It takes about 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about your website and decide whether they’ll stay or leave.
That’s a painfully short amount of time to convince your audience that your site is worth their attention.
But don’t despair - we’ve put together 5 mistakes you should avoid not to miss this valuable opportunity. These are simple enough but crucial if you want to leave a professional and trustworthy impression.
In the end, we give you a bonus - 3 small website tweaks that can make a huge difference.
Mistake #1 - Unprofessional photos & photo editing
Nothing screams amateur louder than low-quality images on your homepage or online store. In fact, 67% of consumers mention the quality of a product image as “very important” in choosing and purchasing the product.
Some characteristics of an unprofessional photo:
- Blurry or inconsistently-sized images
- Cut out images with fuzzy borders
- Auto-corrected colors that look off
- Poor layering techniques that make it evident that two pictures were spliced together
- Stock photos that look too much like stock photos (e.g. generic images that seem identical to many others)
- Strange resized proportions.
For example, does this website inspire trust for the organization it represents?
You’ll agree that the dull images and amateurish photo edits leave an unprofessional impression.
Now, what to do if you are a small business and can’t afford a professional photoshoot for your website or products? Fret not! Here are four things you can do to make your website images look crisp:
- Find amazing royalty-free images on stock websites like Pixabay or Unsplash.This tactic will do if you need general or atmospheric photos or something that relates to your product or service without displaying it directly in the picture.
For example, if you are a freelance writer and you need a good-looking header image for your website, type “Freelance writer”, “Computer writing” or other keywords into the search. You’ll be offered hundreds of relevant and professional-looking images to choose from:
Tip! Before using a stock photo, run it through Google image search to see if it hasn’t been overused across the web.
- Use a free online photo editing software like Canva. Crop your images, make collages or place text on them. Canva offers ready-made layouts and designs for you to play around.
- Make a professional photoshoot...yourself! Find out how to do it step by step in this article.
- Use ready-made website designs on the Mozello platform. Make your life easier by using professional website designs and background photos that are already tried and tested. Simply pick a layout and mood that fits best and change the text.
Mistake #2 - Not optimized images that load slowly
We’ve made it clear that images need to be high-resolution and crisp for your website to look professional. However, such high-quality images can be painfully huge in size and may slow down the navigation through your site or online store. Even more so, if you decide to add videos, flash, sound and other high-resolution graphics.
47% of website visitors expect it to load in under 2 seconds, and 40% say they will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Furthermore, long loading time can negatively affect your SEO.
The more pictures you have on your site, the more crucial it is to find the right balance between image quality and image file size.
The solution is to use compression software to reduce the weight of pictures before uploading them. First, most picture editing software, including Photoshop, have an option to compress photographs.
Alternatively, try one of these tools that reduce file size without losing image quality:
Your product photos should aim for a maximum 80-150 KB, and large homepage hero images - 250-350 KB.
So let’s say you’ve got an image that you want to include in your blog article, but it’s a bit too heavy in size - 500 KB. Simply upload it on one of the picture compressing websites and you’ll get a lighter image without any loss of quality.
Mistake #3 - Bad copy and grammar mistakes
Nothing inspires less trust in a brand than faulty website copy. Even if the product or service has nothing to do with writing or language, seeing grammar mistakes may significantly spoil the impression & trust of the brand for many people.
If you write your website texts yourself, always share them with your friends or colleagues to check if they see any mistakes. Tools like Grammarly can also help you eliminate grammar mistakes and spelling errors.
Here’s a list of the most important website copy elements (and what you need to know about them):
- Headline - make it short, concrete, and powerful, but don’t exaggerate. Imagine you are talking to a real person or a friend and highlight what makes your product stand out. Most importantly - make it clear what is it that you do or sell and why should others be interested in it.
- Subheadline - appears directly below the headline to clarify your message. Instead of praising your product, emphasize its benefits and value to the customer. Make the subheadline actionable - try to persuade the reader to do something, leading up to the CTA button.
- Call-to-action (CTA) button - use short phrases (2-4 words) that attract attention and encourage action. State exactly what the person will get by clicking.
- Product or feature descriptions - explain what the product does, what are its benefits and why someone should buy it. Depending on the complexity of the product, try to make the description as short and to-the-point as possible. Consider adding lists and text formatting for better readability.
For any type of text you write, use clear wording, short sentences, and paragraphs. Readability is extremely important in these times of super-short human attention spans. Avoid writing long headlines or making big chunks of text in bold or italics. For example, do you find this text readable and pleasant to the eye?
We prefer this layout with a clear headline, subheadline, and bullet points for the reader to immediately grasp the main benefits of a product. (By the way - if you are using Mozello as your website builder, you have plenty of formatting options for your texts.)
Furthermore, don’t forget to optimize your website copy for search engines - consider hiring an SEO expert to help you rank higher in Google. Learn more tips and headline-writing formulas in this article.
Mistake #4 - Poor navigation
Even if a website has a visually appealing design, professional-looking photos, and nifty copy, visitors can get frustrated and leave because of poor navigation.
Some examples of poor navigation:
- Unclear section names or categories
- Too many items - it is hard to decide where to go
- Missing CTAs
- Confusing checkout process on your online store
Nmg-Group’s website may not be the worst example, but still - from the first look, it’s not obvious what the company does and which section to click to explore the services they offer. A CTA button is also missing so it isn't clear what the website visitor is required to do.
It’s even worse when an online store makes it unclear how to make a purchase.
Around 30% of customers leave because the checkout process of an online store is too long or confusing.
The easiest thing to do is walk through the process with your friends or potential customers and note all the hiccups they encounter along the way.
A few general tips for better website navigation:
- Try to reduce the number of steps and pages the customer needs to pass to complete the purchase.
- Don’t ask the customer to fill too many fields - only the information necessary to process the order.
- Make sure that the navigation bar and CTA’s clearly state what is found in that section or what will happen after clicking the button.
- Make sure that it’s simple to access your shipping rules, return policy, and contact information.
Mistake #5 - Website looks horrible on mobile
85% of users expect that a company’s website should look equally good or better on a mobile device than its desktop version. If the user needs to pinch and zoom the screen to view your website properly, he or she is as good as gone.
Nowadays, all websites must feature mobile-responsive web design.
For example, Azair.eu is an awesome tool for searching cheap flights. However, no sane person can enjoy using their website on a mobile device. Not only it does not fit the screen (meaning you have to zoom in on everything) - it’s also difficult to explore all the date and destination options via your phone.
If you’re using Mozello, you don’t have to worry about responsive design because all websites or online stores created with Mozello are adaptive and mobile-ready. For example, your website layout will automatically adjust & menu will be transformed into the so-called Hamburger button for easier navigation from the phone or tablet.
Bonus: Small tweaks that make or break a website
Sometimes a tiny detail can make the website look polished and professional. And often, the lack of that very same detail can dramatically spoil the impression about your site - and even your brand. Be sure to make these 5-minute tweaks work in your favor.
Professional domain name
We still see websites with a domain name that includes their website provider. If you want your business to come across as experienced and trustworthy, consider getting an individual domain name (e.g., kidzone.com instead of kidzone.mozello.com).
An individual domain name is already included in the Mozello Premium plan. You can either register a new domain name free of charge or use another domain name that you’ve purchased elsewhere.
A representative logo
You might be thinking - if my business is small, I don’t really need a logo. However, a logo makes the name of your company more memorable and serves as a visual symbol that represents your business.
A strong brand logo helps convince your first-time visitors to believe that you deliver an amazing product or service. You can either hire a professional designer to craft your logo or try your own luck with tools like Logojoy.
Strong brand colors
Be thoughtful and careful when choosing your brand colors - your website visitors will notice if your color palette is inconsistent or if there are too many shades all over the place.
In short, you should stick to 2-3 colors max when creating your brand palette - tools like coolors.co can help to pick the right color schemes for you. Furthermore, the Mozello platform lets you choose from a number of color schemes that fit together just perfect & you can adjust each of the elements separately if needed.
Get more tips for choosing brand colors in our article ABCs of Branding.
Create a professional website swiftly
Now you are familiar with 5 things you should avoid in your website design and copy in order to leave a professional impression.
The best news?
You don’t need to spend many hours or a big chunk of your budget to make your website look presentable. Sign up with Mozello for free and we’ll guide you through the steps of creating a modern, trustworthy website.