7 silly website mistakes you can fix in a few minutes
First impressions are so important, which is why silly website mistakes could be hurting your business.
In his seminal book Thinking, Fast and Slow, behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman summarised his earlier work around different modes of thought.
His central thesis in the book was a dichotomy between “System 1” thought (fast, instinctive, emotional), and “System 2” thought (slower, more deliberative, more logical).
These different systems are essential when it comes to first impressions and decision making.
It’s the system one thinking that drives our decision making, with neuroscientists finding that around 95% of our mental function occurs at this subconscious level.
What does this mean for your website?
In our work reviewing websites, especially those from Financial Planners, we often find a series of ‘silly mistakes’, which arguably result in a poor first impression for website visitors.
Here are just 7 of those silly mistakes which tend to crop up most frequently, and how you can fix them to leave a better first impression with your prospective clients.
1 – Out of date copyright date
This one is a personal bugbear of mine.
It sounds a little sad, but the first thing I do when I visit any new website is scroll to the bottom of the page and check the copyright date.
A current copyright date tells me the site is probably up to date. It’s my own personal brown M&Ms test.
What does the copyright date on your website say? If it’s anything other than 2019 (assuming you’re reading the blog post in the year it was written!), then you need to take action.
If you would rather avoid manual updates each year on New Year’s Day, you can add some code to your website which will automatically update the copyright year.
2 – Google Maps plugin API is broken
This page can’t load Google Maps correctly. Do you own this website?
It’s become popular in recent years to include a map on your website, with the data pulled directly from Google Maps.
And then Google updated their licence arrangements (in June 2016) for this neat tool, resulting in millions of websites displaying broken maps.
It’s not an exceptionally user-friendly process to get the required API key from Google. It is, however, usually free, unless you have a very high traffic website.
If your website map is displaying this error message, head over to the Google Maps Platform to request your API. Update your website with this and the error should be fixed.
3 – Failure to update blog content
If you have a blog, news or insights section on your website, you need to keep it up to date!
Our earlier research, looking at more than 500 Financial Planner websites, found blogs were, on average, six months out of date.
Having blog content six months out of date could mean your website visitor is reading a Merry Christmas blog post, in the middle of the summer. A good first impression?
If you lack the time, skills or inclination to write fresh content for your website each week – because new posts weekly are what is needed to keep website visitors and search engines happy – then we’ve got you covered.
We launched FinCart more than a year ago, to provide regularly updated, professionally written blog content for Financial Planners.
Browse our extensive library of blog content, choose one or more articles, add them to your shopping basket, pay using PayPal and get instant downloads you can republish on your website.
With the FinCart service, there’s no excuse for allowing the blog, news or insights section of your website to become more than a week out of date.
4 – Too many menu options
In his 2004 book, The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less, psychologist Barry Schwartz argues that eliminating consumer choices can significantly reduce anxiety for shoppers.
One of my favourite studies in the book was carried out at Columbia University in 2000. The researchers set up a table of jams near a supermarket entrance. One table displayed six jams and the other 24 jams.
Customers who tasted the jams received money off coupons.
The researchers found that 30% of customers who were presented with a choice of six jams, proceeded to buy a jar. When presented with a selection of 24 jams, only 3% of shoppers purchased a jar.
We all suffer a behavioural bias known as ‘choice overload’ when presented with multiple options to consider. When choice overload occurs, our motivation to make a final choice decreases.
When we review websites, this choice overload is most apparent in the volume of menu navigation options.
Between 5 and nine menu options on a website seems to be the sweet spot. Fewer choices result in more decisions.
5 – No personal touch
We often hear the mantra; people buy people.
Within the realm of regulated financial services, this mantra is especially relevant. Time and again, we are told that consumers have lost trust in financial services.
One very effective way in which to build trust with website visitors and prospective clients is to introduce the human element to your website.
Going back to my earlier blog post about weapons of influence, this is about likeability; we are more likely to take action and engage with those we feel we know, like and trust.
If your website doesn’t have (great) photography of you and your team, this is an easy fix and something that will dramatically improve your current results.
6 – Absence of contact details
When people visit your website, you want them to take action. Otherwise, your website is like a beautifully presented window at a shop that never opens.
Make it very easy for people to contact you.
As a bare minimum, display your phone number, email address and physical address.
This last point, the geographic location of your business, is an essential way in which to reassure website visitors you are real, and not some scam website trying to convince them to hand over their hard-earned cash.
With these necessary contact details in place, you should go a step further and include an online contact form. This assists website visitors who don’t have immediate access to an email account or ability to call you.
7 – Slow page loading
Website visitors today are impatient.
If it takes too long for a page to load, they head off to another website.
Back in 2012, Google carried out a study which found the average smartphone user was only prepared to wait for 5 seconds for a page to load, before trying a different website.
That was seven years ago, so in all likelihood, levels of patience have fallen since, and we’re even less likely to hang around waiting for your website to load.
Website speed is also a factor considered by search engines, which now consider speed when ranking different websites.
Speeding up a website is a case of having fast hosting, minimising requests, and various other techie tricks.
With slow speed killing visitors traffic and site conversions, this is an issue you need to address with your website.
There are many more silly website mistakes, of course, but these are probably the seven we see most frequently.
All are very simple to fix.
After reading this blog post, there’s no excuse for not immediately fixing any of these issues which apply to your own website, or indeed engaging with Bamford Media to sort them out on your behalf!First impressions are so important, which is why silly website mistakes could be hurting your business. Click To Tweet