8 Website Red Flags That Send Customers Running for the Exit

When a new prospective customer comes to your website, it’s like entering a new acquaintance’s house. First, you scan it over to get the feel of it, but when you start to look closer and realize there is no bathroom or notice those trash piles in every corner, all you want to do is get out, fast. Coming to a new website is a very similar situation – some things are expected to be there and when they aren’t, it makes the hairs on our neck stand up.
This is why having an attractive and functioning website is essential in today’s business world. You may have an awesome store in the center of town but what is driving people to your store from their home? In the digital era where nearly 90% of consumers use search to find info on products, services, or businesses before making a purchase, it is essential to clean up your digital presence and make sure it matches your personal appearance.
So pick up a broom and do some sweeping. Get those cobwebs’s out of your news stories and testimonials and make that site spotless for your next lead. In a 2011 survey by OnePoll, 70% of people said they would not buy from a company with a poorly designed website. The same study also found that 2/3 of business owners believe that the look of their company’s website is more important than the location of the business. So what exactly rubs people the wrong way when it comes to your website and sends them running? Here’s a list of website problems that call for a red flag:

1. Missing an About page

Not having a section that explains who you are or what you’re company’s purpose is hurts your credibility as soon as the potential customer gets to the site. It leaves for a vague guessing game as to exactly what you’re offering or who you even are. People like to know there is a person on the other end of the keyboard and that they aren’t working for a logo. Tell the people who you are and what you do and be upfront about it.

2. Dust on your blog

If your most recent blog post or article is from a year ago, you probably don’t seem like you put a lot of effort into keeping your site current. When you decide to have a page dedicated to ongoing and dated information, it is important to remember that people will look to see when the articles were posted to know they are getting up-to-date information. If you are supplying outdated info to your customers it’s almost as bad as not supplying it at all.

3. Broken links and pages

The average time a user stays on a web page before leaving is less than one minute. This means that as soon as the customer hits the first broken link on your website or takes you to the wrong location, they will be gone like the wind. It’s annoying and it’s a waste of time and energy. In the words of Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”
4. Not providing an address or phone number

Your customers want to know that you are real and that you exist off the Internet. If you leave out an address or telephone number most of your potential leads will assume you don’t really exist. Not only does it discredit your company as being legitimate, but many customers go to a website for “contact us” information. If you accidentally leave them out and they have to go hunting for your address or telephone number it will just leave them confused and uncertain.

5. Avoiding the money talk

We all get it. Nobody wants to talk numbers because that’s when you know where you stand against the competition. But it’s hard for your customers to ignore that sinking-in-your-gut feeling they will get when they can’t find any costs. Be upfront, they will thank you for it later.

6. Fluff copy

Your website isn’t a summer best seller and nobody wants to spend a week or two having to read through it. If you can say it in less, then do so. Write for outsiders so that everyone understands what you’re offering, not just for the industry experts, and make sure to double check your spelling. Spelling and grammar mistakes make your page look sloppy. If you have details you are trying to downplay, rethink it. You don’t want to lose your customers’ trust by trying to pull the covers over their head when they aren’t looking.

7. Bad or nonexistent online reviews

One of the first places that people go when looking for information on a company or product is in a search. Reviews weigh a lot for those of your customers that have never used you before, and one bad review can make or break a lead. The same goes for having no reviews at all. If you can get them, it’s best to feature testimonials on your site. Plus, if you want to put yourself above your competition, there’s nothing wrong with asking a few good customers to write a friendly review about your service or products.

8. Being anti-social

Have you forgotten to post to your social media pages in a few weeks, months or (hopefully not) years? If you eagerly jumped into the social media boat too quickly and then just stopped posting altogether, your fans and friends will think you abandoned your profiles. Social media has become the new-age way to disseminate information. If you want to stack up against the competition in 2013, you need to be social and engaging in your relationships with customers.

Knowing these red flags will help you avoid them when it comes to your web-presence and maintaining your site. Don’t make your customers question your legitimacy when they shouldn’t be!

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