3 big website mistakes women in business are making

website mistakes women in business are making

If you’re a people pleaser like me, you know how hard it is to tell people what they’re getting wrong, but that’s how I spent the Easter long weekend. Reviewing websites and trying to tell people—nicely—what’s wrong with their websites.

Some forty-odd reviews and many of them had the same three problems, read on to see what they are and fix them on your site.

No HTTPS (SSL/TLS Certificates)

HTTPS prevent your website from being tampered with as it goes between your server and your users’ browser. It stops intruders from being able to “listen” to the communication between your user and your website (ie when they complete a form on your site or make a purchase).

Google says “You should always protect all of your websites with HTTPS, even if they don’t handle sensitive communications.” To reinforce this, from July 2018 Google’s Chrome browser will start notifying users that the site they are viewing is insecure.

From July 2018 Google's Chrome browser will start identifying insecure websites.

In short, if your site doesn’t have an SSL/TLS certificate, it needs one.

Slow load times

Slow load times are one of the factors that can cause your website to rank lower on Google. Your site viewers like a fast site too, 40% will click away if your site takes too long.

There are a lot of reasons why your website might be loading slow. Some are beyond your control (if your user’s internet connection or computer is slow there’s nothing you can do), but some you can absolutely fix.

Install a caching plugin. A plugin like WP Rocket will compress (minify) any inefficient code running on your site and cache copies of your site so that it doesn’t need to be loaded from scratch each time it’s viewed (among many other things).

Optimise your images. You don’t need images that are 5000px wide, but pixel size isn’t the only thing that will cause a large file. Using an image optimising plugin like EWWW will reduce the file size of your images and speed up load time.

Remove unnecessary plugins. If you don’t need it or aren’t using it, remove it. Each plugin on your site is a piece of code. Each piece of code adds to your sites load time.

Text embedded in images

Search engines can’t read text on images.

This is especially important to remember for anything at the top of your page—if it’s important enough to go at the top of your page, it’s important enough for a search engine to read it.

Many themes let you set an image as the background and add text over the top. This way you can still use pretty fonts while still letting Google read what you’ve written.

So there you go, the three biggest problems holding websites back. Are they affecting your business site?

How important is your footer anyway?

Your website footer is important

When you’re building a website you’ll spend a lot of time working on the perfect header, and why wouldn’t you? The header has a lot of work to do.

Conversely, most people spend very little time working on their footer. Often it’s an afterthought. It’s a shame to think like this because you could be seeing a massive increase in conversions by creating a well-optimised footer.

Your website footer is important

How do I optimise my footer?

Ask yourself this question what are my potential client’s goals when they’re visiting my site?

Whatever the answer, your footer should make it easy for people to reach those goals.

For instance, one goal a reader of this site has it to find more information about building their own business website with WordPress. A logical way for me to serve that need would be to put links to the various categories on my blog. That way, once they’ve scrolled to the bottom of my site they easily find links to information they’re looking for.

If your client’s goal is to get in touch, you can make that easy by adding a contact form to the footer of each page. The fewer clients steps potential clients need to make to meet their goal the better.

What else goes in the footer?

There are a few things that are “must haves” for the bottom of your website. Things that are common to most sites you visit (and if they’re not in your footer, they should be).

The must haves are:

Other things you might include are:

  • A contact form.
  • A search box.
  • Links to various popular categories/topics on your blog.
  • Your physical address (this is particularly important if you’re trying to rank for local SEO).
  • Social media icons.
  • A blurb about your business.
  • Login info if your run a membership site.
  • A newsletter signup form (this form doesn’t require an opt-in or content upgrade).
  • Any awards you might have won.

My biggest tips

1. Always keep your client’s goals in mind. Remember, your website isn’t about you, it’s about what your clients wants and needs. Your footer needs to help them meet those goals.

2. Keep it simple. There are a lot of things you can put in your footer, but you don’t need to use them all. Always pare your design down to what’s needed, a cluttered footer is off-putting and will not help your potential clients meet those all important goals.

3. To work out what really works use heat maps and A/B testing. Your website is a living creature, it’s not set in stone.

Are these design trends ruining your website?

These bad design trends could be killing your website

When you spend a good portion of your day combing the web for design inspiration you’re bound to find (at least) a few things that annoy you. Granted, when it comes to web design I’m probably pickier than most, but the truth is, there are some design elements that really do put people off your website (and your business).

Anything that autoplays

Videos or music with sound, if it auto-plays you’re going to lose visitors.

These bad design trends could be killing your website

That may sound harsh, but the truth is, it’s far easier to close a browser tab than finding the pause button on a video. When you consider that people may be viewing your website at work, or while their kids are asleep they quicker they can get away from a noisy site the better

Carousel sliders

There are so many reasons why sliders are bad for your site, but if you want one that’ll make you delete yours straight away it’s this. People hate sliders. In fact, only 1% of site visitors will click on them because most will scroll right past them.

Animated all the things

Many major WordPress themes have made using animation easy. You can have you content fly in, roll around or bounce with the click of a button. You may be thinking that animation makes your site look up-to-date or that you’re drawing more attention to your content, but you’re not.

Used sparingly, animation can make certain aspects of your site stand out, but there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too many things jumping up and down, looking for attention, means nothing really gets it.

If you want to use animation on your site pick the most important thing and animate that. Leave everything else static, that way people will be able to see what’s important at a glance without getting seasick in the process.

Too many popups

You might have multiple opt-in offers each with its own signup form, but you need to make sure that all those opt-ins aren’t going to pop up on the same page.

Pop-ups are effective for collecting email addresses, but they can also be annoying. Ideally, your visitors shouldn’t be presented with any more than one pop-up per visit and certainly no more than one per page.

Obvious stock photography

There’s nothing wrong with stock photography…unless the photos you’re using are being used by everyone else.

Using too many photos on your website that are obviously stock will detract from the authenticity of your brand. On a subconscious level, it’ll make people trust you less.

In an ideal world most of the imagery on your site would be unique to you, but in the real world that’s not possible so do the next best thing. Be choosy about the stock you use, especially on your homepage.

Let’s talk about whitespace

White space (also called negative space) is the empty area around the elements on your page. To create white space within your designs you’ll use margins, padding, letter and line spacing.

Leaving a lot of empty space on your website might seem like a pointless waste, but there are some very good reasons to do it.

Here are two reasons that’ll have you sold.

Attract attention

A look at Chanel’s website will show you the benefits of white space. Their use of minimalism and a vast amount of empty space draws your attention to exactly the thing they want you to see.

The use of whitespace on Chanel's website

You don’t need to go to this extreme to use white space to attract your reader’s attention. By creating space around a particular element (for instance, a call-to-action) you draw more attention, whereas if you crowd it with other things it loses its visual appeal (you can’t see the call-to-action for the clutter!)

Using white space to emphasize something is like building tension, or excitement. Used well your reader’s eye will be naturally drawn to that thing.

Improves readability

Another great thing about white space is that it improves the readability of your text. You may have heard that using headings and lists in blog posts make them easier to read? Well, that’s because of the white space.

A cramped block of text with too little line spacing is hard to read. So much so that, people tend to click away and not read content formatted like this.

Airbnb make their content simple to read by dividing it up into small sections and accompanying it with photos.

Air's use of whitespace

Good use of white space can increase your reader’s comprehension of your content by up to 20% isn’t that a good reason to use it all by itself?