I’m going to try a blog post series on design issues I (and others) find in business websites.  The purpose is two-fold; the main purpose will be to highlight and educate specifically why some design issues are harmful to the business in hopes they may be avoided….the other purpose is to hopefully prod me into posting on a more regular basis :-)

So let’s begin with what probably is the worst web design mistake that can be made:  Poor Content.  There’s an old online saying that “content is king” – meaning that the Web is all about information, and sites that have and share lots of interesting, timely information (or help others find the information they’re seeking) are the “kings”. 

Unfortunately there are a lot of “pauper” sites out there – few things sadden me online more than a nice-looking blog or online store that is completely devoid of information.  I came across one earlier this week in the form of a potential client who requested a free website analysis (if you’d like a free analysis simply request one here – and I promise not to reveal your identity if I blog about your site later…).

This client had a great look to the site, and a nice store with several items focused around a fairly particular niche.  The problem was that clicking on an individual item produced almost no information about it – if I selected a shirt, all I basically got was the cost and the available sizes.

An example I included in their analysis was that they carried a variety of sarongs, which happens to be a pretty strong niche in terms of search volume.  However, people are not searching for simply “sarongs” but “how to tie a sarong”, “how to wear a sarong”, “styles of sarongs”, and so forth.  The website I was reviewing had about one sentence describing their entire sarong collection.

The bottom line is they didn’t have nearly enough content to rank for any related search terms, so the chance of sarong-seeking customer finding this site is practically nil.  However, with just a little creativity to describe (in words) and illustrate (with pictures and/or video) specifically demonstrating the many versatile uses of a sarong, this site would certainly gain search rankings and customers as a result.

The takeaway:  Fully develop the content on your site.  While it’s very important to stay on-topic and avoid rambling, don’t be afraid to thoroughly explain your business, your products, your services, and go into detail with relevant examples.  On product-oriented pages especially, lots of web user testing shows that people are much more likely to buy when a webpage answers their questions instead of leaving them guessing.  With little to no information about a product, it’s almost a guarantee the visitor will the leave the site without purchasing. 

Provide more content, not less, and you’ll stand a much better chance of gaining new customers from your website.

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!