Is your website one of the undead?

Sharon Tanton

Is your website one of the undead

Is your website a little shop of horrors? Are there cobwebs on your home page and dust on your news pages? Are there audible creaks when people try to find their way around your crumbling old site? In short, is your website actually scaring the pants off visitors?

It may be Halloween but that’s no excuse for allowing your website to fester.

When visitors first arrive, they’re looking for someone they can trust — they don’t want to see Herman Munster or Morticia Adams! But if your website looks like a haunted house, they may not even knock on the door at all.

So what can you do to breathe life into your website?

Dust off your homepage

Visitors to your website want to know they are in the right place. Your homepage should reassure them and build trust, not scare them off with a cold blank zombie stare or a crumbling façade. Keep it simple and use your content to talk directly to customers, telling them how you can help.

Resuscitate your blog

If your blog has been neglected for months, it can look as though your business is dead and buried. A lifeless blog is like an old empty house — there are signs that there was life there once but now there’s an uneasy atmosphere. Where is everyone? And why has this place been abandoned? If your blog has that haunted feeling, most visitors will make a quick exit.

Bring your content out of the dark ages

Are your news stories so old they’re more like ghost stories? And is your homepage devoted to your illustrious history — not what you offer right now? Up-to-date content tells the world that you are actively engaged in your sector. In particular, customer-focused content — such as testimonials and case studies — demonstrate your credibility. Customers are easily scared off — so building trust is absolutely vital.

Get rid of any skeletons in your closet

Have you got any skeletons rattling around in your website? Out-of-date content? Poor quality images? Dodgy designs? Old prices? Broken links? If there’s one Halloween accessory you will need, it’s a good broom to sweep through your dusty old website.

Take off the spooky mask

OK, so your professional profile may not be spooky as such but if visitors can’t see the real you — a human being as well as an expert in your field — then you’re hiding behind a mask and that could intimidate them. Put the personal into your profile and use a good image of yourself on your website. Be open, share your contact details and connect on social media.

Ditch the hocus pocus

If your website is full of jargon that no-one but you understands you might as well as be spouting Harry Potter spells. Don’t use specialist terms if you can possibly help it. Instead, stick to plain English and adopt a friendly tone of voice that will inspire trust. Keep it simple — you are aiming to inform and inspire, not create an air of mystery. No-one has got time for mystery — if they don’t get it , they will leave your website and never come back.

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4 Comments

  1. A few months ago I decided to dust off my homepage by making it jump out more.

    I added links to my 3 most recent blog posts with a nice picture to draw the eye. I did the same thing below that with the 3 most popular posts. And then I cleared away a lot of the ‘useless’ stuff further down the page that I don’t think people were really interested in. Finally increased the size of all my fonts and made my headings more noticeable.

    I don’t think that’s been the reason for my slight increase in traffic, but I do think it gives new visitors a good idea what’s going on at a glance.

    Reply
  2. I’ve just mad a huge change to my website homepage. Having always been an advocate of ‘less is more’, I defied conventional wisdom to create a colourful smorgasbord of information.

    Interestingly enough, my bounce rate has gone down from 40% to an incredible 25%!! That means that more people are actually engaging with the content and clicking through to the various different areas.

    It was quite the revelation!

    Reply
  3. Wow – great result Eli and useful stats. How interesting!

    Reply
  4. Website construction should never end. There are always tweaks to design and to posts that can help improve performance as well as make it more enjoyable to readers.

    Reply

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