3 Website Mistakes that Drive Customers Away

I love supporting local businesses, and over the years I've noticed that too often their websites leave a lot to be desired in the user experience department. It's a shame, because small and/or local businesses are the ones that most need a fantastic online presence – how can you compete with the bigger players if you can't keep people on your website? In this day and age, you just can't!

Here are the things I see most often that make me either leave a site, use the site with much frustration, or worst of all: lose trust in the business.

Mistake #1: Non-Responsive Websites

make sure your website is responsive (mobile friendly) to reach the most potential customers and increase your SEO.

In other words, sites that don't adapt or "respond" to someone's device. Responsive websites recognize when someone is viewing the site on a tablet or mobile device, and modifies the layout accordingly, so the user doesn't have to pinch and zoom to read the contents of your website – not even once! If your user has to pinch and zoom to properly read your website content or click a link, it's not responsive enough.

A website that's hard to view on a mobile device can cause customers to leave the site or plan to view the site later on their desktop, but then forget. It also looks outdated, which can make your business seem outdated too.

But don't worry! Having a mobile-responsive website doesn't mean you have to do more work to maintain it. A truly responsive site changes the layout and font size for you automatically, meaning you can update all the content of your site once, and the website will figure out how to adapt it for every device.

Squarespace is an amazing platform for this reason – you can build your site's desktop version and Squarespace automatically resizes things and moves them around in natural ways for the mobile version of your site. It's the platform I use. Check it out!

Mistake #2: Poor Design Choices

Hmmm... where were you going with this?

Hmmm... where were you going with this?

You may think design, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Unfortunately, anyone with low vision or other accessibility needs would strongly disagree! Good design includes accessibility features for all users, colour choices that are readable to both sighted and vision impaired people, clear contact or order forms, and so much more.

Quick Side Note: Let's not forget that accessibility makes life easier for everyone. Don't act like like you don't enjoy using the roomy accessible bathroom stall every now and then! Don't tell me you wouldn't rather read larger print than squint at teeny tiny legal copy. Heck, I personally love watching English movies with English subtitles and my hearing is great!

The benefits of good design go beyond having a website that looks pretty. It also contributes to better conversion from prospective buyers to actual customers, and a better impression of the true personality of your brand.

By the way – your website is showing the personality of your brand, right? If you have a fun and exciting business, is your website fun and exciting? If your business is in professional medical services, does your website look clean and medical, while also looking professional and approachable? If you're in a vintage arts business, does your website portray a vintage design of the right era while still appealing to the modern needs of today's consumers?

this's designers are trained in layout, colour theory, typography, art history, strategy, accessibility, and all other aspects of proper digital design. If you ever need a hand, just give us a shout! It's literally one of our favourite things to talk about.

Mistake #3: Amateur or Outdated Photography

There's a big difference between "vintage" and "dated."

Have you ever browsed a used car site just after viewing a car manufacturer's website? The amateur photos on the used car site are enough to make you think buying new is the only real option – even if it's going to cost you an extra $10k.

Yes, we all should be able to "look past the photography" and take in the subject of the photo objectively. But unfortunately, most of us have difficulty doing that.

An amateur photo can make a product or service seem much less desirable, and an outdated photo can make potential clients wonder if you're even still in business. Seriously! Make sure you're showing your business's best side by highlighting your amazing products and services with professional photographs.

Our photographers are great at product photography, corporate headshots, vehicle photography, animal photography, event photography, and facility photography (photos of offices or other business spaces) because we know how crucial it is to put your offerings in the best light possible, and how much great photography can contribute to the overall beauty of your website. If you don't know how to take your own great photography, definitely considering hiring a professional. You won't regret it, promise!

Keep following our blog for more tips and tricks on maintaining your own branding.