Seven Ways Your Website Makes Baby Jesus Cry
As a freelance copywriter, I often look for new clients by Googling local web design firms. In doing so, I’ve seen hundreds of websites from the people who profess to do them best.
Many were good. Some weren’t so good. And a few were downright scary.
While sifting through the good, the bad and the ugly, I noticed a few bad habits kept popping up. Things that made me want to scream, “You’re a web design company! You should know better!”
Eventually it dawned on me that if web designers were making these mistakes, small business owners were, too. So I decided to create a list of my seven biggest pet peeves. Pet peeves that baby Jesus happens to share. (‘Cause we’re tight like that.)
1. No personal photos. We know you’re not a supermodel. It’s OK. But without photographic evidence, it’s easy to assume you look like this guy:
Chances are good you’re not this scary, so make us all feel better by including a photo. And while we’re on the topic: you’re not fooling anybody with those stock photos of your “employees.”
Baby Jesus just saw the same picture on a community college ad, and he knows when he’s being played.
2. No contact information. Baby Jesus is a busy guy. He doesn’t have time to spend hunting down your name and email address. Make it easy for him to contact you by putting your details at the top or bottom of each page. After all, privacy is overrated. Sales aren’t.
3. Confusing navigation. Your web navigation is not the time to be clever. Save your wit for your blog posts, and make your page titles as obvious as possible. About Us. Services. Contact Us. Et cetera. These titles won’t win you any prizes for creativity, but they will get users where they need to go.
4. Corporate speak. Your website copywriting should speak to your users’ needs, not your need to sell. Unfortunately, most business websites do the latter. They tell you all about their experience and their years of expertise without ever telling users why they should care.
If your web copy uses the word “I” or “we” more than it uses the word “you,” it’s time to hire a copywriter … or at least revise.
5. Long splash intros. Have you ever clicked on an interesting-looking video, only to have to watch a 30-second commercial for hemorrhoid cream? Not fun, is it? Baby Jesus feels the same way when he’s forced to watch a 30-second splash introduction for your site.
Most users arrive at your site with a mission. A long splash intro gets in the way of that mission. If you can’t live without the splash page, at least give users the opportunity to skip the visuals.
6. Mobile unfriendliness. Baby Jesus loves his iPhone. And nothing’s worse than loading your website on a smart phone, only to find that it’s virtually unreadable. As time goes on, more and more people will use their phones to access your site, read your blog and pull up contact information. Make it easy for them by making sure your site is mobile-friendly.
7. Clutter. Do you really need 18 navigation links? Does your blog roll really need 73 choices? After a certain point, these choices will confuse more people than they help. When designing (or redesigning) your web site, give users limited options and a generous amount of white space. Baby Jesus will thank you.
What bothers you in other people’s websites? What makes you want to cry? Let me know in the comments section below.