Are You Making These Website Mistakes?

Hi Friends! Today, we’re being taught about website mistakes by the lovely Erin Flynn. Erin is a web designer and developer who is making great strides with her business. She blogs about her life as a web designer and developer as well as her business regularly. I was excited to have Erin on the blog because I’m such a huge fan of her business model and her blogging style. Thank you so much Erin!


Mistakes Making With Your Website

Let’s be honest, there are a LOT of mistakes you could be making on your website: not having a domain name, using too many fonts, having a cluttered sidebar–all these things have been covered again and again in articles just like this one. I’m not going to repeat all that.

Today I really want to talk about big mistakes I see, even on professionally designed websites. At first glance, the website looks amazing, but after a little reading and clicking around, something’s not right. Visitors are leaving without making a purchase–why?

Inconsistent branding

I see this ALL the time from awesome business owners who I KNOW have potential. But the problem is that they can’t nail down their brand. They change their minds about what colors to use, what “voice” to write in, and what kind of photos or images to use. The result? An inconsistent brand, even on a beautifully designed website.

Creating a brand takes time, but it’s so important to focusing your website and pulling in the readers and clients you want! Find (or create) your dream client, and always write, take photos, and create your brand with them in mind. Everything you blog, Tweet, post, photograph, or create should feel like it was made for the same person. If it helps, pretend your dream client is a friend, and you’re creating just for her. Need help? I have a dream client video and worksheet here!

Not having a goal

What is the primary goal of your website? To sell products? Educate people? Book coaching sessions? Whatever it is, write it down and make sure everything you do on your website leads back to your goal!

If your goal is to sell your services, don’t write a blog post just to write. Write a blog post that helps your dream clients solve their problems, which in turn establishes you as an authority on the topic and encourages them to hire you to solve bigger problems. See why having a dream client is so important? It helps you know exactly how to lead visitors toward your goal! And yes, I have a video and worksheet for choosing a goal too!

And by the way, if you have elements on your website that don’t take your visitors a step (or two) toward your goal, eliminate them!

Disorganized navigation

Again, you should always be leading visitors toward your goal, and your navigation is no exception. Think of your navigation like chapters in a book–does the order make sense?

Visitors should ultimately end up at a page that calls them to action on your goal. For example: if you sell one-on-one coaching services, the final step of your navigation should be a page that calls visitors to action on booking a session with you.

Everything leading up to that last stop on your navigation menu should educate visitors on WHY they should act on your primary goal’s page. About, Services, and Portfolio pages serve this purpose–they let visitors learn about you, see what you can do, and see examples of how awesome you are!

It doesn’t make sense for them to visit your contact/booking page before even knowing why you’re so great, so build up to it—by the time they get there visitors should be excited and ready to work with you!

Not having a newsletter

I know, email newsletters seem so 1999, don’t they? But the truth is, most visitors won’t be ready to purchase from you on a first visit. Bummer.

But, if visitors see the helpful blog posts you’ve written, read your About page, and feel like they’d eventually like to work with you, a newsletter is a great way to stay in their minds! They may not remember to check back and read your blog every week, but if you show up in their inbox a few times a month, you’re a lot less likely to be forgotten. Make sure you provide top-notch newsletter content that continues to lead customers toward your primary goal!

Not sure anyone will sign up? Offer something free like an e-book that gives them a taste of what you have to offer!

Take action!

Stop what you’re doing right now and go look at your website! Are the images, language, and feel consistent throughout? Do you know who your dream client is? Is there a clear goal on your website that you lead visitors towards? Does your navigation make sense? Do you have a newsletter? If the answer is “no” to any of these, take some time right now and plan out what you need to do to get your website on track! And then, of course, do it!

Erin Flynn

Connect with Erin: Blog | Twitter | Pinterest | Newsletter

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Angelica Yarde
My name is Angel Yarde. I am a designer, front-end developer, and speaker. I am the editor and designer of Studio 404 whic was founded in December 2006. In January 2014, I launched Studio 404 Paper, a paper shop which includes type-focused greeting cards, note cards, and prints. I currently reside in Celebration, Florida where I co-own a branding strategy studio, Sevenality, with my husband.
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15 Comments

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more Erin! The inconsistent branding thing is something I think a lot of people struggle with. And it goes beyond just your website too: it extends into all public facing extensions of your business, like your social media profiles and business cards.

    I see people using vastly different photographs of themselves all over the place and that doesn’t help people recognize you as they surf the web from place to place.

    • Yes! Especially when people look SO different in their photos! I used to have longer hair and when I made the switch to my photos with a pixie I think people got really confused at first. Guess I need to keep the pixie photo around for a while! lol

  2. Very helpful tips here! I do think navigation and consistent branding are absolutely essential though I think newsletters really depend on the type of business/site you have. Thank Erin and Angel for sharing!

  3. Great tips Erin! The first two are biggies, and you’re right, not often talked about in the classic “what you’re doing wrong lists”.

    Super helpful!

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