noting that people are very unlikely to be putting your unusual lingo (see what I did there?) into a search engine, and so using it not only makes your website harder to use, it also makes it harder to find.
When a potential customer visits your company website the majority want to know three things: what do you do, are you good at it and are your prices within their budget. A smaller minority want to know how to contact you to ask questions, and if you’re offering jobs. Your website needs to tell them this information clearly and in a way that is easy to understand, using commonly used words that will be picked up by search engines.
When deciding what to put on your website, try and think like one of your customers. What makes you use a company? My top four are:
- Site is easy to find.
- Professional looking website.
- Easy to find the required information.
- The branding creates an appropriate ‘atmosphere’ – I was recently put off going to a pilates class by a website that was almost entirely black in colour.
So what does your company have to offer that is appealing? Think about it, promote it and don’t get bogged down in pointless details.
Image from freedigitalphotos.net